BOOK REVIEW: The Blinding Knife

Posted on September 24, 2012

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first published at www.awritergoesonajourney.com

The Blinding Knife
Brent Weeks
The Lightbringer 2
Orbit
2012
9781841499062

BLURB

Gavin Guile is dying.

He’d thought he had five years left–now he has less than one. With fifty thousand refugees, a bastard son, and an ex-fiancée who may have learned his darkest secret, Gavin has problems on every side. All magic in the world is running wild and threatens to destroy the Seven Satrapies. Worst of all, the old gods are being reborn, and their army of colour wights is unstoppable. The only salvation may be the brother whose freedom and life Gavin stole sixteen years ago.
REVIEW

The opening book in this series, The Black Prism, was a weighty read but worth it, The same can be easily said for its successor, The Blinding Knife.

What strikes me more than anything is the depth that Weeks has gone to in creating his world. A central point of things is that of the casters – people who are able to use a particular colour in the light spectrum as magic. Different colours produce different results, with differing influences on the personality and thought processes of the caster involved.

Most casters are proficient in casting within one, perhaps two colours. The Prism, the national leader of the Chromaria in many respects, is a master of at least all the visible colours in the light spectrum.

Crafting from light comes at a cost – the more you use it, the faster you hasten towards your end. Eventually your particular colour will take you over, potentially turning you into a colour wight.

Gavin Guile is the current Prism although he is really Gavin’s brother, Dazen, having stolen his brother’s identity sixteen years earlier.

Unlike those headed towards becoming a wight, Gavin is instead beginning to lose his colours, his abilities, a sign that he is approaching a premature end to his life.

In what might be seen as a possible allegory regarding our own world where nature is out of balance, the magic – the colours – are running out of control with dire consequences.

The outward protagonist is the Colour Prince,  the leader of a rebellion against the Chromeria, the ruling body of the Seven Satrapies of Gavin’s world. The Colour Prince has rejected the teachings of the Chromeria, surrendering himself to being remade by his colours but as more than a colour wight. But beyond the continuing advances of the Colour Prince, Gavin also has to deal with internal politics,  treachery and his own inner demons and secrets.

My only gripe was the lack of a short introduction reminding us of the events of The Black Prism. At first I struggled a little to remember just who was what. But Weeks soon reintroduces all the principle characters and it starts coming back to you. The story is well supported by two detailed glossaries and an appendix discussing more of the details of colour and crafting.

This is a fascinating, compelling read. It is more than just a successor to The Black Prism, both extending and strengthening the story.

Highly recommended

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