The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

Rating 9.5/10
I do not think I have enjoyed a fantasy novel quite as much as the second Lightbringer book by Brent

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I don’t think I've enjoyed a fantasy novel quite as much as Week’s second in his “Lightbringer” series. The reason is that his form taps neatly into the great fantasy series of the ‘80s and ‘90s very well. Essentially the reader follows the waxing fortunes of a young child who goes through character building trials and tribulations on their way to great power, kingship, nobility and generally saving whatever world they are on. It’s a formula used brilliantly by the likes of Feist, Eddings, Weis and Hickman, Wurts, Douglass, Canavan – to name a few. Weeks has reined back in his Night Angel exuberance where the fight scenes got more and more over the top (it was almost a fantasy version of Matthew Reilly’s ‘Scarecrow’) and produced a series with the necessary pace to enthral the reader. Namely… a slow build up.

As readers we all know Kip Guile’s destiny (the umming and aaahing by several characters over the concept of a Lightbringer is irrelevant given the title of the trilogy); it’s just we want to grow up with this slightly chubby, outspoken, intelligence lad as he struggles to come to terms with both himself and his scheming, all-powerful family. All you need to do is stick him in Week’s version of Hogwarts, have him attempt to reach the exacting standards of the Blackguards, have a couple of “bullying” scenes, surround him with a bunch of class mates who fulfil every weakness he’s got (Cruxer, Teia et al.), ensure he’s got a stoical mentor (IronFist), and then have a patriarchal society menace him (led by Andross Guile). Do all that and you've got the vital ingredients for transiting a boy to a man. Oh… wait. That’s exactly what the author does.

The development of Kip is surrounded by the action of relationships. That being between: Daseen and Gavin; Karris and Daseen; Liv and the Color Prince; The Prism and The White; Kip and Andross – to name a few. Behind it all raise the spectre of the theatre of war, the failure of Daseen’s luxin, and the prophesy of the Lightbringer. It’s a heady, potent mix delivered in a manner that is both exhilarating and neatly written. My only “concern” with this book is the portrayal of women. They all seem to be too focused around their lust or love for men (barring The White), Week’s continually having them either openly seductive or worrying about how to be seductive, or how to deal with their emotions. He even has an openly sadistic scene with Teia and her owner. I am not sure what the author is trying to have the reader think with his female characters at times. Those that are depicted as strong (Karris, Liv and Marissia) are in thrall to strong men which is displeasing to this reader. I’d like to see the balance redressed with female characters who are strong in personality, not subjected to slavery, beatings, emotional hesitancy.

Anyway, Weeks is as good as Canavan. This new trilogy is better than his first. It’s more mature, better paced, more considerate of the reader – less of the outpourings of a teenage boy, more the crafting of a skilled author. Having read Ian C Esslemont before this I can see a plain difference in the writing skills and erudition of both authors. But, for me, it would be like comparing Dickens to Cussler. Both are excellent in their own way and should be read without comparison. If you truly want to know where Weeks is then you could easily compare him to Eddings or Feist. With regard to the former, Weeks is easily as good; for the latter… still some way to go to match the skill of “Magician”.

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The Blinding Knife reader reviews

from Netherlands

10-stars

To keep it plain and simple, this story brought back kind memories off the 90's, Feast, Hobb, Goodkind, Eddings... you'll probably know it, they were the best. This one is better. Modern style, greatly written. Great characters, awesome progression, great action. I liked it, a lot.

from UK

10-stars

I was fortunate to meet Brent at FantasyCon. My son had him sign both books in the new series. Brent read an excerpt (supposedly) from his next book after Blinding Knife. He has a very distinctive style of reading and I could hear his voice as I read Blinding Knife. That was a little unsettling! Fortunately the excerpt turned out to be as much fantasy as the book! He had us all believing he was going to kill off one of his main characters. He may still do so, but not as happened in his reading. I still haven't forgiven JK Rowling for killing off Hedwig! Anyway - to the book. It follows on from Black Prism. Blinding Knife is brilliantly written and the characterisation is excellent as per usual. The series is a distinctly different fantasy series to any other and he creates a whole new range magic type with associated rules. It's a very long book so those that enjoy reading will regard it as excellent value. It may be overlong if you like fast paced books all the way through. For everyone else - this is a cracking read and I would recommend it. It has everything a fantasy fan would like.

9.8/10 from 3 reviews

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