Articles tagged with: the lightbringer series

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.