The Broken Eye, by Brent Weeks

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The book’s blurb… from Goodreads

As the old gods awaken and satrapies splinter, the Chromeria races to find its lost Prism, the only man who may be able to stop catastrophe. But Gavin Guile is enslaved on a pirate galley. Worse, Gavin no longer has the one thing that defined him — the ability to draft.

Without the protection of his father, Kip Guile will have to face a master of shadows alone as his grandfather moves to choose a new Prism and put himself in power. With Teia and Karris, Kip will have to use all his wits to survive a secret war between noble houses, religious factions, rebels, and an ascendant order of hidden assassins, The Broken Eye.

What I liked…

I suppose I had better state that this review is more for the series –Lightbringer – than just The Broken Eye, as I read all three books in vast orgy of perusal. But as for what I liked, there was much… It flies at a pace, yet has the richness that makes it easily categorised as Epic Fantasy. The writing is tight as a car bonnet. That seems like a strange thing to say, but there is so much vibrancy and depth to these books, that it’s hard to know where to start. The magic system, obviously, is what I liked most of all. Light and colour are the background shades (?) of the series so far, although I struggled throughout to visualise the luxin, which might not just have been a fault of the author so much as a fault in the mind of the reviewer. Still, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment. As far as the magic goes I am much reminded of Brandon Sanderson, if only that Brent Weeks shares the same capacity to forge wilder and wilder sorceries, full of imagination and verve. And the magic system has shaped the world to such an extent that I imagine when the author had the idea he probably spent the next week in a fever of excitement as he began to examine how life would be under such…metaphysics? Probably not the right word, but this entire series has messed with my head, man!

And Mr Weeks handles the theme with such deftness; by turns, comic and epic in his phrasing. The main characters are brilliant. Well let me qualify that; most of the main characters are brilliant (some not so much – see later). They all have their peculiarities, their particular weaknesses and strengths, their vulnerabilities. Kip’s balance between doubt, weakness, arrogance and the heroic was palpable throughout, and he grew in the book so convincingly. And Andross positively oozed menace. Gavin Guile was every bit the dashing hero with secretive flaws, and the author handles the immense power he has without allowing it to seem unrealistic (as far as fantasy goes!). The dialogue is sharp and clever too, and Kip the Lip was entertaining throughout. The emotional scenes were shudderingly good.

There is much to like with these books, and I, for one, will be back for more. Brent Weeks is good!

What I didn’t like…

I have the feeling that the female characters were left somewhat in the shade this time, and seemed shoe-horned in at times. I am led to believe this is a tetralogy (4 books), and I suspect the female characters will drive much of the finale, which will be interesting (I think it will be at least a year away). It may have been because I was reading quickly, but they felt less convincing than their male counterparts in this book.

I didn’t much like the Blackguards, which fell into the same ninja warrior trope of such fantasy with too much convenience. I could have done with a little more twisting, or examples of them in contention with the authorities. It was somewhat redeemed by the twist at the end, which was good, if not entirely unexpected. Still, not many flaws (if they are truly that) to change my mind overall…

So…

The first book  of Lightbringer is a slow-burner. By book two you will forge ahead willingly, then by this book – The Broken Eye – you are treated to a tour-de-force that will leave you, as it did me, cursing the long, looong wait for the next in the series. But I will be buying it. And so should you!

Rating…

4.5 out of 5

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2 responses to “The Broken Eye, by Brent Weeks

  1. GOOD REVIEW. Not my usual genre, but I read the first book (all 700+ pages!) because he (B. Weeks) was going to be at Bubonicon (along with Diana Gabaldon, which was the original draw for me). He was great to listen to in person, interesting, unexpectedly relatable (to a non-Sci Fi person like me), down to earth, and quite humble about his writing. He seemed a little bemused to be sitting there on some of those panels with those other authors, which was kind of funny to me, considering his success. Good luck with the new site.

    Liked by 1 person

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