Let’s start this week off right! Final Series review from November! Sorry, this took a while to formulate in terms of thoughts. Regardless here you go!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks
Synopsis From The Book
The Black Prism – 5/5
The Blinding Knife – 5/5
The Broken Eye – 5/5
The Blood Mirror – 5/5
The Burning White – 4/5 (because of some of the deus ex machina and deaths)
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Honestly, I write this as a series review just so that I don’t drop kick myself out of the series out of dread from writing the reviews after each book. I read the Night Angel Trilogy, what feels like forever ago. I loved it then, save even the ending that seemed a bit rushed. I was afraid for this series, mostly due to the length of the series, and what I would do if I didn’t like it. It seems like everyone likes this series and that scared me.
Regardless, I read books 1-3 for November and books 4&5 in
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
After Book 1: I am so ANGRY. Why did I let myself take time reading these books again? I am a fool. It took me a while to get into book 1, (characters, perspectives, you know typical stuff) but once I was in, I was in. I’m so scared by how much I NEED to read the second one. I don’t have the 4th and 5th books. I wasn’t planning on reading them until January. What have I done.
After Book 2: Oh wow. I’m screaming. I need the third like an addiction I can’t stop and I need it to stop. I don’t have four and five. I can’t get four and five until five is out in paperback. This book expanded on so much while reinforcing what it already had going for it. There were so many great moments and Kip’s sass is what I live for. Book 3 is far longer than two, and in some ways that sedates me. Knowing how fast I read, I’ll read it all too quickly. Devouring books can be great, but it can be tiring all the same.
After Book 3: I don’t have book four. I don’t have book four. What am I doing with my life? What am I going to do? This series is haunting my every waking thought, as I had feared. Why did I wait years to read this? Actually, no it’s probably a good thing that I waited years to read this. Still. I need to know what Kip does next. I need to make sure Gavin is okay. The Blackguard needs to stay aliveeeee. Please send help. I won’t be able to get book 4 until Friday.
After Book 4: At first I was like WHAT. Then I was like WHAT!? Then I kept reading and realized that a lot less felt like it was happening in a lot more time, then everything came to a crashing point where I was wide eyed and confused by how my heart was racing. And then I said WHAT again, and I’m pissed because Kip knows he’s being led astray but he doesn’t know why. And ALL I know is that book 5 is the last book and I have no frickin clue where its all gonna go.
After Book 5: I’d like to kindly ask Brent Weeks “What the ****??” (It rhymes with duck). Holy heck. I knew there was controversy and now I know why. I got all the answers to the things I didn’t think I’d get and none of the answers to the ones I wanted. WHAT IS THE TRUTH OF KIP’S FATHER? Who is the Lightbringer? I actually was at work when I finished then and I was spinning in my chair so much that I looked to reddit and saw this one wonder if this was perhaps the first series in a long standing epic of sorts, with how much was left open. I wouldn’t be surprised. However. I am distraught and filled with happiness all at once. My favorite character died and I am LIVID about it because in some ways he died for naught. Ah how my heart stings. In a series with extremely quotable moments and lines, I decided to pick the one (seen at the end) that essentially ties up this whole series in a way.
Why You Should Read:
One: magic system. Two: Blackguard. Three: Andross. While the other characters are enthralling, and the world, politics, history, are intriguing, those three points are what make this book series. The magic system is vast, detailed, and thoroughly explored. The Blackguard is a great group dynamic and I want everyone to love them like I do. Andross, is a grey character, who was fascinating to read, and I really was entertained by everything he did. Those three points are why you should read this series.
But, if you like epics, and you like entertainment. If you like grey characters, betrayal, and loss, then this series is for you. Its not perfect, but I will reread it and it is going on my recommend list, for sure.
The series follows a multitude of charcters, but particularly four: Gavin Guile, Kip Guile, Kariss Whiteoak/Guile/White, and Teia. There are interconnected chapters with Liv, and some other characters, or looks through cards, but otherwise it is those four as the main leads.
The book opens with Kip stumbling upon an army about to attack his home town. He tries to get there in time and is able to warn one person, before he watches as his town is effectively slaughtered. His mother dies in his arms, giving him a mission to murder her rapist, the man who is his father and he has never met. He escapes with his friend only to almost die again. Gavin saves him with Karris.
