Title: The Blinding Knife.
Series: Lightbringer #2.
Writer(s): Brent Weeks.
Release Date: August 27th 2013 (first published September 1st 2012).
My Overall Rating: ★★★★★.
Previously in the Lightbringer series:
The Black Prism by Brent Weeks.
Sometimes, when you have an idea, you try and explore it to its fullest. You try and flesh it out and make it coherent enough that once it’s crystallized and exposed to the world, it would leave seeds in the imagination of others. They ultimately sprout and lead those who are intrigued feeling attached to these ideas, greatly craving for more. That’s how authors grow a relentless fanbase but what comes with it is just as dangerous and leaves room for disappointment as they give birth to what know as expectations. This is, however, not an issue that authors will run into if their imagination was already busy conceiving the stories they want to tell. In his latest installment, Brent Weeks continues his expedition within his Lightbringer series by further expanding the world with what might be one of the best magic systems in fantasy literature. Leave it to him to make this a story that is simply impossible to forget, a book that you just can’t put down.
What is The Blinding Knife about? Taking place directly after the epic events in The Black Prism, the story follows Gavin Guile’s enigmatic rulership over the Chromeria as he searches for solutions to the endless number of refugees under his wings from here on out. As he embarks on a perilous journey, stricken by an ominous predicament that unveils a tragic and baffling truth on his life expectancy as the Prism, he now has to juggle with new factors that put at risk his most well-guarded secrets while trying to accomplish his Seven Great Purposes. While his plans are threatened by the rise of old gods and their colour wights, Gavin has to also come to terms with a bastard son and an ex-fiancée if he is to move forward in the life he now embraces. The road he must now take is one that he must pave for himself and it might mean reconciling with people he wishes were already dead.
“Evil is simple and empty. Evil has no mysterious depths. We stare into a dark hole and fill it with our fears, but it is only a hole.”
— Brent Weeks
There was honestly no way to know what direction Brent Weeks would take his series with his second entry in the Lightbringer series, The Blinding Knife. With the possibilities being endless, it was a delight to find out that his vision was flowing with surprises and effortlessly streamed its way through the gorgeous world that was painted from the ground up in The Black Prism. While the first book did a tremendous job in exposing the magic system at the core of his story and didn’t hesitate to spend some extra time in immersing the reader in a detailed environment to perfectly acclimate them to the internal and external mechanisms that allow him to breathe magical life into his world. From the introduction of paryl luxin and its unstable and deadly features for drafters to ingenious and strategical luxin manipulation, the world-building in this sequel continues to remain strong through and through. It is also worth mentioning that the story explores the renowned academia trope that is often seen in fantasy stories and nails the execution. From friendship to bullying, this school setting gives the story an excellent opportunity to explore the minds of various characters and refine their personalities with growth through hardship.
As if that wasn’t enough, Brent Weeks also brilliantly handles the myriad of characters in The Blinding Knife, new and old alike. It would be an understatement to say that he portrays each and every one of them with a unique voice, a colourful personality, and an unforgettable set of mannerisms to go with their singular physique. Among the various characters that are given the spotlight with riveting points of view, Kip remains the most entertaining with his ludicrous personality, his audaciousness, and his peculiar background that invites unwanted attention onto every single breath he takes. His similarities to his father, especially when it comes to their immature love for the curves found on the tantalizing women they encounter, as well as their sense of humour, also add a healthy dose of ridiculousness to the story that I simply can’t stop grinning at.
The character development is thus impeccable and it does not limit itself in the child underdog that is Kip but is also seen in other recurring characters, including the Prism, Gavin Guile. The introduction of new characters who add new layers of political controversy to the story is also impressive. From the omnipresence of Andross Guile and Teia in Kip’s new life, I was constantly fascinated by their banter and how their motives and decisions play a role in the grand scheme of things. It’s safe to say that there isn’t a moment of respite throughout the story as the pacing remained excellent and quick, with characters who constantly made the various relational dynamics entertaining from cover to cover.
The Blinding Knife is a blazingly vivid and extraordinaire installment, shimmering with deception and betrayal whilst allowing glorious growth and expansion in characters, world, and story within the Lightbringer series.
Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for sending me a copy for review!
The grand conclusion to this series, book #5 of the Lightbringer series, The Burning White, comes out on October 22nd!