Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer #2) - REVIEW

WARNING: Will contain spoilers from The Black Prism (Lightbringer #1).  If you haven't read the first book (which I highly suggest you do) go read something else (did you know Universal is opening a Simpsons section to their theme park where you will be able to buy Duff beer?).

The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer #2)

Gavin Guile is dying.

He'd thought he had five years left - now he has less than one.  With fifty thousand refugees, a bastard son, and an ex-fiancee who may have learned his darkest secret, Gavin has problems on every side.  All magic in the world is running wild and threatens to destroy the Seven Satrapies.

Worst of all, the old gods are being reborn, and their army of color wights is unstoppable.  The only salvation may be the brother whose freedom and life Gavin stole sixteen years ago.  

This book takes up right where The Black Prism left off.  No 100 page recap of what previously happened as so many authors are prone to do.  I find this refreshing, and particularly convenient since I read books one and two back-to-back.  You are thrown right into the fray taking place on multiple fronts (political, militant, religious, philosophical, moral).  Brent Weeks' characters are morally ambiguous (some people have a problem when there is no clear "good guys"), yet I revel in rooting for someone who isn't perfect.  When an author can invest the reader into a "bad" character, he is doing his job.

When the author fails at this, it can make a book unreadable (The Magicians by Lev Gross borders that line).  

The magic system (which I've previously gushed about) is amped up with magical artifacts (cloaks and cards and colors, oh my!), the re-birth of some old gods, the addition of new "colors" and new uses for existing colors.  

The story follows three general arcs - Kip on the Jaspers, Gavin on the seas, and Liv on the Color Prince's army.  Each segment brings something different to the table.  Kip brings a "coming of age" story - the young wizard with new wizardly powers, Gavin brings the fluctuations in religious belief, moral righteousness, and a love story; Liv and the Color Prince bring political debate, moral ambiguity (though this is prevalent throughout the Lightbringer world), teenage angst.  The Liv story-line I felt was the weakest, and thankfully it was also the least prominent.  

The Blinding Knife builds off of the world created in The Black Prism, adding new locales, customs, and characters to what was already a remarkably, refreshingly unique fantasy landscape.  

This series is fantastic.  The best two books I have read this year (and they are not in bad company (books read in 2013)).  Five of five stars and a Bill & Ted "EXCELLENT."

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