Review: The Broken Eye
War. Revenge. Intrigue. Secrets. Magic. Everything you love about Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer Series continues in THE BROKEN EYE (Amazon).
This is what you’ve been waiting for.
Like I said with THE BLINDING KNIFE (EBR Review), trying to read BROKEN without having read the previous books will leave you lost and floundering, the sequence of events lacking real impact. If you love epic fantasy with complex characters, creative world-building, and fast-paced action, then yes you should read this series, starting with THE BLACK PRISM (EBR Review) (read the first three chapters for FREE here!). What follows will contain spoilers if you read them out of order. You have been warned.
At the end of BLINDING everything changes for our heroes. Gavin has lost his ability to draft and now finds himself a slave on a pirate ship’s galley. Kip escapes sociopathic half-brother Zymun to return to the Chromeria a changed man. Teia finds herself mixed up with a group of fanatic vigilantes, her ex-slave status in jeopardy. Karris mourns the disappearance of her husband, but must find a new purpose to her life as the wife of the Prism.
A lot happens in BROKEN, covering months as Gavin tries to escape, Kip continues his training, and Lord Guile manipulates the politics of the Chromeria. Without Gavin there and the White’s health quickly deteriorating, no one can check Lord Guile’s ambitions. But I’ll be honest with you, despite a lot happening, BROKEN feels like a middle-of-the-story novel. The pace slows for almost the entire book as characters’ situations are suspended in uncertainty. Will Gavin escape? Should Kip trust his grandfather? What is the White’s plans for Karris? Is Teia entrapping herself to the Order of the Broken Eye?
Part of the cause of this slower pacing is a focus on the politics of war and power. Certainly there’s the Chromeria, but what happens when the Prism disappears and there’s a vacuum of power? What happens when a (supposedly) altruistic Color Prince makes his way through the various countries to free them from the thumb of an oppressive Chromeria–but will do anything and kill anyone in order to achieve his goals?
Another reason for the slower pace is the in-depth character development. After two books of setting up our characters and who they are, BROKEN delves into what makes our heroes tick. I really, really enjoyed this about BROKEN, when usually extra characterization is something that drives me batty because nothing happens–fortunately Weeks’s characterization is never boring. I was hooked as I watched Kip struggle with the changes in Lord Guile and try to reconcile the loss of his father with his current standing among his peers (as a result of the last battle in BLINDING)–all with his usual snark. I loved that there was more Karris screen time and how she becomes involved in the White’s spy network. Teia is a fascinating character whose self-doubt isn’t annoying, and she fights to overcome it in realistic ways. Weeks is fantastic with his female characters, they are truly well done. Gavin’s struggle to not be bogged down by discouragement in his situation was frankly inspiring. Unfortunately, though, we don’t see much of Liv, and only hear secondhand accounts of the Color Prince’s army and their exploits. But I’m hoping that in following books we aren’t left in the dark about our villains.
There isn’t as much world-building this time around as in the last two books, although there’s some new tidbits that will satisfy even the most staunch epic fantasy readers. Weeks carries forward the loose threads from BLINDING and adds to them, weaving into the story exciting new possibilities.
Weeks also seems to have more control of his action sequences, making it feel less showy and more like what I’d expect from these characters and what we know they can do–alone and as a team. There was tension, excitement, surprises (Weeks can’t help himself when it comes to his twists and surprises). And of course the consequences that we may not yet see the whole of for some time. As a result the conclusion, as in past books, was amazing and game-changing. I’m eagerly anticipating THE BLOOD MIRROR… 2016 can’t come fast enough.
- Recommended Age: 14+
- Language: A few f-bombs per chapter
- Violence: Several violent episodes, variously bloody
- Sex: Referenced; teenage hormones