The Burning White (Lightbringer #5) ★★★★★

burningwhite (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Burning White
Series: Lightbringer #5
Author: Brent Weeks
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 1325
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY

This book has several main Point of View characters. We follow Teia, Kip and the Mighty, Gavin Guile, Andross Guile and his daughter in law Karris the White and also Liv the Ferrilux. With each main viewpoint we also get stuff from minor characters.

Teia has been ordered by the Broken Eye to follow Gavin Guile (now a prisoner) onto a ship and kill him once he completes whatever task the Broken Eye has given him. The Order holds Teia’s father hostage and claims they will exchange his life for Gavin’s. Teia backs out at the last second and decides she will hunt the Order down. She contacts Karris but has a fit of the feelings because of something that Karris did so Teia goes it alone. This leads to her getting captured by her Order mentor, Murder Sharp, and being tortured for information. She tricks Murder into killing himself while he reveals just enough info for her to continue her hunt. She takes some poison and finds a wagon of wine that the entire Order is going to drink from and poisons every barrel, pretending to be the poison tester. Of course, she doesn’t know she is masquerading as the poison tester until after she poisons it all. Then she has to taste test the wine and take the poison herself. Which means when the sun rises the next day that the poison will interact with the light and kill her, along with every other Order member. She succeeds and in killing the Order foils a plot by them to open the city gates to the White King. She misses the Old Man of the Desert however. Kip does what he can to save her and succeeds. By the end of the book she is being re-integrated back into the Mighty.

Kip and the Mighty start out still in Blood Forest, where they have to decide whether to save the town they are currently in or to save another larger town that is a lynchpin in holding the current Satrapy together. If the White King gains either town, the entire Satrapy will fall to him. Tisis, his wife, figures out that Kip is being hemmed in not to prevent him from saving either town but from heading back to the Chromeria, where the White King is going to attack with all his forces and all 7 of the Banes. Kip takes on the mantle of the Lightbringer and takes the best of his forces back to the island of Jasper to fulfill a prophecy about the Lightbringer being on the Island to prevent a world wide disaster. He has also discovered, through a message from Liv, that the mirrors on Jasper are part of a network that are capable of killing the Banes. Kip and the Mighty get to the Island, delay the initial attack by the White King and bring some needed news to Andross Guile, who as the Promachos, is the military leader. Andross is still playing games with his grandson and Kip lets the title of Lightbringer go because he realizes he needs to focus on his people instead of his grandfather. Kip begins killing off the Bane by using the Mirror System but Zyman Guile, his insane half-brother, kills him and proclaims himself the Lightbringer and Prism and Emperor of the Chromeria. Kip’s last actions are to send a stream of White Luxin to some point in space. A wave of Black Luxin returns and turns everything darker than night and then Kip is brought back to life by Orholom’s intervention. He is out of the battle but has done enough to allow others to finish things up. At the end of the book he publicly proclaims Andross as the Lightbringer and he and Tisis will head back to Blood Forest to reign as Satraps, while still investigating more about what Orholom actually meant all the various luxins to do.

Gavin, who is really Dazen, is taken to an mythical Island where Orholam Himself supposedly used to meet with mortals. Grinwoody, the Old Man of the Desert and leader of the Broken Eye, tasks Gavin with ascending the tower on the island and destroying whatever he finds on top with a dagger of black luxin. Grinwoody holds the life of Karas and Kip in his hands as leverage. Gavin, now blind in one eye, crippled in one hand and completely color blind and unable to draft, does as he is bid. He meets up with a former rowing slave, coincidentally nicknamed Orholam for his self-righteous preaching. Gavin makes the journey to the top of the Tower, where he expects to find a nexus of magic (Grinwoody doesn’t believe that Orholam is real) and that by slicing it with the Blinding Knife that he will destroy all magic in the world. What he finds is Lucidonious, the First Lightbringer, who is now immortal and apparently evil. He fights Lucidonious and somehow banishes him back into the mirror world from which he came. The Orholam Himself appears. He is Real. He and Gavin have a long conversation and Gavin gets a lot off of his chest but also realizes just how bad a life he has led to that point. He pledges his life to Orholam and sends a wave of Black Luxin to the Chromeria to stop the White King and his Banes. It isn’t enough however and with his wounds he can’t do any more. Until a massive wave of White Luxin hits him and regenerates him. He then uses all the Black Luxin from the Tower and turns it into White Luxin. He then hitches a ride with Orholam and gets to the Island of Jasper in time to take part in the battle. By the end of the book he and Karris are re-united and Dazen (having given up all false pretenses) decides he is going to go into the color dungeon and kill some immortal Fallens.

