Sunday, December 14, 2014

"The Broken Eye" by Brent Weeks – The Rise of a New Dawn

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks - book cover
The world created for us by Brent Weeks in his Lightbringer series is, following the second book in it, The Blinding Knife, is in a rather chaotic state: the satrapies lie in ruins, the old gods have reawakened, the world is plunged into a terrifying civil war, Gavin Guile has been captured and stripped of his powers... in other words, in the third book in the series,

The Broken Eye, our protagonist Kip has his work cut out for him. Without giving away anything in the review, this book feels like the first half of a two-part finale, one that becomes increasingly focused on Kip's trials and tribulations as he attempts to navigate the cruel and unforgiving politics and power games of his world as well as elude a sect of assassins while trying desperately to find a way to salvage his universe, to stop it from descending in the eternal abyss of pain, desolation and suffering.

So how exactly does this third novel fare in comparison to the other two? To begin with, the first thing you'll notice is that the pace has slowed down somewhat noticeably, with there being a lot more text dedicated to long expositions and, perhaps a bit surprisingly, world-building. It is a bit of a puzzling detour to take seeing as how the previous novels had already established the setting and set the standard for a relatively quick pace with action, interesting events and revelations coming rather regularly.

Now, I am certainly not saying that this novel is devoid of any interesting happenings and is just a snooze-fest; on the contrary, there are a fair amount of interesting subjects discussed and they certainly don't fail in capturing the reader's attention... they just don't come like they did before. In other words, this third chapter feels like it was stretched out on some accounts, perhaps to make place for a fourth book; that approach doesn't kill the book, but it doesn't help it either.

It is really only near the end of the book that things really start to pick up and events unfold one after the other, but just when it seems like the coveted revelations are about to be given, the abrupt ending is dropped on our heads and leaves us wanting. It somewhat pains to me to say that many of the questions created in the last books remain unanswered, and even the characters don't walk too far of a path in terms of development. Otherwise said, The Broken Eye is the slower, middle child of the bunch. (You can read the first chapter here)

With all of that being said, it shouldn't be forgotten that the book naturally has its fair share of qualities... the criticisms are in large part coming from the fact that Weeks had set the bar so high for himself with his fantastic literature. The dialog is written seamlessly and flows from one sentence to the next with unprecedented smoothness. The characters are quite interesting to watch, and many of the interactions are indeed quite humorous. The few developments that do take place also put an undeniably-curious twist to the plot, and if this book was intended to set the stage for a grand finale where all comes together and is finally revealed, then it has indeed accomplished its goal.

To cap things off, though The Broken Eye may be, so far at least, the weaker entry in the series, it nevertheless remains a good effort in its own right and ought to be read by fans of the previous two books, only with somewhat lowered expectations. Don't despair, fans of the series; there is a good reason to believe that the next book will fall back into familiar territory, do away with all the filler, and plug up the holes and tie the loose ends of what has so far turned out to be a most unique and moving adventure.

Brent Weeks (March 7, 1977)

Brent Weeks (March 7, 1977)

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Brent Weeks is an American writer of fantasy novels who managed to squeeze into The New York Times Best Seller List with his novel The Blinding Knife in 2012. So far he has authored two book series, Night Angel and Lightbringer, as well as a short fiction story titled "Perfect Shadow".

More of the Brent Weeks' book reviews:
The Black Prism
The Blinding Knife
The Blood Mirror

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