Review: The Blinding Knife

This post will include my review of the book The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks. The second book in the Lightbringer Series, released in September 2012.

The text below is taken from the blurb on the back of the book.

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.

It took me about 50 pages or so for me to get myself back into the swing of this series. I read book one a while ago and have read many books since then but once I got my head back into the world of the Chromeria and the Seven Satrapies I really started to enjoy this book.

The magic system created for this world is well done and the way that the different colours of light behave in different ways reminds me (in retrospect) a little of the Allomancy created by Brandon Sanderson in his Mistborn series. The way the different colours (metals) have different properties and therefore create different powers. Also some people called drafters (mistings) are able to draft (burn) just one colour while others are able to draft more than one. These are called polychromes (mistborn) and are the most powerful and therefore sought after. So while there is some similarity in the two magic systems there are plenty of differences as well.

It would be remiss of me to suggest that one was simply a copy of the other I am just using the similarities as a way to communicate the mechanics in a way that readers of the Mistborn series could relate to.

The political intrigue surrounding the events of the book are well done and feel very central to the story. There are none of the bloodthirsty twists and turns you might find in the Song Of Ice and Fire series but there’s plenty of machinations for the reader to sink their teeth into.

The characters, and their relationships, were also quite complex. Gavin continued to show his depth, as did Karris, and I found the Kip chapters among the most interesting of the whole book. His training in the Chromeria and also for the Blackguard was genuinely interesting. I really found myself caring for him and hoping that he’d make it, despite every obstacle that was put in his way.

If I had to find something to complain about, the antagonists, The Color Prince, Zymun, and Liv don’t feel like fully realised individuals. I just don’t know – or care – about them anywhere near as much as I do about Kip, Gavin, and Karris. Also, there were a few chapters here and there relating to characters that are mentioned in cards which appear in the game of Nine Kings. When I came across the first of these chapters I really didn’t know what to make of them, I felt that they kicked me out of the story and I didn’t like it. But once I figured out how they did fit together I found them somewhat interesting.

Nine Kings is a game, which Brent says in the acknowledgments is inspired by Magic: The Gathering, was to me very reminiscent of the Deck of Dragons in the Malazan books. The way that the cards depict real people and that there are true decks that have more power than copies, and can be used to affect things in the world is very similar to the way the Deck works in Steven Erikson’s works. The game mechanics are very different – Steven Erikson doesn’t actually explain his mechanics at all – but the concept was very much the same.

In summary, The Blinding Knife was an enjoyable read by an author who knows how to tell a good story combining elements from other fantasy series that I enjoyed. I am very much looking forward to seeing how this series plays out in future books.


One thought on “Review: The Blinding Knife”

  1. Weeks’ does a good job with showing the character growth and the dynamics of relationships between the characters, as well as exploring their interactions in realistic circumstances, bringing them to life with the aid of the elegantly detailed descriptions. While not as centred around twists and surprises as The Black Prism was, it offers resolutions to some that were seen in the first book. The resolution of one of the main ones from Book 1 was a bit anti-climatic and somewhat of a let down, however it still read in a realistic manner.

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