Andross’s point of view begins with a split timeline. It starts many years ago when he is trying to court his wife. Even back then he thought he was the prophesied Lightbringer and he married his wife because of her scholarly knowledge and ability to read and interpret so many foreign prophecies. Each new chapter brings the timeline closer to the present and we see all the terrible things that Andross does to fulfill what he thinks the prophecy means, all the way up to killing his youngest son. We see how his obsession drives his wife away, his family away and how despicable a person he becomes. By the end of the book he begins to redeem himself and both Kip and Dazen are reaching out to him to prevent him from going down that path again. Of course, he proclaims himself the Lightbringer and the new Emperor of the Chromaeia and the new Prism. He is still a jackass.

Liv, Kip’s friend from the first book, now a godling herself, is under the thrall of one of the Fallen and doesn’t even realize it. She provides insight into what the White King is doing and his eventual goal to proclaim himself the God of gods and to become one of the Immortals himself. He obviously fails and is obliterated.

 

My Thoughts:

First off, just a warning. As you can tell by the synopsis, this is going to be a long review. I don’t know how long this section will be, but it will definitely NOT be my typical 3-5 paragraphs.

This final book in the Lightbringer series was released at the end of October and I was desperately hoping someone else would have written up a synopsis by now over at the wiki page. No such luck so I had to do it myself. I left out a lot of detail, even major detail because this book was just that big. My kindle page count was just over 1300 pages. That number comes from a character count (letters, not words) with X characters per page, not how many page clicks I had to do on my Oasis (which would change if I changed the font size). I sped through it though. I’d read 25% at one go and then go read another book just so I didn’t over do it. That formula worked out perfectly for keeping me interested but not burning out.

So lets start with the negative and potential negative. The only truly negative for me was that it had been long enough between books that I was lost at sea a couple of times. Weeks does provide a short synopsis of each of the previous books at the beginning and I read them. I’d have been even more lost without them. 5 books over nine years is just a lot to deal with. There were a couple of times that something was referred to that I had NO idea about simply because I’d forgotten about it from a previous book. The “potential” negative is the very long talk between Dazen and Orholom at the tower. I say “potential” because it wasn’t a negative for me at all (it probably was the best part) but I don’t know how other readers are going to react to a theological talk between an Omniscient God and a powerful but broken and hurting man.

I liked the almost continual revelations about the history of the Chromeria and the Lightbringers and the 1000 Worlds and the Immortals, etc. Just when I felt like I was getting my feet under me Weeks would bring in another wave and knock me right over. The revelations about Lucidonious was enough to really rock me.

The action was top-notch and was just as good, if not better, than anything that came before in the series. From the Mighty fighting against the corrupt Light Guard, to civilians fighting against the White King’s forces to Cruxer fighting against Ironfist to Teia and Murder Sharp’s fight, even down to the card game between Kip and Andross, it all had the proper amount of tension. All the scenes were what I wanted in my action. I was satisfied with them, completely.

The ending is a pretty happing ending too. The bad guys are defeated, the good guys win and even the despicable scum get a shot at redemption. I didn’t find it sappy or over the top or too much. I have to admit that I wished that Andross Guile had been killed. He was one of the major despicable scum and while it was in keeping with what Weeks was writing, I wanted to see Andross get some Justice from Orholam instead of mercy.

