Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Broken Eye: The Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks.

Book Review by: Sharon Powers.

     "The two Blackguards approached the White's door, the younger rhymically cracking the knuckles of his right fist nervously. The Greyling brothers stopped in front of the door, hesitated. Pop, pop, pop. Pop, pop, pop.  

    "The elder brother, Gill looked at his little brother, as if trying to emulate their commander's sledge-gaze. Gavin hated it when Gill did that, but he quit popping his knuckles.

     "'We gain nothing by waiting,' Gill said. 'Put that fist to use.'

     "It was early morning. The White usually didn't emerge from her chambers for at least another two hours. With her declining health, the Blackguard were doing all they could to make the old woman's last months easy.

     "'How come it's always me who--' Gavin asked. At nineteen, Gill was two years older, but they were the same rank, and they'd been elevated to full Blackguard status at the same time.

The three book covers, just above, are the first three books in the
The Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks. A fourth book is in the
works for this series, entitled, "The Blood Mirror."  It appears
that no release date has yet been set, but from past publications,
we can probably expect to see "The Blood Mirror," sometime in 2016.
[Sigh....] [2]
     "'If you make her miss it because you- 're arguing with me' ...Gill let the threat hang. 'Fist,' he said. ...Scowling, Gavin Greyling knocked on the door. After wait- ing the customary five seconds, he opened the door. The brothers stepp- ed inside.

     "The White wasn't in her bed. She and her room slave were praying....Cold wind blew in around the two old women...'High Mistress,' Gill said. 'Your pardon. There's something you must see'...She broke off her prayers, and they helped her into her wheeled chair...[and] pushed her out onto the balcony. 'In the bay,' Gill said....And then, finally, a shape came around the bend of Big Jasper." (Kindle Loc. 21-44 of 13117.)

Balcony Room With a View of the Bay
of Naples
 by Carl Gustav Carus. [3]
     And so we have the opening, the first few paragraphs, of Brent Weeks' new and highly-anticipated book, The Broken Eye. Just like some movies I've seen, the opening of the book moves from a close-up shot of two blackguards walking toward a door, one popping his knuckles, the other serious and also anxious, chiding his brother that no advantage was gained in waiting. They knock and move inside and the cameras of our eyes see the scene widen to take up the room with two women praying. Soon the camera moves out to the balcony with the blackguards and "The White." We see the scene gradually expand to show us the waters of a bay lapping at the edges of a large city and a dark shape coming in towards the city. 

     We go from an intimate magnifying glass view of the guards to a panoramic view of the city and bay. What a wonderful set of visual images Brent Weeks gives us in this opening scene. Wow! And we haven't read any further than a few paragraphs, and we are instantly plunged into the story and looking at the large dark shape coming towards us and the city.  We join the characters in their apprehension and anxiety. I just love the opening images. But before we continue to discuss the book, let's look at a brief synopsis of it.

Here's a famous scene from the movie,
Ben Hur. The slaves are chained to the
oars, just as in Brent Weeks' book,
The Broken Eye. [4]
     The old gods have been seen--they are waking, and wreaking havoc and destruction in their wake. Chromeria, once-dominant, now finds itself in a civil war and unrest and dissention wherever it turns. The Prism is missing--known only to a few, he has been captured and made a prisoner by his old enemy. Now the Prism, Gavin Guile, after losing his powers and his ability to tap into the magic, has been made a slave and is being forced to row in a pirate galley. Gavin's hands blister and bleed constantly. With only gruel to eat, chained to the oars, and abused at the hands of his captor, Gavin's suffering is constant.

One of the returning characters:
Commander of the Prism's Black-
guards is Commander Ironfist:
Fan Art by Jaik O. from Brent
Weeks Forum. Ironfist's brother
is  Tremblefist (also a Blackguard).[5]
     Kip, too, must deal with both seen and hidden enemies. Ever wary of being assassinated, Kip must also, now, play a deadly game with his grandfather. A grandfather, once a "wight," but now with renewed vigor and magic at his finger-tips steps to the fore of the country's political scene. He looks to replace Kip's father, as Prism, with another and take the power for himself. Kip struggles to survive the political intrigue and assassination attempts; he must survive the silent war amongst the noble houses, religious factions, the rebels, and most importantly, the growing secret society of assassins, "The Broken Eye."

