Think Fantastically, Read Locally - Brent Weeks

One of my favorite authors is Oregon author Brent Weeks. A few years ago he released his first series, The Night Angel trilogy - The Way of ShadowsShadow's Edge and Beyond the Shadows. This first trilogy was released over a three month period to build readership, a trick sometimes used with debut science fiction and fantasy authors with promise. If you enjoy morally gray fantasy where the heroes aren't clear, a fast paced plot and interesting characters you should 'read local' and try Brent Weeks.

His first series, The Night Angel trilogy tells the story of a little boy, Azoth, begging for bread and coppers in the slums of a grim medieval-esque fantasy city. He's not a bad little boy - he shares what little he has to eat with a younger girl made mute by some unknown trauma. He's loyal to his little friend and protects her as best he can.  But the only way he sees out of his dead-end life and probable early death is to apprentice to a master assassin. When he's told that the admission test to be an assassin's apprentice is to kill the much bigger and stronger adolescent boy tormenting him, Azoth comes up with a plan. He turns his back on his old life and takes a new identity and name, Kylar Stern. The story of Kylar's life--or at least the 10 or 15 years this trilogy covers--is an emotional roller-coaster of a read.  Weeks's world building is solid, the characters well written, and the plot made the month between the release of each book seem way too long.

The latest by Weeks is The Black Prism. In this world, magic is color-based and each color is linked to an emotion. The more colors you have the more powerful you are and the faster you burn out. Once you've used the magic too long you go quite mad - and an insane wizard is a bad thing to have around. Gavin Guile is the Prism, having obtained all the colors. Prisms only last 7, 14 or 21 years and Gavin has made 16. At the start of each of his seven possible remaining years of life he sets himself seven impossible goals. Now he has five left.