Gavin is the Prism, effective Pope like person, and leader of the government of the world. It is his job to balance the colors of the world. (This gets into magic theory which I can get into, but I’ll do that below.) He gets a letter from Kip’s mother that he needs to see his son, a son he didn’t know he has. He goes to find Kip as Karris, the woman he loves, is traveling to the same country to sneak in and become a spy.
They save Kip, but at the expense of the knife that Kip was keeping (the Blinding Knife). Karris stays behind and Gavin takes Kip to the Chromeria, where he is to be taught to be a drafter. Drafters are people who can control color. Kip goes through a series of tests, and proves to be a superchromat (can see all colors and distinctions) and a full spectrum polychrome (can draft all colors).
The first book focuses on Kip learning more of the world. Gavin trying to understand how the world is turning to war again. The rise of the Color Prince. The reveal that Gavin, is actually a man named Dazen. He is the younger brother of Gavin, and the one who fought in the “Prism War” (a war fought between two brothers who had the powers of the prism, which should have only be given to one person by god). Dazen took on his brother’s persona, because his allies were dangerous, and kept Gavin in a prison of color. (From here on Dazen disguised as Gavin is dGavin). The book ends with a war, where Kip’s friend Liv goes to the Color Prince (antagonist)’s side, they save Karris, and the war begins.
Book two follows as Kip becomes a member of the Blackguard, an elite group of drafters dedicated to protecting the Prism, and protecting the world from the prism. Kip learns to play games against Andross Guile, dGavin’s father, better and learns to stand on his own a bit. Meanwhile Gavin is trying to understand more of the world, and the war that is brewing. After being stabbed in the first book, he loses his powers to draft, one color at a time. He kills dGavin in his prison. The book ends with Kip attacking Andross after finding that Andross is a red wight. Andross is stabbed with the Blinding Knife, and is dGavin. dGavin loses all his abilities.
Book three has Kip returning to the Chromeria after escaping his brother who found him (Zymun destroyed his village in book 1). He continues to work on his Blackguard training. He learns to see into cards that tell the history of the world and falls for a girl named Teia. Gavin, is stuck on a pirate boat as a slave and is forced through hell. The book ends with Kip escaping the Chomeria with his friends, The Mighty, Zymun becoming the next Prism elect, and dGavin being put in prison that he had made for Gavin.
Book 4. Kip, now married, struggles through married life and with his group, they begin to fight back in the war against the Color Prince, to some good success. Teia, who staid behind, in part due to her promise to the White (another leader of the Chromeria) and in part due to the eartbreak of Kip marrying, continues her path to kill The Order of assassins that threaten the world. Karris Karris becomes the white. dGavin realizes that Gavin was always just a figment of his imagination, and that he was instead hiding black luxin — a type of luxin he should not be able to draft.
In the last book, Kip continues his fight becoming a good general. Teia finds more information on the order. dGavin escaped (book 4) due to his father’s slave who sends him on a mission and has to kill god. He starts his climb to see god. Karris and Andross try to keep the world together. Kip finally gets back to the Chomeria, for the final battle. A lot happens. Cruxer dies. And the end war begins. As the end war happens, dGavin talks to god. dGavin learns a lot, and Kip leads the forces with mirrors to protect the Chromeria. Zymun drags Kip to the execution grounds (Orholam’s Glare) and with Kip’s dying breath he drafts white, to which dGavin from God’s realm drafts black, and helps. Then he drafts white back. (dGavin is powerful enough for this to work) and then he is whisked away to help Karris take down the Color Prince. They then find Kip. Zymun is killed. Kip is revived. Andross is declared the Lightbringer (although it is subject to say that Andross doesn’t fit the prophecy for the Lightbringer, and that Kip is the Lightbringer but gave his grandfather the name. There are a lot of theories on this.) Andross is the new Prism, world leader, and Lightbringer, and the book ends.
What I Liked:
Unlike normal, I’m going to put the longer sections towards the bottom, just to give this a bit of breathing room.
Gavin/Dazen Guile (Prism who lived); As a character, his arc was interesting to watch. I liked watching him fall from grace, and learn of the truths that he had kept a secret for years. Seeing him struggle with his identity, especially without his drafting, was good storytelling. Dazen’s arc in the final book, with coming to truly care for god, was not a turn I expected but after he had gone, I accept it.
