Articles tagged with: Brent Weeks

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

the broken eyeBy the time I got to The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks earlier this year, I was fully immersed in this world and on a MUST KNOW basis with the characters and their states of affairs. Any reservations lingering from my slow read of The Black Prism were extinguished somewhere near the end of The Blinding Knife, and made obsolete by the reading of this third book in the Lightbringer series.

The Broken Eye begins in chaos, as you might expect. With Kip and Gavin both tossed overboard and left for dead at the end of the previous book, a great deal of fretting was done over the state of their life threads. Had they been snipped? Were they drowned? Dead? WHY WAS THE BOOKSTORE TAKING SO LONG TO GET A COPY OF THIS BOOK FOR ME TO READ? I was completely at the mercy of my imagination while I waited for the third book in this series to arrive at my local Books A Million, who seem to get only the second book of most series, completely disregarding the first and any others that might have followed in its wake. Needless to say, it was an exercise in patience, but I finally got my hands on the book and dove in to find out what fates were doled out to characters I was deeply concerned for.

The Chromeria has been led to believe by Andross Guile that Kip and Gavin are dead, a new Prism must be chosen, and in the interim he assigns himself as promachos. Meanwhile, out to sea, Gavin is taken captive by pirates, and fat, flailing Kip is picked up by his nasty half-brother, Zymun, who believes the only way to get what he wants is to wipe out all who stand in his way, including his brother. In the meantime, the Color Prince continues his efforts to overtake the seven satrapies, having already swallowed two into his ranks. As Kip escapes Zymun’s clutches and makes his way back to civilization, Andross’s claims that the Prism is dead find themselves contested when Kip returns and claims his father is still alive. But until Gavin is found, the Chromeria must have a new Prism at its head. Andross begins priming Kip for the position, promising to raise him up if he hands over the Nine Kings cards that were stolen from him, and pitting against his half-brother in a deadly game that promises to end Kip’s life if he doesn’t comply.

The thing about Kip the Lip is that he’s come face to face with death so many times since the world around him started falling apart, he’s not nearly as terrified as he should be of the future. And to make matters that much more confusing, his Blackguard brethren have begun researching The Lightbringer, several of them whispering behind their hands the one thing every boy daydreams about: What if Kip is the Lightbringer, if everything he’s suffered and endured has been preparation for his rise to messianic greatness? As the pieces begin to fall into place, it seems more and more likely, but seeing that nothing in his life has ever deigned to go right, Kip isn’t sure he can allow himself to believe the truth.

Meanwhile, Gavin’s losing his colors one by one. Blinded by his own secrets and lies, and destined for execution, nothing can save him now but the truth he’s buried so deep inside him even he no longer knows what’s real and what’s false. Add to the mix Karris’s precarious position within in the Chromeria, and Teia’s troubles with a secret guild of paryl-wielding assassins, and you’ve got an action-packed read that’ll leave you breathless right up until the last page.

I have come to love this series more than I can express. The character struggles, their trials and triumphs, have endeared me to this imaginary group of people in ways I never anticipated while reading The Black Prism all those moons ago. And I’m dying to lose myself in The Blood Mirror, the fourth installment, but I have to wait until July to read it because it’s only out in hardcover right now, and all my copies are paperback, and OCD dictates all the books are in the same format on my shelf, or it’ll be chaos.

The Broken Eye is the first Lightbringer book I gave five out of five stars without the slightest hesitation. I am fully invested in these characters now, and I cannot wait to see where Weeks takes us next. Hopefully I’ll have a review ready sometime in early August for The Blood Mirror because I cannot wait to read that book.

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

the blinding knifeWhile I did enjoy The Black Prism to an extent, I remember feeling as though something was missing from the Lightbringer series, some kind of connection I felt instantly while reading Weeks’ The Night Angel trilogy. I often share the books I read with my best friend, and as I recall she came away feeling the same way, a part of her wishing there’d been something more to that first book to make the time investment feel worthwhile. I took a break from the series, but deep down I had hope for The Blinding Knife.

