Thursday 15 January 2009

'The Way of Shadows' is the UK's bestselling SFF debut of 2008

From the Orbit website:

"In the UK, the bestselling SFF debut of 2008 was The Way of Shadows, by Brent Weeks. The first book in the Night Angel Trilogy, we published it in October, and with the second and third volumes following in subsequent months it quickly became clear that fans everywhere were talking about Brent and THE WAY OF SHADOWS. This year has also got off to a great start for Brent: this week, the three books in the Night Angel Trilogy are the first, second, and third bestselling mass-market paperbacks in the UK SFF market."

I can't help but feel slightly irritated by this. I have nothing at all against Brent Weeks - he seems like a cool guy - but if you've read my review, you'll know I don't rate his debut novel that highly. I guess maybe I just find it a little frustrating that a fantasy novel with such a total lack of innovation or decent world-building manages to outsell other debuts that do make an attempt at innovation (such as Adrian Tchaikovsky's Empire in Black and Gold).

Still, innovation is not everything. Clearly Weeks managed to make a big connection with readers over here. I guess he also deserves credit for not only having the number one debut of last year in the UK (number two in the US), but also for having all three of his novels occupying the top three places on the bestsellers list for SFF novels in the UK as well (releasing all three novels in as many months was a masterstroke by Orbit, if ever there was one).


ediFanoB said...

To be honest there will be always books which you like more than other people.

I also have been fascinated by The Way of Shadows.

Even if Adrian Tchaikovsky wrote the more innovative book, Brent Weeks really touched a nerve by a lot of people.

I started to read Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson.
I'm realy fascinated but a lot of people told me this book is a nightmare because it is too complex.

To keep it short: There are different books for different people.

Colin Meier said...

I'm waiting for Book 3, but although I find the style of the prose...inappropriate...for the events and the plot, I'm hooked on the story. The protagonist is conflicted and sympathetic, and Book 2 opened up the stage in terms of world-building. I hope Book 3 lives up the promise. The only thing I would change (if it were my book, I wish!) is the style of the prose. IMO, it's too light for the story it's supporting. But - quibbles about world-building and complexity aside - the story is good, and there are some reversals I really didn't expect. Of course Erikson's books are superior literary works (and my favourite books of all time, and that is saying something); but yeah, a lot of people find them too complex. But LOTR itself couldn't hold a candle to Steven Erikson's Malazan world. Should we expect every fantasy author to shy away from writing simply because they want to tell a fairly simple story well?