Kip Guile; I did love Kip. I know a common criticism online is about two things, one for how Kip is, and the describer for Kip. Kip is described as fat a lot. And at a certain point, I realized that it was his own insecurity being projected rather than it being used to really describe him. He goes through a whole training sequence for a book, where he gets a lot of muscle and loses weight. He still calls himself fat and no one else really does. His arc in total, as the underdog who becomes a strong commander and the one people believe in, was a great arc. There are a lot of theories about him and I’ll address those below.
Kariss; I did like Kariss, for what I got of her. Her life was rough and tired, for a lot of it. She lost her family, then the love of her life, then her child, later did get married and lost him, and cared for a boy like a son and lost him. I sympathize with her greatly. Her becoming the White was only obvious, and I wish that she could have had a happier life.
The Blackguard; This group’s dynamic in general, from the way they are trained, to their induction, to how they function as a unit of elite warriors is everything. I remember seeing things about how the group was one of the best parts of the book, and I have to agree. Their philosophies — of strength, to protect the Prism, and to protect the world from the Prism — define a lot of key character growth in the books. Also helps that 3 of the main perspectives in the book are heavily influenced by the Blackguard. I love them.
Ironfist; As a character, I’m kind of sad and frustrated with how his arc went. He was a brilliant commander, and did everything he could to save kip. When his sister died, he did go crazy, and I understood that. But I can not forgive the Cruxer and Ironfist battle. It’s that, which bothers me, also how he threatens to kill Kariss, Kip, or Andross, in order to save dGavin. I understand what he was trying to do, and that he was trying to out wit Andross, but it backfired — which I suppose, was the point. He was pretty regulated to the sidelines in the last book, and I would have liked more.
Cruxer; My favorite character of the series. Cruxer was forward, direct, and a great commander. He believed in Kip fully, and everyone believed in him and his power. Cruxer had me entertained at every possible moment. I will miss him.
Ben-Hadad; The genius, who I’m so happy survived. I really hope that he changes the world, much as he has the possibility of doing.
Ferkudi; Ah, our ignorant but powerful friend. He was comedic relief as well as being a good ally, which was much needed with Kip and Cruxer.
Winsen; The other comedic relief character who is deadpan blunt, but amazing with a bow and arrow. I liked him second most out of The Mighty boys.
Big Leo; Honestly, he stood out the least to me, but he was a good foundation and stability in the group. It only makes sense that he was picked as Cruxer’s replacement, but I didn’t care much for him.
The White (Orea); For when she existed, I found her an enigma. She was entertaining, and fun to watch. I liked how she was always trying to stay a step ahead of Andross. Her death was tragic, but expected in a world where everyone dies. I liked her a lot in her life. She as a good counter for Andross when she existed, and taught Kariss as much as she could. I appreciated her.
Quentin; The nerdy character, who made me smile. He was also the person who killed Cruxer’s love. He was a very complex character, who was trying to do right by his own life. He killed two relatively major characters, and was a massive source of information all at once.
Teia; As a main female lead, I liked reading her arc. She has the highest kill count, and she did it all on her own. I respect her integrity, and her skill. She did what she did and did not waver, much, and for that all she gets is respect. Teia had a major arc in general, and a lot of power over the course of the story. She also led to the death of Cruxer, and for that I will always be angry.
Liv; Her arc was different. A girl who went to make her own decisions and then became a god. I didn’t particularly like her as a person, but as a character, I understood her in many ways. She was Kip’s first love interest.
Tisis; As the other lead female, specifically in Kip’s life, I like how her arc was handled. She had a condition that was addressed. She also was a part of the group that was the people smart aspect. She was a character from book one, and in many ways I thought her a different age at first. She nearly ruined Kip’s chances, and then sucked off his grandfather, and then Kip married her. She added a different aspect to the books that I did enjoy, and I liked her particularly well.
The Color Prince; He’s a rather interesting character to me. In a book where the characters are more in political battles or battles against himself, he was the inciting force for a lot of the drama on the outside. As a person, his backstory is tragic. I do understand his initial qualms and beliefs, but he twisted them into a way that they were no longer justifiable. The Color Prince wasn’t wrong, in many ways, but he did it wrong, and that’s what the characters understood.
Grinwoody; Not gonna lie, I read his name as Grindyhook/Grimhook which is like a bad portmanteau for Griphook and Grinwoody, the ENTIRE time I read the book. As a character Grinwody, is a complicated one and an interesting villain. He is Ironfist’s uncle, and Andross’ slave, as a character for most of the book, but also works from the shadows as the king of the Order. His ultimate demise was well deserved for the trauma he wrought.
