I read a lot of books that are absolute trash. 2016’s garbage heap included The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks. While I cannot stress how bad these books are, how infantile the premise, plotting, and characterizations, I also cannot stress how eagerly I devoured every single garbage word that Weeks strung together. So as I proceed to bring terror down upon Weeks and the clueless editors that let this nonsense fly, know also that for two weeks, I was up there with the nonsense, flying around with a stupid grin on my face. In this review I focus on all the things that wiped that stupid grin off.

First, the synopsis: Kylar Stern is a wetboy. A wetboy is like a super-assassin, except calling them “super-assassins” would have sounded really dumb, unlike “wetboy,” which is super cool because it conjures up the image of a wet… it’s super cool because… whatever, Kylar Stern is a wetboy. Trained by a man named Durzo Blint, the most powerful wetboy in the world, Kylar soon becomes the most powerful wetboy in the world, too. There is a Godking in a neighboring country and he is a very frightening figure with wiggly magic tattoos and despicable sexual taste. He wants to take over the world because he is the Godking and he is evil. He must be stopped at all costs… even if it costs Kylar a few more months of chastity! Nooo!

Sound familiar? It is, beat for beat, an atypical fantasy tale of vigilante heroism, weird sex stuff and all. Wait… weird sex stuff? Of course! Fantasy is a genre riddled with authors slobbering lustily behind keyboards, and Weeks is no exception—and the man is married! In fact, Weeks is a virtuoso in this category. Moreso than any other author I’ve ever read, Weeks is able to draw an incredible amount of personality from the size and shape of a woman’s breasts. It is his primary source for character development. Take this bit of prose, for instance:

Kylar had thought Elene’s were the ultimate of all breasts, but Vi’s breasts were fuller, larger. You couldn’t look at her and not notice her breasts. It automatically made her sexual—and yet… and yet, to her, they were just tits. Tools.

This is but one reference to Vi’s giant bazoombas, and it is neither the first nor the last mention of them. In Book Three, Vi and Kylar become magically connected via some special earrings, and a result, they start having sexual dreams about each other (magic sex earrings… Weeks truly is a virtuoso). Here is but one moment in a three-page epic (one of many multi-page dream sequences):

Vi wore an ill-fitting plain nightdress. It was too short for her and the knot had come loose, leaving it gaping open. Her nipple was dark pink, small on her full breast, lightly puckered in the room’s coolness. The first time Kylar had seen Vi’s breasts, she’d exposed herself to shock him. This time, he could feel that she was unaware of it.

“Why?” you might ask? “What is the purpose?” If only Brent Weeks’ editor asked these same questions. But then we wouldn’t have heard this wise thought from Logan Gyre—badass king of Cenaria, survivor of Hell’s Asshole (yes, this is a real place in the books)—about the love of his life (Jenine, his wife, who he had never met before the marriage):

Following the curving of her neck to his lips, her back arched and her hand was behind his head, pulling him down towards her breasts.
Damn, the girl knows what she wants. Guess Dorian taught her a thing or three. What if Logan the virgin doesn’t measure up?

And before we think less of Weeks for thinking he can only describe boobs, he is also an admirer of butts. See here:

“Legend, my butt,” [Vi] mumbled.

Which brought Kylar’s attention to her butt. Again. While the first word that popped into his mind wasn’t legendary, VI’s butt was quite pert. Nicely round. Worthy of the stretchy-tight garb she wore. Unlike many athletic women, Vi had curves. Nice hips and awe-inspiring breasts.”

And if you think that Weeks vernacular is limited to describing the boobs and butts of bodacious babes, think again! He’s also a master of romance. Just listen to Kylar’s ode of undying love to Elene in the first book’s stunning finale:

“Enough!” he roared, emotion filling his voice so suddenly that he shocked her into silence. “I think you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, Elene. And the purest. And the best. But I’m not asking you to fuck!”

…Who approved this? And how on earth does Brent Weeks’ wife tolerate this nonsense?

It says a lot about Brent Weeks’ character development that Elene, Kylar’s main love interest, has less personality than Vi’s boobs. After three books of Kylar obsessing over her, we know more about her body than we know of her personality. The only thing that matters to Weeks is that she’s a virgin. She saved herself for Kylar. No one is arguing that that isn’t an admirable trait…but given how valuable she becomes to the plot in the final chapters, we need to know more. We’re not given it.

Vi, on the other hand, is dehumanized for her sexual history. She falls in love with Kylar, but the love remains unrequited because of Kylar’s—and Weeks’—one-note understanding of humanity, which is sexual purity. Interesting, since the books themselves are the most confused, frustrated, and misogynistic explorations of sex I’ve ever tolerated.

There’s more to the books, of course. But after all this, do you care?

Will Montei

Will Montei

Will Montei ('13) graduated with a major in writing and a minor in philosophy. He currently lives in Seattle, taking full advantage of the abundant local coffee and surrounding mountain hikes. He is an avid daydreamer, an old soul, and a creative potty mouth.
Will Montei

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