Brent Weeks serves up a complex magic system based on the colors of the spectrum and he does it in a story that unfolds in provocative ways. Magic users, called drafters, use their powers to turn light into various effects based on color. This magical system, known as Chromaturgy, allows multiple colors of light to be combined in interesting ways, and for each drafter to have different skills based on their personal color abilities. There are also meaningful downsides to using this power, which makes a person's ability to draft a mixed blessing at best. The color spectrum is not only fundamental to the magic system, but also the religious and political systems as well, and all three are at the heart of the conflict that unfolds. As each layer of the story is revealed it picks up in both momentum and complexity, and it rewards you for paying attention to the details.
The Night Angel trilogy tells the tale of Azoth, a young orphan who barely gets by from day to day as a member of the Black Dragon thieves guild. Azoth and his friends must find a way to steal enough coin each day to pay their dues to the guild enforcer, Rat, and still have some money left over for food. One night Azoth stumbles upon Durzo Blint, the best assassin in the city, as he flees the scene of a just completed job. Street smart and a good judge of character, Azoth asks to apprentice under Durzo but he is instantly rejected by the master assassin. When Azoth's best friend is beaten and raped by Rat, he becomes more determined to apprentice under Durzo so that he can learn to stick up for himself and his friends. Azoth encounters Durzo a second time and threatens to kill him if he won't take Azoth on as an apprentice. Durzo sees something in the boy and agrees to take him on only if he kills Rat by himself before the end of the week.