     Brent Weeks brings back our favorite characters from the previous two Lightbringer books. We get to see "The White," Karris, Commander Ironfist and his brother Tremblefist, Magister Kadah (a teacher), Grinwoody, Master Sharp (also called "Murder Sharp,") is an assassin for The Broken Eye), Captain Gunner, Eirene Malargos, Marissia (Gavin's room slave), Aliviana (Liv) Danavis, Corvan Danavis, and, of course, the infamous, Zymun. Also coming back, are Kip's friends, Teia, Cruxor, Ferkudi, Goss, and others.

     First, I just have to say...AWESOME! Oh, my, my, my! I loved this book. Brent weeks did NOT disappoint. There, I have that out of my system...Uhm...OK, not really. I admit it's barely under control, here. But on we shall go.

We first saw Kip on the battlefield searching for remnants
of luxin to collect and sell--a scared boy. [6]
     Brent Weeks just gets better and better with every book he writes. Take the character development, for instance. When we first saw Kip, it was in The Black Prism while he was scavenging a field for luxin remnants to sell and make some money. At this point he was just a scared boy. By the time we get to book three, The Broken Eye, Kip has become known as Breaker to his group of blackguard initiates. He has seen battle, developed a relationship with Gavin Guile (his father), navigated the dangerous waters of the relationship with his grandfather (Andross Guile), avoided assassination, studied hard and practiced fighting, faced ostracism from other blackguard initiates, grew stronger, lost weight, had his first kiss, and grew into a young man. We see Kip change so much that he outgrows the name of "Kip."

Teia, Karris and Breaker. [7]
     Teia is, likewise, another wonderful character showing incredible development. She really comes into her own in this book, The Broken Eye. She moves from a fearful and cornered character into a young woman who accepts her own freedom and acts independently in making choices about her future. No longer a slave to fear and others' threats and blackmail, she goes on the offensive and develops her strength, showing she is worthy to become a blackguard. During some of her scenes, I literally held my breath in anticipation of the outcome! Whew!

     A third charter showing amazing development is Karris Whiteoak. While she's always been a strong woman, she really comes into her own in this book. I can tell you no more because it, again, would reveal too much of the plot--just wait until you get to near the end of the book. Karris will blow you out of the water during several scenes that will leave your jaw dropping! Kip, Teia and Karris are just three of the many characters Weeks has developed beautifully in the book.

     The Broken Eye. The most obvious reason for titling of the book would seem to be for the secret society of assassins, The Broken Eye. They assassinate people, steal important articles, blackmail when efficacious, torture, and operate behind the political scene.

One artist's conception of a "broken eye." [8]
     Another use could possibly be what happens when a drafter "breaks the halo" of their eye, resulting in a "Broken Eye." I think the title is less likely to be for this reason because a drafter normally has two eyes, not one, resulting in "broken eyes," plural.

     A third, and I think, a wonderful alternate reason the book could be called, The Broken Eye, is for Gavin Guile. As you recall, he lost his ability to draft when the sword plunged through his chest. It seemed to drain him of all his abilities and he no longer had access to magic and could only see the world as black and white and various shades of grays. Something additional happens to Gavin Guile in this book (which I cannot reveal to you because it gives away too much of the plot). When you read the book, you will understand why I include Gavin in this third reason.

     Finally, there is always the metaphorical meaning of the title. The Broken Eye can mean a person who fails to see things either correctly, or realistically, or perhaps even what is right in front of them--they are effectually blind. They could be blind to the plots all around them, blind to love in their hearts, blind to their misdeeds, or blind spiritually. Figuring out the meaning for the title of any book really adds to the texture and richness of the novel for any reader. And, no, I won't tell you which of the, above, reasons fit the book title--you will figure it out by the end.

     As I mentioned at the top of the post, Brent Weeks' writing gets better with each book he's written. I started reading his Night Angel Trilogy and very much enjoyed that trilogy. I never dreamed as he began this new series, The Lightbringer Series, that his work would just get better and better and better. He well-deserved the  David Gemmell Legend Award for Fantasy for 2013 for his Lightbringer novel, The Blinding Knife

     Of this book, The Broken Eye, I found Week's writing skills to be masterful. I am absolutely in awe of the way he wove all the plots and subplots together; indeed, they are not only technically proficient, they are written in such a way  as to make the reader sit on the edge of her seat, hold her breath while waiting for an outcome, and sigh with relief when the scene is over. Wow! I am simply dumbfounded at how hard he must have worked to give us all such a thrilling and exciting and memorable read. 