One of the issues I had with the first book in this series was how much terminology Weeks introduced. When your book’s glossary is larger than many of the chapters in your book, that can be a real issue, but the thing about all that terminology was that it paid off to a certain extent. I didn’t need a glossary to immerse myself in this world again, and the concepts felt immediately familiar from page one. The characters had also started to grow on me a little, so as he reintroduced them in the early chapters of The Blinding Knife, they felt like people I’d met before. By the end of the book, they came to feel like old friends. I guess we could say it was a slow warm up to more comfortable relationships.

I really didn’t care much for Gavin Guile in the first book. He was trite and egotistical, but as the story expanded, so, too, did his character. Unraveling the intricate relationship he had with his brother did wonders for strengthening him as a character I originally felt very little for. Discovering near the end of the first book that Gavin wasn’t even who we thought he was at all was one of the only things at that time that kept me intrigued with him, and Weeks really rewarded that fascination in this second book, fleshing Gavin out in ways I honestly didn’t expect. Gavin knows he’s dying, knows that he’s already long outlived the ruse he’s been performing for years, and it’s only a matter of time before the people around him begin to recognize him for what he truly is: an impostor, a liar, a fake.

Kip Guile was my favorite character from the first book, so I was eager to see him continue to grow and explore his new surroundings. He went from sniveling whiner with no hope for a future worth living for into occasional whiner who all but refuses to just lay down and die, no matter how many times you try to kill him. He is the underdog, the hero you long to see come up because maybe he’s just as insecure and self-deprecating as you are, and if he can rise to the top with the cream, maybe you can too! He endures so much between these first two books, it’s almost impossible to image what he will become before all is said and done. He’s still ‘fat’ and at times that’s all he really thinks about, which makes his internal dialogue sad but genuine. The things he’s been his entire life hold him back now that everything’s changed–even him.

The full introduction of Andross Guile, Gavin’s awful father, makes from some very interesting interactions, pushing Gavin to take matters into his hand he might not have otherwise pursued, while also pressuring Kip to become the man he is obviously meant to be. The sessions during which Kip and his grandfather play Nine Kings are as terrifying as they are exciting because Andross’s entire life has seemingly revolved around mastering Nine Kings.

Kip is also introduced to a number of other students as he trains to become a Blackguard, and as he makes friends the narrative includes an interesting new character, a slave named Teia, whose adventures and peril (if you’ve already read these books, you’ll think that was the worst dad joke ever) coincide with his own. She almost began to outmatch Kip as my favorite character, if that tells you anything.

The concept of magic in this world is unique and intriguing, with each chromatic color only allotted so much power they can expend before they go rogue and become wights. Their belief system is built around this concept, with people offering themselves up at the end of their lives peacefully before they become wights. The opposition they face believes there is nothing wrong with breaking the halo, that becoming a wight is only the first step on the ladder to greater power than any of them could possibly imagine. And that opposition is just as invested in tearing the world apart as Gavin is invested in holding it all together–even if holding it together is a sham, a lie, a smokescreen.

By the time I reached the end of this book, I was more than eager for book three, the review for which will be forthcoming shortly. I gave it four out of five stars and definitely recommend it for readers who love relatable characters and intricate fantasy plots that grow more interesting as they advance. I’d say if you read The Black Prism, but felt lukewarm about it, definitely give The Blinding Knife a chance. It was well worth it.

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

the black prismAfter falling in love with Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Trilogy, I was eager to dive into The Black Prism. A world dominated by magic crafted through light spectrums, pistols, musketeers, war, and right at the center of it all a powerful magic user the world reveres called The Prism. And he’s not just any powerful magic user, Gavin Guile is the most powerful man in the world.

The problem with power is that it never lasts. The ruling cycle for a Prism expands seven year periods, and Gavin is currently in the third seven-year period of his cycle. Time is running out, and he has a list of the amazing things he’s going to accomplish during his rule, but when word reaches him that he fathered a bastard during the war he fought against his brother, Dazen, Gavin doesn’t know how to feel about this news.