Speaking of Orholam, the reason this got a full 5 stars from me is because of the conversation between Orholam and Dazen. Weeks doesn’t shy away from having Dazen ask some of the hard questions, questions that I struggle with in real life. There were a couple of times during this part of the book where I just cried. I cried with relief knowing that other people ask the same questions and feel the same way I do, I cried because of the pain that causes such questions to even be asked and I cried because I’m sure that Weeks himself struggles with these issues. He couldn’t have written like he did if he hadn’t fought these things out. Weeks is obviously a Christian but much like CS Lewis and Narnia, he doesn’t shy away from exploring the “What If” in regards to theology and fantasy. He’s not quite as explicit as Lewis, as there is no Aslan/Christ figure, but Dazen and Kip definitely play out the Father/ Son role of God the Father and God the Son at the crucifixion. All of these reasons are also why I am giving this the “Best Book of the Year” tag. It has some stiff competition from the other books I gave this tag to this year, so we’ll see what book actually wins at Year’s End.

Overall, I enjoyed the series enough that I wasn’t crying “foul” over the 2 year wait between books. It did show me though that my semi-recent plan to only read completed series is the right way to go. Whatever Brent Weeks writes next I’ll be reading, but I won’t be reading it as it comes out. If you read the first book, I think whatever you feel about that will guide how you feel about the rest of the series.

★★★★★

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer #4)

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

Title: The Blood Mirror

Series: Lightbringer #4

Author: Brent Weeks

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 704

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

The Chromeria is under attack by the White King, the former Color Prince. Andross Guile and Kara, the Iron White, unite in the face of satrapies falling away. Kip is married and besides leading attacks on the White King and learning to be a leader, he is dealing with some serious marital issues.

Gavin/Dazin [I’ve given up by now trying to figure it all out, he’s Gavin to me] is captured by Andross and kept in the same prison he kept his brother in. Lots of things about magic, and theology, are revealed.

Teia, now playing a triple role as Blackguard, the Iron White’s assassin AND as a double agent in the Broken Eye group, comes ever closer to her breaking point.

And so much other stuff that a synopsis is pointless. Just read these books.

My Thoughts:

Much like the previous books, I had a hard time getting into this one. I didn’t feel like I WANTED to read this book. That lasted for until about the 10% mark and then a switch flipped and wham, I was racing along again. This exact same thing has happened in all 3 other books, so something about how Week’s writes is the culprit. When I do my re-read of his Night Angel trilogy next year I’ll see if happens with that as well.

I was all over the place while reading this. So the good first.

This is epic fantasy with some hardcore action. Battles, invisible assassins, magic prisons, people growing up, people realizing that they’re not done growing up, tying this into a Christian world view. If you aren’t looking for that though, I don’t know if one would see it. Weeks uses a Bible verse or two. He also ties Orholam, and mythical fallen creatures, to God and the devil in our world. I thought it was quite cleverly done and not all shoving preachiness down the readers’ throats. Kip and Tisis growing together as a married couple. It was wicked nice to see them CHOOSE to love instead of letting their feelings set the tone. Feelings do follow, but they make that choice and it impressed me. You don’t see that much nowadays, with all the teen/YA angst romance crap.

Unfortunately, that leads me into the less than good.

Tisis had some sort of condition that prevented her from having sex. Weeks actually addresses the condition in an afterward, but I didn’t want to read about it. I’m a pretty private person about some things and intimate matters definitely falls into that area. So to read about those issues just made me very uncomfortable. It really added to the relationship but I didn’t like it.

The other thing was the continued profanity. It has bugged me since Book 1 and it will until the end.

The final problem is that now I have to wait who knows how long until the next book. Thankfully, I’ve got a boatload of good books to keep me distracted. Weeks tells the kind of stories I like to read and I trust he’ll keep putting out good stuff for years to come.

star40full

The Broken Eye (Lightbringer #3)

cover This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer

Title: The Broken Eye

Series: Lightbringer #3

Author: Brent Weeks

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 972

 

Synopsis:

Gavin loses his power, is kidnapped by pirates, loses his eye and comes back to the Chromeria.

Kip continues his duel with Andross and ends up fleeing the Chromeria with his ex-blackguard group.

Kariss becomes the next White in spite of Andross’s schemes.

The Color Prince uses Black Luxin and we find out that Gavin can use it at will, as the Lightbringer. We also find out what Black Luxin is capable of.

