Book Review: The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks
Series: Book 3 of Lightbringer
Publisher: Orbit (August 26, 2014)
Mogsy’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Things are definitely picking up in this third book of the Lightbringer series…but is it going to be enough?
Obviously, if you’ve made it this far, you’d probably have a good grasp on what’s been happening by this point. Gavin Guile, the Prism who stole his brother’s identity is lost to the open seas, captured and enslaved by pirates with his color sight – and thus his ability to draft – gone. As rescue missions mount, his absence is felt by the entire Chromeria, especially by Kip Guile. Without the protection of his father, Kip is left to face up against his bully of a grandfather alone. With his position in the Blackguard in question and his smart-alecky mouth constantly getting him into trouble, he’ll need all the help he can get to survive the conspiracies and secret power plays between all the factions warring for control.
Overall, I think each book in the series is an improvement over the former. I’ve mentioned before how fascinating it always is to see an author’s writing evolve before your eyes, and I think I am witnessing this with Brent Weeks. Of course, there are still the occasional quirks that pop up in his prose which drive me nuts, such as his attempts at humor that often fall flat, or certain word choices (totally a personal thing – and I realize an author can do or say whatever they want in his or her world, but seeing slang terms like “butt”, “gross” and “booger” in an epic fantasy novel still has this way of grinding my gears). On the whole, however, I still feel Weeks’ style is continuing to become more polished and refined when it comes to his characters and storytelling.
It’s all basically coming together, slowly but surely. That said, a part of me still feels this series suffers a bit from a case of the “epic for epic’s sake” syndrome. There are sections in this novel that drag on unnecessarily, and I felt this most keenly at the beginning. Like the previous two installments, I found myself questioning whether things were going to go anywhere, which happened a lot more than I cared for, which has hindered my enthusiasm for this series and kept me from jumping completely on board. In all three books, it always felt like most of the significant developments in the story tended to come towards the end.
The parting twist here in The Broken Eye is a great example of how Weeks keeps these books interesting. There are a lot of elements left up in the air now – who’s who on which side anymore? Where do everyone’s loyalties lie? There are many things that aren’t as they seem. I can’t say that the rest of the book held up to this level of excitement and suspense, but getting to this point was worth it, at least.
Plus, the magic system based on chromaturgy is expanded upon once again, and I swear it becomes more interesting and unique with every book. I have never encountered anything quite like it before. Magic users in this world can harness light and draft luxin, a substance that can take on unique properties depending on the color it was drafted from. Most drafters are usually sensitive to only one color, and their powers and even their personalities and emotions can be influenced by this. In The Broken Eye, we discover even more new abilities and ways to draft and manipulate the spectrum.
I’m also feeling much more sympathetic towards the characters. I continue to be curious about Weeks’ plans for Teia and Karris. They are both developed very well in this book, with tough choices to make and crucial roles to play. I like how each woman has their internal struggles, and that their stories are important to the overall narrative and not just throwaway plot threads. I also felt for Gavin, who is deep into the “hero’s setback” section of his journey. Considering how poorly I thought of him in The Black Prism, it surprises me a little now that he’s become the darling of the series. But seeing as I liked this book more for it, I’m definitely not complaining.
Kip, however, is still posing a bit of problem. They don’t call him “Kip the Lip” for nothing. This is where a lot of the author attempts at being clever and funny falter; Kip is simply not endearing himself to me, no matter how awkwardly charming Weeks is trying to make this character come across. I have a soft spot for unlikely heroes, but more often than not, Kip’s antics and clumsy dialogue simply makes me cringe. I never thought it possible that I could feel embarrassment for a fictional character.
Now, for the difficult part. I’m still trying to decide whether or not I will continue with this series. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been enjoying these books. True, my excitement might not be through the roof or anything, but I like them just fine. But with my reading time at a premium and the to-read list continuing to grow, it’s hard to justify all that with “I like them just fine” or the 3-3.5 star ratings I’ve given for each book in the series. If I also didn’t have to take page count into consideration this would have been a no-brainer since I hate giving up on a series, especially one that shows a lot of promise, but these are undeniably large tomes. On the other hand, I’m aware Lightbringer will also end at four books, so if that stands, I’ll probably go ahead and finish it up with The Blood Mirror. We shall see once we get closer to publication.
A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Orbit Books!