Sixteen year old Kip is a fat bastard, literally. He’s fat, he’s a bastard, and his addict mother’s more or less spent the duration of his life making sure Kip knows just how worthless and pathetic  and unwanted he is. He’s a burden, good for next to nothing… Even as a self-proclaimed king burns Gavin’s town to the ground, and his mother is dying, she’s sure to tell him how much he’s ruined her life and let her down just before thrusting a priceless treasure into his hand and taking her last breath.

As Kip narrowly escapes the blaze of his burning city, it’s happy circumstance (a little too happy for this reader,) when his estranged father happens along to save the day, whisking him away to Chromeria and claiming him as his nephew in public. It’s here things started to get interesting and we discover Gavin’s entire life is a lie, and the prison he keeps chained beneath Chromeria holds the key to exposing that lie. Meanwhile, a war brews on the horizon, Gavin’s love, Karris, has been taken captive, and the only people it seems he can count on to aid him are the mages who’ve grown too old and wild to control their magic and a host of enemies who once served his brother Dazen during the Brother’s War that secured Gavin’s rule.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about this book at first. Weeks crafted a unique and intriguing world, chock full of so much terminology and vocabulary they had to include a glossary at the back of the book to make sense of most of it. To a degree it was self-explanatory after a while, but diving straight in without that glossary could seriously deter a less-determined reader. The plot was intriguing, but at times the character development was skewed. There were some seriously well developed characters, and a few who fell a little flat, balancing the story in a way that kept me reading, even at times I didn’t know if I was going to stick it out.

I did struggle with some things, namely the ease with which certain instances transpired without much explanation. For example, Kip’s first meeting with Gavin is completely random. You have this boy standing amid an army about to destroy him because he is the last remaining citizen of the city they just burned to the ground, and in swoops Gavin and Karris (rather literally,) to save the day. The thing that made this sort of ridiculous for me was they had no idea who they were saving, but after a moment of (not-so-careful) consideration, Gavin determines this lone survivor of the still-smoldering city must certainly be the bastard son he only just found out existed a few hours ago. Too random to be believable, and as the story continues to unravel there are moments I kept coming back to that, not only because it felt ridiculous, but because the ease with which everyone just accepted this random boy Gavin said was his ‘nephew’ as they brought him into the city and began testing his ability to wield magic.

Overall, the good outweighed the questionable, and I enjoyed the story. I docked a star for those moments I found hard to believe and gave The Black Prism, the first book in the Lightbringer series, four stars. I will definitely pursue the next book in this series after a little break to read something else.

Beyond the Shadows (Night Angel #3) by Brent Weeks

Beyond the ShadowsFrom book one of this trilogy, there seemed to be a lot of minor details, things that helped expand the world, but really fit into the grand scheme of things, or so it appeared, but in the final full-length novel of the Night Angel Trilogy, Weeks brought even the most obscure of references to the forefront, providing a big bang of a finish that left me breathless.

Now bound by compelling magic to the one woman he never imagined he’d wind up with, Kylar Stern has more to worry about than tearing out the earring that ties him to Viridiana and his lost chances with Elene. The death of the Godking put Logan Gyre in proximity to the throne, but an arrogant upstart has taken the crown, standing in the way of the ruler Cenaria deserves. Logan’s told Kylar if he kills the queen, he’ll have no choice but to retaliate; after all, it’s the honorable thing to do, and when she winds up dead, it’s Kylar who pays the price.

Kylar has died so many times by this point I actually lost count. Brought back by the strange ka’kari that’s made him the Night Angel, each death is more painful to endure as he wonders if this will be the time he doesn’t come back. A few times those deaths were meaningless, and in others he felt fully justified, but that last death finds him face to face with the mad yellow wolf once again and a truth that’s far too hard to swallow.