Lots of other things happen to lots of other people as well.

 

My Thoughts:

I no longer give out 5 Stars on an initial read. Those are saved for books that upon a re-read are just as good as the first time.

However, some books are so close that they deserve the 4.5 Stars. And this book deserves that.

I was worried going into this book, as I really enjoyed The Blinding Knife and was afraid my expectations might be a tad high. That is one thing I have found, my expectations can effect my reading quite a bit.

However, this was pretty solid for the first 75%. Good stuff. A great continuation of the story started in the previous two books.

Then things ramped up right until the end and I was left almost breathless. Intrigue, violence, battles, rescues, escapes, chases, corrupted magic users.

Books like this are why I like and continue to like, Fantasy. It makes me glad I bought this in hardcover. And a really good start to 2015. Booyah!

The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer #2)

a02ccc84e0cdac5bacb42ee4617a4b3fThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer.

Synopsis

Kip must survive becoming a Blackguard while Gaven must survive losing his ability to command all 7 colors. All this while the Color Prince is bent on raising up the old gods of Color and destroying the mono-theism of the Chromeria.

My Thoughts

It took me almost 6 months to read this book. Not because it wasn’t good, but because I started this as my “gym” book, and well, my time at the gym has practically disappeared between one thing and another.

Once this series is done, I look forward to re-reading it in one gulp.

Kip is a fantastic character. He is the just the right amount of young hesitation, insecurity and doubt to make him feel real, but at the same time he has moments of genius, courage and heroics so that I can root for him and not feel like he’s a whiny douchebag.

Gaven & Daven. For all the time given to the imprisoned Gaven, and his torturous escape from the prison, I was thinking he was a bit more of a better man than he turned out to be. So when Daven simply killed him, after Gaven’s horrible revelation, it was a very weird feeling. I was glad he was dead, but then it felt like it was a buildup for no reason. And to be honest, Daven posing as Gaven still confused me at times with who did what as who, when, and why and… and I think you get the idea.

Weeks seems to be a very talented storyteller but the one thing that I pick is his use of “real world” profanity. I understand that people are going to curse, swear and generally profane the things that their world holds holy. So why do words like “shit” and “fuck” repeatedly occur? Those things would still be sworn by, but not those specific words. Kind of like in Battlestar Galactica, they use the word “phrack”. I find that to a weakness of Weeks’ [ha, get it?] and I’m  hoping that as he matures, he’ll go the route that Zahn or Sanderson has gone, ie, very light on the profanity and with “in world” words when used.

In the Night Angel Trilogy, I found the violence a bit disturbing, as a lot of it was directed at women and children. Thankfully, not nearly the same amount of time is given to it in this book, but it is still there, reminding us of just how bad this Lightbringer world can be.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Author: Brent Weeks

Lightbringer #2

The Blinding Knife

The Black Prism

blackprism (Custom)The Black Prism

Lightbringer #1

Brent Weeks

Fantasy

4 Stars

609 Pages

 

 

A world in which magic is manifested through colors. Different colors have different effects, and most magic workers can handle 1, maybe 2, colors. Only the Prism, ruler of a bunch of small kingdoms, can use all 7 colors. This was cool because it follows a fat boy who turns out to be the Prism’s bastard from 15 years before the book. There is supposed to be only 1 Prism in a generation, but there were 2 back then, and a war to determine the True Prism. This series is dealing with the after effects of that war. Lots of politic’ing and intrigue and fighting. In some ways it reminded of The Mistborn Trilogy, in which it is posited that the good guy is the badguy, or vice versa or all jumbled up. Very interesting plot points. Thankfully Weeks’ use of foul language is somewhat curbed, making this a more enjoyable read than his Night Angel books.

Fantastic read.

A good bit more complex than the Night Angel books, so while my initial reaction was “huh?”, I realize it allows for a much greater storyline later on.

Also, a fat clutzy kid as one of the main protagonists? That made it real for me. How often is the hero a buff, super handsome, super everything kind of person with Big biceps, big boobs, big brains, etc, etc. All the time. Nice to see a bit of “reality” creep into our fantasy 😀