The Way of Shadows is the first volume in the "Night Angel" series by Brent Weeks. Attentive readers may notice that this results in an unsubtle combination of "night", "shadow" and "angel" on the front cover - plus a bonus nod to ninjas. Add in the predictable art of a hooded-but-oh-so-cool male model, and you've got yourself a fantasy bingo.
The story follows a young boy of uncertain ancestry who grows up on the streets of a bad, bad city. His name is AZOTH and he's really AWESOME.
He's like, stronger and smarter than the other kids, right? But he's still really nice and thoughtful and super-deep, so chicks and gay guys both dig him (not that Azoth is into guys) and he's really hot, even though he's a kid. He's SO BADASS that he can't hang out with the other kids, so he goes off to be a superASSASSIN called a WETBOY because he's so AWESOME that you have to make up new WORDS to describe him. [Editor's note: apparently this is also the term for someone that wets his pants for sexual pleasure...]
And he gets, like, beat up a lot in training, but he's SO COOL that even his superASSASS...WETBOY BOSS is all like "AZOTH! YOU R SO AWSUM. YOU SHULD HAV MI BIG SWORD" and then Azoth is like, "Whatevah. I am too hard, I will just kick YOUR ASS TOO. (Also, I am not GAY. STOPPIT.)" and then like, kicks HIS ass.
There are other characters and shit so this book is really EPIC. There's like this duke who is going to be king and a bunch of GIRLS, including one that is 15 and has REALLY BIG BOOBS and another one who is a WETGIRL (HAR HARHAHAR) who has EVEN BIGGER BOOBS. AND they all like CRAWL on boys and stuff so you know they WANT IT. AND ANOTHER GIRL who is HAWT (boob-size unknown) but she HAS SEXING WITH PEOPLE and is WRONG. SO EVERYONE SHUNS HER LIKE THEY SHOULD. SEXING IS FOR MEN. WITH WOMEN (No MANMAN sex, this is an important message of the book).
Like EVERYONE wants to kick Azoth's ass, but they CAN'T. There's this big country of bad guys and a shitload of NINJAS and bunch of wizards, but Azoth KICKS ALL THEIR ASSES. He's all cool and shit with poisons and goes INVISIBLE and stuff but he'd much rather kill you IN THE FACE. And he can. EVEN IF THERE ARE FORTY OF YOU. One time, he totally fought all the other badasses in the city AT ONCE, and you know what? HE WON. He's that awesome. SERIOUSLY. And he was, like, 12 at the time.
OH, and there's like this prophesy of the fallen light night shadow dragon angel ninja and AZOTH IS LIKE THE CHOSEN ONE! Who would've known!? I mean, of all the super-badass immortal assassin invincible awesome guys, AZOTH IS THE ONE. So he gets this REALLY BIG SWORD which has an AWESOME NAME and like, invincible SUPERARMOR and everything is all like "I IZ STAB YOU" and Azoth is like "FAH-NO! PING!" and their swords break and then he hits them in the face and makes kissing to wommins with big boobs.
The Way of Shadows uses cool names in place of character development, breast size for female characters, bloody description rather than engaging action and anachronistic one-liners as dialogue. This book is like reading an unedited transcription of an 11 year old's daydreams; a collection of every genre shortcoming into a single, buzzword-laden volume. It is 10,000 pounds of adolescent awesome!!! without a single ounce of merit.