One cannot simply throw their life away without retribution. Death is greedy, and it will not stand for those who escape its permanence through tricks. When he discovers the truth, that each one of his deaths results in someone he loves taking his place after he returns to the mortal world, Kylar can barely live with himself. As the impact takes its toll, and he realizes he’s at fault for the death of so many he cared for, he refuses to accept that Elene is the next victim to suffer for his foolishness. Whatever it takes, whatever trick he can master, he will die to save her, but Elene has come to terms with a few things all her own, and she will not allow him to take the righteousness of her sacrifice away.

As a new Godking rises in the north, Logan must band together with allies and enemies alike to put down a darkness that will overrun them all if allowed to stand, and save his beloved Jenine. Cultures collide as the world makes way for a new emperor, the one king to rule them all (<–okay, I know that was totally cheesy and uncalled for…) and those left standing in the end will have no choice but to accept the changes they helped bring into fruition.

That sounds so… pathetic in comparison to the immense amount of activity that transpired in this book. An uprising of magic users, several dances with death, embracing an unexpected, yet true nature and taking one’s place on a throne so high it nearly touches the clouds… And even that feels like it’s not enough to encompass just how epic this story was. The Night Angel Trilogy was jam packed with goodness, a truly imaginative spin through a complicated fantasy world that at times made me wish there was more. More depth, more exploration, more time to get to know some of the lesser characters who rose to greatness or fell from grace before all was said and done.

I give it 5 stars, and will definitely be adding Brent Weeks to my list of favorite storytellers. Once I finish up the next Greatcoats book, I’ll be diving into The Black Prism to explore the Lightbringer series, and I did grab myself a digital copy of Perfect Shadow (A Night Angel Novella) so stay tuned for my incredibly scattered thoughts on those bits of goodness.

Shadow’s Edge (Night Angel #2) by Brent Weeks

Shadow's EdgeThe Way of Shadows ended neatly, but not everything was wrapped into the bow. I finished that book and was ready to dive into Shadow’s Edge before depositing the first book into its slot on my bookshelf.

Everyone Kylar Stern loved is dead–well everyone except his beloved Elene–and the Godking’s forces overrun Cenaria. Now bonded with his former master’s ka’kari and dubbed Night Angel, Kylar’s task is to dole out JUSTICE on those who deserve it. He should be focusing more than ever on exploring his new found power, but the only thing Kylar wants is out! He’s done playing assassin; giving up the life is the one thing that will make Elene happier than any other, but changing who you are to your very core is a nearly impossible task.

Escaping the city with Elene and Durzo’s young daughter, Ulyssandre, Kylar plans to lead a simple merchant’s life, selling herbs, loving Elene, and raising little Uly as if she is his own daughter. The thing is, you can walk away, but the person you are at your core won’t ever let go of you. He sells his master’s sword for far less gold than it’s worth, then uses the money to buy a pair of enchanted earrings so he can wed his beloved Elene. When the sakage Jarl arrives in the city with the dangerously beautiful wetboy Viridiana Sovari hot on his trail, Kylar discovers that not all those he loved are dead. Logan Gyre is alive, trapped in Hell’s Asshole–the vilest, darkest prison in all the world–and only Kylar can liberate his dearest friend.

Writing a note to Elene, Kylar leaves behind the earrings, telling her he wanted to change but couldn’t. Sadly, before he can set out with Jarl for Cenaria, an arrow finds Jarl’s heart, leaving Kylar’s oldest friend dead in his arms. Once more death has touched Kylar’s heart and soul, and the only way he can stay it’s hand is to get as far away from the people he cares about as possible. Setting out for Cenaria, he knows what horrors await him in the city he left behind, but he’s fully prepared to die (again) if it means saving the people he holds in his heart.

The journey that follows divides between several different character perspectives, all of them equally important to the story, and I found myself completely enraptured from the moment I opened the book and started flipping eagerly through the pages. Despite the juggling of so many different characters, I felt a connection to each one and looked forward to watching them grow as they each became a greater part of the story. There is so much going on in this book that a single review couldn’t even begin to encompass the majority without spoiling all the glorious surprises.

