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I read The Black Prism right after it was released and then I didn't get around to this book until a week or so ago. I remembered details about three characters (Kip, Gavin, and Dazen) and a little about luxin and drafting (the magic system in this series, if you haven't read the first one), and that was it. So I spent like the first 1/3 trying to play catch up. And you know? I still found this pretty enjoyable. I would still strongly suggest starting with book one, though, because there is a lot of background information (some of which I managed to retain).

There are a couple of different main POV characters and some short scenes from other perspectives. I'm a little embarrassed to admit how long it took me to understand the significance of the short scenes -- midway through book three! But they *are* important and they do relate to the overall narrative, so pay attention to them.

Gavin is one of the POV characters and he starts the book with a bunch of refugees for whom he's trying to find a home. He then goes around looking for something in the ocean (don't want to spoil anything, so I won't say what he's looking for). As you might expect, it's difficult to find one thing in a big ocean, and the search part drags (though Gavin's part picks up in interest and intensity after the search is over). He's also dealing with some rather large personal problems/secrets that hamper his various efforts.

Kip is another POV character. Gavin has insisted Kip go through Blackguard training (Blackguards are elite guards for the Prism -- Gavin, in this case -- and other members of the Chromeria, the ruling body of the Seven Satrapies). Kip, as you will recall, is overweight and out of shape and from a backwater area. On one hand, it's a rather traditional and trope-ish fantasy training school storyline, but there are a number of interesting side matters and Kip is easy to root for. He still likes to make wisecracks but he's not quite as funny as in the first book (when I remember laughing out loud several times). Kip's parts were my favorites, though.

Teia, a slave in Blackguard training, is a third POV character. She's partnered with Kip, but she has her own issues. She's constantly fearful for her position because of her slave status (slaves who pass the Blackguard trials are freed and their masters are paid large amounts of money). And she's interesting in that she can draft paryl, which I think is Brent Weeks's word for X-rays.

Liv was a friend of Kip's from the first book and she was taken captive by someone calling himself the Color Prince. He objects to the Chromeria's way of running things and is warring against them. Liv's scenes are the only ones where we see inside the Color Prince's camp.

One thing I will say about this book is that Weeks does a very good job pitting the sides against each other. He makes the characters supporting the Chromeria sympathetic (OK, maybe not Andross Guile, who is Kip's grandfather and Gavin's father). But Karris (another Blackguard), Commander Ironfist of the Blackguard, the White (another leader in the Chromeria), and Kip and his fellow trainees (at least the ones he is friendly with) are all good people.

But the Color Prince has some issues with the way the Chromeria does things (like the fact that slavery is allowed in the Seven Satrapies, and what happens with people who draft luxin "too often"), and he has a good point, as well. We sympathize with him less because we spend less time with him. But I think the confrontation in book four (due out next year) should be quite good.

I'm finally starting to be able to keep the different colors of luxin straight in this book. If I went back, I'd probably start to notice a lot of repetition (superviolet drafters are logical, etc.). But hey, it worked.

Overall, I liked the characters, some aspects of the plot were great even though they incorporated tropes, pacing got better as the book went on, and I am really starting to get immersed in the world of this book -- I went straight on to The Broken Eye (book three). This did end on a double cliffhanger, though, which was a little irritating. Definitely a fun series to pick up, though, and an improvement over Weeks's earlier series (the Night Angel trilogy).
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on February 17, 2016
As a big fan of fantasy novels, I can be pretty picky. This series has everything I love about Fantasy, plus a few bonuses! While the beginning might feel a little slow, about halfway through the pace really picks up, and it's a race to the finish just to see what happens. I think my favorite part about this series is the magic system, which basically acts like an extra set of physics rules for certain people. If you like Brandon Sanderson books, you'll love this series! Also, the diverse cast of characters is WONDERFUL, with plenty of amazing women and other people of color, which is something that a lot of SF/F books are lacking. Fascinating magic, fascinating characters, fascinating political structure, and just a fascinating world altogether. These books are big, but are action-packed, and have a little something for everyone inside!
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on March 5, 2017
In book 2 I am starting to get a grip on the color magic. It's a bit annoying having some dialog interrupted with paragraphs of the speaker's thoughts. I had to go back several times to pick back up the conversation. Eventually the story picked up a lot of speed. Lots of twists and turns. Lots of action. Crazy battles. Fantastic friendships and love stories. Loved the ending of this book. A lot is revealed. It is done in such a way that you are anxiously grabbing for book 3. Kip is growing up quick and the last revelation is an eye opener; even as he is blindfolded.
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on November 17, 2016
I like (or hate!) The characters in this book very much, the world is interesting, and the story is intriguing. What I don't like is the battles. They are always very one sided, and somehow the bad guys go from having dozens, to hundreds to thousands of drafters, with no logic behind it, at least that I saw. And if a color weight is so rare and horrible that the prism himself goes and hunts them (rare?) Than "hundreds, if not thousands" appear sat a moments notice to flock to the banes. I don't get where all these bad guys are coming from, maybe that's explained later, but I don't like the illogical, 'and the enemy is unstoppable, but we stop them' that seems to be going on here.

