“Breaker! Breaker! Breaker!”
After a several month gap, I’ve returned to the Lightbringer series. Brent Weeks kept his promise in the previous entry of great epic fantasy, and in The Blinding Knife, he continued to deliver.
In the second installment to the series, Weeks continues to follow the cast of characters he introduced in the first novel. Kip trains to become a Blackguard while his grandfather testing him is an ever-present thorn in his side. Meanwhile, Karris helps Gavin search for the answers to saving the Seven Satrapies while Gavin searches for a way to heal his relationships with Karris, Kip, and his brother before his imminent demise.
Similar to Harry Potter or The Name of the Wind, Kip is put through training to reach his true potential. This is a trope I haven’t tired of yet, so I enjoyed it. But his conflict with his grandfather, Andross Guile, is the part that I really enjoyed. Using a card game called Nine Kings that feels similar to Magic: The Gathering, a tense war of wills plays out between a man of immense power and cunning and Kip “almost” Guile.
And Kip’s growing relationship with Teia (a new character) was fantastic. If feels natural and doesn’t feel rushed. It’s a perfect example of how I like romance done in my fantasy.
The thing that stood out to me about The Black Prism was how intelligent the characters were. When I say intelligent, I don’t mean they were all geniuses. I mean that they think like people who deliberate their situation and what might happen to them as they approach each decision. In The Blinding Knife, Weeks hasn’t backed away from that approach. And though I sometimes think the characters a little too perceptive and calculating, it’s even more interesting when they fail after such careful consideration.
While the plotline with Liv is supposed to make us shout “No! Don’t do it, Liv!” as she falls victim to the corruption of the Color Prince, I found that I didn’t care. So instead of dreading, I sped through her chapters to get back to a character I cared about. And that’s unfortunate because she has a character arc that I usually enjoy.
The Blinding Knife is a worthy sequel to The Black Prism and worth your time if you enjoyed the first book in the Lightbringer series.
Whoa! Hold on. I forgot. ANOTHER EPIC CLIFFHANGER!
Brent, buddy, why do you keep doing this to me? Unlike many modern fantasy novels, the cliffhangers compel rather than annoy. So many storytellers do not complete a full story before introducing their cliffhanger. Weeks doesn’t do that to us, and I appreciate that.
I recommend you pick this book up ASAP. And if you haven’t read the first book in the series, and you’re uncertain if you’d like it you can find my thoughts about it here: https://www.jimwilbourne.com/stuff/2018/11/5/my-experience-with-the-black-prism-by-brent-weeks