I will say I absolutely fell in love with Viridiana Sovari in this book. Damaged to a point beyond redemption, Vi finds herself in the unique position over the course of the story that will change the lives of everyone around her forever–including her own. Action-packed, emotionally riveting, I give the second book in the Night Angel trilogy five glorious stars and highly recommend it to anyone who loves to read simply for the sake of having their heart torn out! Every moment of this book I found myself wondering where Brent Weeks has been all my life and feeling profoundly glad I finally let him take me on an adventure.

The Way of Shadows (Night Angel Trilogy #1) by Brent Weeks

the way of shadowsEvery time I walked through the book store this series called to me. I can’t count the number of times I picked up book one, read the back cover, and thought, “I should read this book.” I finally picked up a copy near the end of January and added it to the growing TBR pile on the shelf beside my bed. As soon as I finished The Wishsong of Shannara, I dove into The Way of Shadows, mostly to dispel the Shannara series from my mind.

This book started with a huge bang. Street kids Azoth, Jarl, and the adorable little Dollgirl they protect spend their days serving the acting ringleader of an underground thieves guild. Gutter rats is what they are, orphans left to fend for themselves, and there is little to no hope they’ll ever be anything more. Jarl, though, he’s been refusing to pay his dues, hiding his earnings away to create a purse large enough for Azoth to escape. He’s the only one of them Jarl believes has what it takes to get out, and with the money he presents to Azoth it’s quite possible he can earn himself an apprenticeship with the city’s most dangerous wetboy–Durzo Blint.

The thing about Durzo is he doesn’t take on apprentices. The most talented (and arrogant) wetboy in the city has no time for such things. When Azoth approaches the wetboy, Durzo refuses to train him, and Jarl pays the price with his body. Raped and tormented by the guild’s acting leader, the longing for vengeance grows inside Azoth. It’s a nightmare watching his best friend suffer such torture, but so long as Dollgirl remains safe nothing short of death itself could prod him to stand up to the bastard abusing his best friend. When Dollgirl’s life is on the line, Azoth refuses to be turned aside another time. He insists Durzo take him on so he can enact vengeance on the bastards who hurt the little girl Azoth held close to his heart.

In order to become Durzo’s apprentice, Azoth must turn his back on his old life. He must destroy himself entirely and swear to never look back, not even at Dollgirl, but first he has to kill his enemy and bring Durzo proof of the deed.

It’s one thing to think about murdering your enemies, to imagine yourself strangling the life out of those who’ve made you miserable for as long as you can remember, but to actually do it takes balls. Balls Azoth isn’t sure he has. But Dollgirl is his everything, and when she is in danger he discovers he’ll do whatever it takes to save her–even kill.

Shedding his old identity, Azoth the street rat becomes Kylar Stern–a minor noble under tutelage of a well-respect family by day and wetboy in training by night. Through his new foster family, Kylar meets Logan Gyre. An unlikely friendship forms between the two boys, the kind of bond powerful enough to surpass even the lies Kylar tells and the games he must play to satisfy his brutal master.

Underneath Kylar’s training, a plot simmers. A dark force is coming for Cenaria, and leading the charge is an unexpected enemy Kylar thought he dealt with in his Azoth days. The darkness behind that force is powerful, seemingly unbeatable, and the closer it gets the more secrets Durzo kept from Kylar begin spilling into the air between them, shattering the tenuous bond they built as master and apprentice and bringing them face to face in a final showdown that will change Kylar’s life forever.

This book… It was my first Brent Weeks‘ book, so I had no idea what to expect. It had mostly positive reviews, so I was hopeful, and I will tell you flat out I was not the least bit disappointed. Weeks does things with words and characters and plot that left me breathless and so eager to continue the story I actually ran out and bought the second and third book in the trilogy so I wouldn’t have to stop reading and wait. There’s just enough fantasy blended with intrigue and magic in this series that it’s the perfect balance blended with an intriguing plot powerful enough to break the heart.

Five out of five stars without question. I will be posting my review for the second book in the series, Shadow’s Edge, very soon, so stay tuned.