I discovered Tanya Huff in 2003, Lois McMaster Bujold was a couple of years after that and Patricia Briggs in 2008. Brent Weeks become my discovery of the year in 2009. His Night Angel trilogy is riveting. Having bought the first on spec in Waterstones I hurriedly ordered the second two from Amazon. Firstly – even without the story, the covers are gorgeous Calvin Chu illustrations
Okay – to the story. Violent and compelling the first book of the trilogy starts with three feral children, Azoth, Doll Girl and Jarl, who are part of a street gang in the Warrens of Cenaria City, doing whatever they can to survive, living under the terror regime of the rising leader, Rat, an abuser of the worst sort. The Littles are afraid of the Bigs, the Bigs are afraid of Rat, but everybody is afraid of Durzo Blint, the legendary wetboy and enforcer-for-hire of the the Sa’kagé – an underworld of street gangs, organised and disorganised crime, prostitution and death for hire.
‘A wetboy is like an assassin the way a tiger is like a kitten,’ we are told. A magically enhanced killer who doesn’t have ‘targets’ – he has ‘deaders’, because once a wetboy takes a contract his victim is as good as dead. Before Durzo will take him as his apprentice Azoth must prove himself by killing Rat. Azoth hesitates – with devastating consequences for his friends and so begins his education as a wetboy and his change of name to Kylar.
The first book tells of Kylar’s apprentice years – riddled with disappointment as his innate magical talent refuses to manifest – and his final test. He doesn’t understand the taciturn Durzo, doesn’t know what the man wants of him, more often than not gets beaten for his efforts. He has to learn how to move in high society and how to figure out Cenarian Court politics as invasion looms.
It’s a sprawling, complicated, hard-edged political fantasies where the stakes are high and emotions run deep. This book is a wild ride of action and emotion and just my type of read.