Politics; So the politics of the book were complicated, from the way that the countries treated each other, and treated their people. I liked the intricacy of how the governments bowed to the Chromeria, as well as what the world looked like before and after the Prism/False Prism war (depends on which side you fought on). At the base of the story, however, it is a war story and a commentary on what happens when revolution is fought, but no one deals with the consequences. I liked that. Especially, with how at the end, the consequences are going to be addressed with Andross.
Government Structures; Along with politics, I liked how all the seven Strapestries had different government structures, and that the Chromeria, which led them all, was a council of representatives, as well as the Prism as their leader.
Religion; The religion of this novel is heavily tied to the magic system, and I think that it was important. We had gods realized, as well as the introduction to entire different worlds connected through the god. While it did get heavy in the theology in later books, I didn’t mind much.
Writing Style; I always liked Brent Week’s writing style. For how complicated the plot is, the writing style is really manageable. I know that there was a lot of criticism of Kip being described as “fat” a lot. I saw this as Kip hyper analyzing himself rather than it as an actual describer by the author. This is important to keep in mind, however.
Andross Guile; He is an interesting grey character who manipulates a lot. He is worried about saving the world, and ultimately he does in his own way. As a character, I did adore watching him and watching how he failed. He’s one of the characters who everyone thinks is the smartest, but might not actually be. And I liked to see that, in a mastermind character.
Magic System; When giving you my list of why you should read this novel, magic was the number one reason and I stand by that. The magic system of this book series is intricate, and realized in ever aspect of their society. There are seven colors, and thus seven political countries. Each draft-able color has a representative, with a hierarchy around it. The magic system focuses on light, and color. You have to be able to see a color in order to draft the color and certain people can draft certain colors. (Drafting = using). People draft colors into useable forms called luxin and certain variations of a color create more stable luxin. The drafting of a color creates a personality wave in a person, and one can only use so much of a color in their life before they “break the halo” and go crazy. This magic system has a lot of work put into it, and a lot of videos and posts about it, so if you are particularly interested in it, I can write more, but just know that this is the best part IMO. And 100% what kept me going in the book.
Lightbringer; This mystery is the overarching one of the series. To be the Lightbringer means to follow a prophecy that was foretold all too long ago. The prophecy has all these parts and no one character in the series really satisfies all the conditions. For the most part, people say it is Kip, because he fits most of the qualifications. However, Andross does as well, and is officially named it in the public eye. However, without Dazen/dGavin’s powers in the end, they would not have been able to save the day. People say it was all three, but I also like the theory that I saw that it is Kip, but this is his origin story. Because the one criteria that Kip doesn’t satisfy easily is “great from a young age” however, if one is to assume that this story is not the story of when the Lightbringer was needed, but the one of the origin of the Lightbringer, then Kip fits the bill. He is fifteen when the story begins, by 16 can use his powers and has killed a god and a king. By eighteen he has helped save the world, died twice, is a fully realized full spectrum polychrome and a war hero. It is safe to say that Kip was great from a young age, because 18 is pretty frickin young. I’m not sure, however, and this is left pretty open ended for the reader. In the end it is up to you to decide.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
Cruxer’s Death; What bothers me is not that he died. It’s the fact that he died in the lead up to the final battle and no one else did in the final battle. No other named character died in the final battle. It also feels that his death’s purpose was only to make sure that Kip did not have a guard so that Zymun could take him to Orholam’s Glare, which is essentially an execution ground where Kip is “killed”. His death was silly and ultimately serves no real purpose, when the person who killed him, was regulated to the sidelines for the entire final fight. It’s like a kink in the well running machine that was easily ignored and for someone so crucial to the group dynamic, I can not accept this.
Ex Machina; I can accept that Dazen/dGavin was able to save the world with his powers, because of the mirrors, and his own powers. I can accept that Dazen/dGavin talked to god, because Kip did earlier. I can not accept that dGavin was hyperflown to the battlefield from the the high mountain, to give Kariss the Blinding Knife so she could end the war. That was some real deus ex machina, if I ever saw any. I would have liked that we had a different answer to it, honestly.
Time Taken To Read
4 days (plus a two day break as I waited to get 4)
“You don’t remember? A true Guile would.” – The Burning White