Brent Weeks has finally done it! The third book of the Lightbringer saga has officially blown me away. After two excellent entries, The Broken Eye at last affirms that this series really isn’t one to be missed. Spoilers will be included. The Broken Eye, as a title, actually makes more sense than Brent Weeks perhaps originally intended. I can name a handful of things it could be referring to, aside from the secret organization of the same name within the series, but one sticks out. Quite a bit sorely too.
As main characters generally go, there’s usually a long character arc to go alongside them. This is very much the case for Kip Guile, but it’s taken a bit longer. In The Black Prism we see him begin to learn how to draft. In The Blinding Knife Kip slowly gains confidence, and allies himself with the Black Guard. But in The Broken Eye we see the most impressive chapter of his growth as a character, finally gaining control of all his faculties. He is now a very capable drafter, an extremely smart strategist, he’s not afraid of his betters, and he’s losing weight to boot. There’s even a portion of the story where he goes on a quest of self discovery, early on – relying on his abilities in drafting to save his life. My only qualm was that it was cut short. We could’ve seen some really cool forward growth here, early on, but it seemed a bit jumpy. Not quite a lost opportunity, but not as satisfying as it could have been. Still, Kip’s easily one of my favorite characters in recent memory.
If there’s any character most worth talking about however, it’d be Tia, a young girl with the unique ability to draft pyral, a mostly lost and forbidden art. She’s perhaps my favorite character because she’s just such a strong one. Tia’s this books Arya Stark. Throughout this novel she’s required to secretly join an underground assassin’s guild, but is asked by the Chromaria to spy as a double agent on the guild. Lots of really crazy chapters ensue, and all the while Weeks’ has you completely invested in her descent into darkness and secrecy. Secrets she even has to keep from Kip.
One of this books strongest qualities is actually it’s ability to just continuously blow you away by the grandiosity of it all. Weeks delivers some excellent worldbuilding, only giving you information when the plot demands you know of it. So many revelations, not only with the world and the draftable colors itself, but with the history of characters past, secret organizations that shape the future, the true nature of some of the leading figures in the Chromaria – it all adds up to some truly seamless storytelling, and you’ll not even notice your jaw dropping chapter after chapter. It’s really that clever.
Andross Guile has to be one of the downright most conniving characters ever to grace the fantasy genre. He puts ASoIaF’s Tywin Lannister to shame in his sheer ruthless nature. All the while we realize he is just playing life with the cards dealt him, as if this were some grand Nine Kings game for him to conquer. By the end you really stop hating him and start cheering him on because he’s just so evil… Or it appears that way. His actions in this book directly influence one of the best climaxes I’ve read all year round. But is he truly as evil as he first appears? I’m beginning to think he’s actually got a plan to save the world from the eventual war with the Color Prince. I guess we’ll see.
Perhaps a blessing in disguise, but a blessing nonetheless – Liv and the Color Prince take a seat on the bench as the story unwinds this time around. They’ve got little to do. Liv only has a few chapters – and seeing that she’s by far the least interesting invested plot in the seven satrapies, that’s totally fine by me.
I will make mention that for those of you who’ve read my review for The Blinding Knife, and noted my glaring complaints about the fact that Gavin totally got away with the murder of his brother for the sake of – well… There was no reason to kill him. That was my issue. This doesn’t get resolved in this book. It’s just a shock death apparently. Wasteful. But as this isn’t the book my qualms reside with, I can’t possibly take points away from my overall score, which is one of my highest ratings for a book this year.
Gavin Guile’s state as a Prism with no ability to draft are vastly more interesting than his overpowered state in the previous two installments. We find him enslaved by Captain Gunner, a mad pirate, to join his crew – all the while knowing there’s nothing he can do. A series of events later and we find him enslaved elsewhere, about to be made an example of and he realizes he can draft a color he forgot existed, but chooses not to because it would harm others who are innocent, something he wants no part in.
To say “I can’t wait for the next installment” would be a lackluster understatement. As would it be the case if I mentioned “I’m glad this isn’t just a trilogy.” Another book is on its way, titled The Blood Mirror, and should arrive sometime in 2016. As far as The Broken Eye goes, this has to be one of the highlights to fantasy in 2014, and for me in general.