     In this book, I fell in love with a few of the more expansive and emotive scenes. One was between the Blackguard's Commander, Ironfist, and his brother Tremblefist--due in large part to Kip (No, you're not getting any more than that out of me). Very touching...

Fan Art concept of Karris
White Oak. [11]
     Two scenes with Karris Whiteoak had my jaw dropping and left me speechless. I had to go back and reread the scene(s) over to see if I really read what I had just read. Flat out freaking amazing!

     While there is more than one BIG reveal in this book, one that I am thinking of happens towards the very end of the book. We learn some things that are so shocking and dramatic that I could hardly believe my eyes when I read it. Think love. Think betrayal. Think hero. Think family. (Yeah. Try to figure that one out!).

     Teia is involved in some revelations, as well. What she accomplishes is absolutely stunning. You are just going to be flat out amazed. In a couple of her scenes, I really did hold my breath to see if she would make it through the experience. I only realized I had been holding my breath when I finally let out a huge exhale. Teia--I never knew you had it in ya. Talk about dangerous and deadly. My, my, my.

     And, there is so much more ("The White," Magister Kadah, Grinwoody, Master "Murder" Sharp, Gunner, Liv Danavis, Cruxor, Goss, and of course, that snake Zymun.). One little heads up: I found tears leaking out of my eyes in a few places in the book. The moments were so poignant. The whole book is just so delicious. So very delicious. 
I am planning on rereading my book again this weekend because I enjoyed it so much. I guess I beat myself to the punch by telling you how very much I enjoyed this book. So, here it is, my recommendation: Run, do not walk to your nearest book purveyor, or better yet, buy it as an e-book and start reading it NOW! This takes in account that you have already read books 1 and 2, however. If you haven't read them, go get them now.

     Given all the reasons I have stated, above, I rate this book 5 stars out of 5. Thank you, Brent Weeks for this most wonderful read (I loved all your characters--even the deliciously evil ones!)!

     Thank you for joining me this week as we finally got to look at the widely-desired book release for Brent Weeks, The Broken Eye: The Lightbringer Series, Book 3. I have been so stoked about being able to finally do this review for you all. Please do yourself a kindness and go get Brent Weeks' trilogy and read it now. I especially recommend his newest book that I review, today. Thank you, my friends, for taking time to read my review of this wonderful new book. God bless you and keep you. 

Until next time...
A double white Rose of Sharon. [14]
...many happy pages of reading.

My very best to you.


[1] "The Broken Eye: Lightbringer Series, Book 3." Retrieved 09-01-14.
[2] "5 Modern Authors You Should Definitely Try (Brent Weeks)" Retrieved 09-03-14.
[3] "Balcony Room With a View of the Bay of Naples." [by Carl Gustav Carus] Retrieved 09-03-14.
[4] "What Kind of Power Should Government Have Over Your Life?" Retrieved 09-04-14.
[5] "Meet Ironfist." [by Jaik O.; Brent Weeks Forum] Retrieved 09-04-14.
[6] "Chris Z #1."  [by Fan Artist Chris Z.] Retrieved 09-04-14.
[7] "The Warriors from the Lightbringer Series by Brandon Sanderson: Teia Karren and Breaker." [Note: two misnomers, here: They should be labeled Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks and Teia, Karris and Breaker.], [art by Thomas Blamire] Retrieved 09-04-14.
[8] "Broken Eye." [graphic of eye] Retrieved 09-04-14.
[9] "Brent Weeks." [photo] Retrieved 09-04-14.
[10] "Brent Weeks Goodreads Author." Retrieved 09-04-14.
[11] "Karris White-Oak." [by lenayga] Retrieved 09-04-14.
[12] "The Broken Eye Banner." Retrieved 09-04-14.
[13] "Passed 5 out of 5 stars." Retrieved 09-04-14.
[14] "Pictures From My Garden." Retrieved 08-11-14.