That aside, it's a great book!
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on September 18, 2012
Generally, I hate waiting a year or more for the next book in a series. Often it isn't worth the wait and I'm disappointed.

Not so with this one. I really don't want to give anything away; you need to read it. But I will say that having a main character that isn't the epitome of manly magic or sword-wielding perfection is refreshing and downright interesting. And I admire the skill of an author that can pull that off without making ..um...Breaker... appear pitiful. I was completely engrossed and didn't put the book down until I reluctantly read the last page.

And I have a few pithy words for Mr. Weeks in regards to those last pages. You're going to make me wait another interminable year for the next book, aren't you? I can't think of any words bad enough to express my feelings.

All I can say is "Quite the Ending". Only a Person Completely Steeped in Evil would leave us all hanging that way, so in spite of the monumental talent of Mr. Weeks, I have no choice but to assume he probably pulls the wings off of flies, considers golf a sport, and kicks puppies in his spare time.

I'm just sayin'....
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on April 13, 2017
Brent Weeks writes terrific stories. This one is quite marvelous. Kip, a young man newly introduced to his father, the serious study of drafting magic and the brotherhood of a fighting organization, is in an epic fight with his father against the Color Prince. At least that is one of the story lines woven brilliantly through this and the other volumes. The magical theory is ingenious, the characters compelling and story twists keep you reading way past bedtime. Enjoy.
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on July 4, 2017
I read this April 9, 2015. Here's my short review from then (it's also on goodreads).

It was paced perfectly from beginning to end. I loved everything about this book. It made me laugh and cry and everything. There were the cliche's but they weren't overly done. I wasn't too fond of the quick ending but because there are two other books after this one, it totally makes sense.
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In my humble opinion, Brent Weeks is the MASTER of epic. He is better than any other author I know at creating larger-than-life heroes, who are charismatic as heck and still tremendously flawed and compelling people. He's also fantastic at coming up with fantasy worlds full of potential and then taking advantage of every little opportunity to exploit that potential.

I was looking forward to this book (a little fanatically, truth be told) ever since reading the first one last summer. I enjoyed every minute of reading it and couldn't stop thinking about it while I was away from it.

So why not five stars?

Much as I enjoyed this outing, I was also increasingly frustrated by it. For all that there's all kinds of *stuff* happening on ever page, not much that's plot-worthy actually *happens.* The characters do big and impressive things - sometimes shockingly awful things - and yet there are never any consequences and sometimes not even reactions from the other characters. I almost feel like, with a few exceptions, this entire book could have been skipped on the way to what (I trust) is the real meat of the plot and action in the next book.

Oh, and Kip. This is as much personal druthers as anything, but I did grow weary of Kip's POV. Aside from the fact that Gavin is always going to be more interesting, Kip's constant self-pity and self-deprecation grows tedious. I won't be at all sorry when he grows a backbone and *realizes* he's grown a backbone.

None of which isn't to say I still don't love Brent Weeks. He remains da bomb.
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on November 16, 2017
I understand that the protagonist is young, but he's so self loathing and pitiful it almost hurts. He doesn't learn from any of his mistakes and continues to be driven only by chance. I keep reading to see if he'd grow a backbone, but I have little faith.
Like the uniqueness of defining magic by the spectrum of light. Keeps me preoccupied on the train ride to work.
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on November 26, 2012
Ever since I've had the pleasure of reading Brent Week's incredible Night Angel Trilogy, I've never found another fantasy series that could even hope to rival its sheer brilliance. That is, until I read the Black Prism. Ever since then, I've adopted the mantra: only Brent Weeks can beat Brent Weeks. Truly I was spoiled by having the Night Angel Trilogy immediately available back-to-back, for the wait for The Blinding Knife was absolute hell, for Weeks had brilliantly, yet almost sadistically left so many questions unanswered. What was the fate of the Seven Satrapies? How would Karris react to uncovering Gavin's secret? And what is the true significance of the Blinder's Knife? While not every question is answered and it does raise a few new ones, the Blinding Knife surpasses all of my hefty expectations while serving as a testament to why I hail Weeks as my favorite author of any genre.

The Night Angel Trilogy, or more specifically The Way of Shadows is my favorite book of all time from any genre. So naturally I'm reluctant to claim the Lightbringer series as being immediately superior, so I'll play it safe and say it's easily on par. With that said, the Night Angel Trilogy wasn't perfect, Weeks's world-building skills were serviceable but definitely showed room for improvement; fortunately the Lightbringer series doesn't falter here. The Night Angel's Midcyru was a fascinating amalgamation that combined influences of eastern and western cultures and feudal systems. It was an interesting premise that solidify the series' unique personality and style. Yet for what it possessed in aesthetic qualities, it lacked in a deeper mythology that could truly captivate the reader. There was nothing necessarily wrong with his world-building; I just feel he could have done more with it, particularly in the rather flimsy magic system revolving around the use of "talent." This issue is one that the Lightbringer series triumphs against. Just like in the Black Prism before it, the Seven Satrapies is brought to life with a staggering amount of detail. It's a truly lived in world, complete with its own intricate magic system that's leaps and bounds over the past one, and a comprehensive system of government. Both of these aspects are just as fascinating to read into as they were before. Weeks also has a true knack for creating an overall setting that feels unique in an oversaturated market. Whereas the aforementioned Night Angel Trilogy relied on an amalgamation of different cultures to differentiate itself from a slew of similar fantasy romps, the Lightbringer series basks in the Mediterranean, complete with historically accurate weaponry to coincide with the book's prevalent mysticism, creating a nice balance between fantasy and realism. Once again, Weeks has crafted a fantasy realm that feels all his own.

Like the color-based art of Chromaturgy, the characters in Weeks's novels are anything but black and white. This may be the most morally grey series I've ever seen in my life, regardless of any medium or genre. This inherent opaque sense of morality extends to both the world's structure and the characters themselves. Take the Chromeria for example, the central nexus of power in the world's hierarchy. Despite their self-righteous demeanor, they approve the use of slave trafficking and possess an inherent zealotry towards anyone who opposes their religious orthodoxy. Meanwhile the figurehead of the Chromeria, Gavin Guile, is not only an imposter, but one who has banished his wicked brother to a fate worse than death. Though inherently good in nature, several of Gavin's actions can be perceived as predominantly selfish or downright sadistic, though he never fails to appear as a hero in front of the masses. He can be seen as either the story's greatest hero, or its most terrible villain; the result is a three-dimensional character that will be remembered as one of the greatest I've ever seen from any genre. Trying to understand Gavin's intentions then having your expectations completely blown away is only part of the fun of reading about such a fascinating character. On the other hand we have the central antagonist, the Color Prince. Though he has a surprisingly minimal presence in the story, his intentions are always felt and continue to cement Weeks's ability to craft characters that transcend the contrived profiling of good and evil. As a revolutionary, the Color Prince merely seeks an end to the Chromeria's cruel use of slavery and their oppression over the world's religious freedom and distribution of power. The Color Prince is an altruistic idealist for certain, yet do his honest intentions justify the atrocities that he inflicts upon his victims throughout the novel? The hidden agendas of these two characters continually escalates the story to a higher level of complexity regarding both character motivation and morality. Yet just like any good piece of thought-provoking fiction, the author merely explains both sides of the conflict and allows the reader to take their own stance or none at all.

Though not every character falls into the morally grey zone that the previous two exhibit; characters like Kip and the welcome newcomer Teia, give the series a nice dose of innocence in what seems like a never-ending sea of cloak-and-dagger intrigue and deception. They're both instantly likable characters that showcase Weeks's ability to illustrate a compelling character-driven romance that doesn't rely on contrivances such as sex appeal that we've seen a thousand times too many. Kip's role is made even more fundamental to the book's appeal since he provides an underdog to root for, as well as being a relatable hero that you honestly want to see succeed against the odds.

Weeks possesses a unique style that I've never seen replicated nearly as well by anyone before and I highly doubt I ever will. At his core, Weeks is an author who knows his target audience and his own literary vision for his novels, thus he doesn't fall into the pit trap of trying to pander to as wide of a demographic as possible. This is a series for adults through and through. There are gratuitous amounts of gore, swearing, brutal violence, and some sexuality. While it never reaches the same level of graphic content that the Night Angel Trilogy possessed, it's still a noticeable step-up from the Black Prism's slightly more mild tone. This is made even more substantial by Weeks's knack for injecting a light dosage of black humor into his narrative. The end result is an expertly crafted amalgam between an adult dark fantasy setting that's complimented by a very welcome sense of fun to break up the tension when it's appropriate.

What else can I say except that Brent Weeks has done it again. The Blinding Knife was simply another shining example of why he's such a gifted writer. His absolutely stunning world-building and plot elements, combined with some of the most multi-faceted characters you will ever find from any genre makes the Blinding Knife a worthy additions to Weeks's repertoire of excellence. The wait for the third installment is going to be hard, yet if Weeks continues this same level of quality then he may very well surpass the Night Angel Trilogy after all, and that is something I do not say lightly.
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