Lightbringer Series Reread: THE BLOOD MIRROR by Brent Weeks
In anticipation of the release of The Burning White – the fifth and final instalment in Brent Weeks’ incredible Lightbringer series – the team at Orbit have organised a reread of the first four books in series.
The Black Prism, The Blinding Knife and The Broken Eye have already been reread by fantastic fantasy reviewers. This leaves The Blood Mirror, the fourth and final book before The Burning White, which I have reread to feature here on The Fantasy Hive!
As The Blood Mirror is the penultimate book in the series, I am writing this VERY conscious of spoilers – even more so as the Lightbringer series is renowned for its plot twists and reveals. And this being book four in the series, there’s lots I could accidentally let slip.
Going into this, as a reader, I knew it wasn’t ‘the end’. But it is the beginning of the end. It’s Avengers: Infinity War, but whatever happens by the end of The Blood Mirror, there’s no unsnap to make things right.
Because this is ramping up for the grand finale, there’s lots of manoeuvring going on within the story. The pieces are already in play, and The Blood Mirror is all about moving them across the board for the winner-takes-all showdown. No-one moves into checkmate per se, and it’s still anyone’s game, but this being the Lightbringer series you know it’s not going to go how you expect.
Besides the plot (more on that in a moment – politics and punch-ups in store!) this instalment really explores the world-building, and the magic system, and it’s these that turn things on their head. Genuinely, everything I had been led to believe is… well, what am I supposed to believe any more? WHY DO DIS TO ME, WEEKS?
This book is more politics than it is punch-ups, and for a series that is so lauded for its wildly inventive fight scenes, that might disappoint some. But I am a bit of a geek for politicking (read: which isn’t always strictly about politics) because there’s normally a scheme behind it. Something going on behind the scenes. And this being Weeks, there’s always something going on…
And caught up in the middle, as per usual, is Kip. Kip has come a long way since The Black Prism (he’s come over 2000 pages and 9 years since being introduced to readers for the first time) and in The Blood Mirror, Kip feels like he has grown up. It feels like he’s done ‘becoming’ and finally ‘become’ the person he was meant to be. Grownup Kip seems like, in my honest opinion, a mix of personalities from the cast, though that’s not surprising when you consider the part they play in his life, and for story purposes, the plot.
Speaking of coming a long way, had you told me THIS was how Gavin ended up, I wouldn’t have believed you. And that’s a real strength of not only the character but the author too. This is real and raw character progression, from moral zero to… well, let’s not go that far. Just in case things aren’t what they seem. This is a Brent Weeks book after all.
A quick round up on some of the other favourite faces:
- Karris…what can I say about Karris? To sum it up: #thuglife. There’s so much more that I want to say about Karris but even bringing up her ‘role’ in the story, I fear I would spoil things for newbie readers. It’s safe to say, however, that Karris’ arc throughout the series is one of my favourite.
- Well, Liv. That’s not a criticism of the character, I just wanted more not necessarily from her, but for her.
- Teia gets more attention that Liv, but even so she seems to have been ‘benched’ in this book. But when the bell rings for her in the final chapters she comes out swinging! I’m just hoping she gets more ring time in the next book…
- Ironfist – everything is better with more Ironfist, and it’s a shame he didn’t appear much.
All in all, no character is abandoned by the wayside when it comes to development of their own individual stories. Sure, some characters get more page time than others, but that’s just part and parcel of the story.
I will add that there is a lotta sexy-time – or at least attempts at getting it on. Especially the first 10 percent or so, and at the end too. 50 Shades of Lightbringer. I kid, I kid. That being said, when it does happen it’s well-written, and purposeful. Additionally, for anyone questioning the emphasis on sex in the story, I implore you to read the author’s note in the book. Everything will make sense with that context. I promise you. There’s a message about love that we can all take something from.
Each book in the Lightbringer series is BIG. There’s lots going on, and every page is rich and rewarding. But with big books, sometimes the pacing can get a little iffy, as the normal beginning-middle-end story structure over anything more than 400 pages can suffer from, well, scope creep. As I’ve eluded to, this might not be the pacing that every reader was hoping for, but thankfully there’s plenty of reveals to keep you reading, and plenty of questions yet to be answered…
And I for one can’t wait to find out what happens in The Burning White.