Lightbringer: The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks – Book Review [Bane of Kings]

the blinding knife

Bane of Kings writes a review of The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks, published by Orbit and follows on from The Black Prism, being the second book in the Lightbringer Series by the author of the Night Angel Trilogy.

“The best Fantasy novel of 2012 that I’ve read so far this year. Unmissable.” ~The Founding Fields

Note: The blurb of this novel contains a huge spoiler for the outcome of The Black Prism, so do not read this review unless you have read The Black Prism first.

So, with the sentence that I’ve just posted above (not the spoiler warning, of course), you don’t really need to read the rest of the review, do you? Sure, whilst The Blinding Knife may not be as good as A Storm of Swords or any other George RR Martin novel that I’ve read this year (aside from maybe A Feast for Crows), The Blinding Knife is possibly my favourite fantasy novel that was released in 2012, –  but we’ll have to wait and see as I may be reading some potential rivals in the next few months . However, I can always rely on Weeks to produce an awesome book, as The Night Angel Trilogy is indeed, one of my favourite fantasy series that I’ve read, ever, even if it does come behind A Song of Ice and Fire, The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, and depending on whether The Hero of Ages is a satisfying conclusion, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy. Whilst I’m not sure if The Lightbringer Series emerges on top of Night Angel just yet, it’s still a firm and enjoyable series so far, even if it was intended initially to be just a trilogy.

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 color wights is unstoppable. The only salvation may be the brother whose freedom and life Gavin stole sixteen years ago.

The Lightbringer series is certainly original, and it does what few fantasy tales that I’ve read have managed to do in the past – create a believable system were guns are used in the same setting as magic. Even if they have a minor appearance and don’t play a huge role in the series, they are still there. But those who dislike guns in fantasy settings don’t have to worry – Weeks has pulled it off perfectly. The Blinding Knife takes a slightly different angle from its predecessor, with Kip getting more page-time than Gavin. It’s interesting to see how both of Weeks’ characters develop over the course of the novel, and with the shocking twist at the end (which I didn’t see coming), it’ll be very interesting to see how this plays out in the future, with this series being changed from a trilogy to four books.

The Blinding Knife is epic, and whilst we’re still talking about characters, It’s important to take note that his characters are constructed really well. They’re flawed, they’re not perfect, and Weeks has a brilliant way of showing us this. Through Liv, another strong female presence in this novel who returned from The Black Prism, we get a look into the opposing side that’s facing Gavin and his forces under the command of the Colour Prince. This is an interesting take on the narrative as rather than just be confined to Gavin, Kip and Karris, we get chapters from several of Weeks’ dramatis personae.

A change of character doesn’t mean a change of pace though, and The Blinding Knife speeds through, keeping the reader turning the pages and you won’t want to put this book down. I always end up finishing Brent Weeks novels quickly, and The Blinding Knife isn’t an exception, my reading delayed mostly due to the fact that I had to sleep, and attend College. Weeks’ pace is done brilliantly well, with several twists and turns (including a big one at the very end), which I didn’t see coming.

My only complaint is that I want more. I liked pretty much everything about The Blinding Knife, the characters, the plot, the setting that has to have been planned, there was no way that it could have been created off the top of the author’s head, what with the level of world building and the amount of twists that are featured in the second Lightbringer novel.

The action’s well written, as one would expect with a Brent Weeks novel, and after a spectacular opening sequence we find ourselves in action-scenes that look, or feel any similar to that again for the rest of the six-hundred odd page novel. Everything feels different, varied and awesome. I can’t praise The Blinding Knife higher, and I believe it’s currently the best fantasy novel that I’ve read this year that has come from 2012. (Although, I’m reading Mark Lawrence’s King of Thorns soon, so that may change).

Verdict: 5/5

The Lightbringer Series: The Black Prism, The Blinding Knife

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer