^^ I was tempted for that to be the title, considering that might have been the sound–or thoughts–my brain made after finishing The Broken Eye, the third book in Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer series. However, I went the “professional” route and titled it something more productive and telling, though the “ish” addition at the end is because I know I’m going to ramble more than write a proper review, like this book deserves.
*takes deep breath*
I need to set up a back story before I can get into the heart of my reaction to this book. The Lightbringer series is currently comprised of three books, with the fourth coming out, I believe, this November (which is my birthday month…*nudges Weeks*). Weeks has another series, The Night Angel trilogy, which I read previously and devoured quite quickly, so I was pretty stoked to start this one, because lemme tell you, I kind of become obsessed with Weeks and his writing.
Sidenote: I keep tagging him on things on Twitter and praising his brilliance, occasionally begging him to take me as an apprentice like Durzo did for Kylar (reference to Night Angel), which I am sure, drives him nuts. But one time, he responded and I fangirled. Literally. I posted the link to the Tweet below and you can clink to see proof.
Anyway, embarrassing myself aside, when I started The Black Prism, the first book of the series, it took me a bit to get into it. The magic of the world, which surrounds light and color and a lot of other aspects I honestly don’t think I’m smart enough to completely understand (still, even after reading three books), was so complex that I actually found myself scared to keep reading, due to my own intelligence level. Yet I did, because of a fat bastard named Kip (yes, that sounds harsh, but that’s what he is and he knows it). I fell in love with Kip and have a whole separate post planned regarding about how Kip might literally change my life. But, back to this post: once I did get into The Black Prism (about 250 pages or so into it), I couldn’t put it down. Then, when I finally got my hands on The Blinding Knife, I read that sucker in a manner of days. Halfway through, I bought The Broken Eye so I wouldn’t have to wait when I finished book two.
That was the smartest decision I could have made, because book two ended in a very similar fashion to book three: shattering my heart and making me want to read the next one, immediately.
So, here’s how reading The Broken Eye went down. I somehow managed to wait until the next morning to start reading it (seeing as it was closer to morning than evening when I finished The Blinding Knife), yet I quickly discovered reading it was dangerous, because I found it hard to stop. I also found myself to be very invested as to what happened and unable to control my outbursts. Combine those two elements and you get: multiple times where I choose to take a bath instead of a shower so I could read until a pruny-body ensued; times where I had made plans to do other things with my day yet started it with cereal and this book (which, in turn, often resulted in rushing to get ready for my evening job or not realizing it was time to pick up the bro from school); many outbursts, shaking of the head, belly laughs, slamming of the book and biting of the lip (cursing aloud was also included). Then, finally, I’m reading at work (already a bad idea due to aforementioned outbursts) and somehow, force myself to close the book. I’m sitting at roughly 250 pages left. The cliffhanger I stopped at literally hurt my soul. I need to know what happens next.
Two days pass and I don’t read a page.
You’re thinking one of two things right now: a) how on Earth could you consciously let two days pass without reading? or b) I thought this was supposed to be a book review, yet I’m not seeing any reviewing going on, instead just listening to the ramblings of a insane pseudo-adult. Can we move on, please? The former, I’ll address in two sentences. The latter: I know, I’m getting to it. Chill.
So, audience A: yes, you’re right, I forced myself not to read for two days. Why? Because I only had 250 pages left. This had happened to me before, with The Blinding Knife. Roughly 300 pages left in that beast and I was reading every spare moment I could, trying to find out what happens next and always getting drastically cut off by real life intervening, until eventually, it was 3am and I was about to pass out and I only had 25 pages left and forced myself to read them and was so shocked, I couldn’t sleep for another hour while I debated whether or not to start The Broken Eye and not sleep altogether (I slept…a little). I wasn’t going to fall into that trap again. Instead, I was going to wait for a moment, where I could be alone, undisturbed and have a solid chunk of time to dedicate to finishing the book. Because I didn’t want the risk of having to put it down and trying to deal with the emotional trauma of waiting to know what happened next, but not being allowed to read.
Cue this morning.
The house was empty. I had multiple hours before I had to leave for work. I put on Audiomachine as unnecessary background noise. I grabbed a blanket, had my writing companion sleeping at my feet–i.e., my Golden Retriever who was pissed I decided to read instead of taking him for a walk…again–and sat in the rocking chair. I opened up the book, read it and finished it, the last 20 pages or so so intense, I actually froze, mid-rock in the rocking chair, until I reached the end, the entire time thinking “Noshitnoshitnoshitnoshitnoshitnoshit.” I closed the book and was forced to return to reality. I made cookies to make the transition hurt less, particularly as that same reality forced me to face the fact that The Blood Mirror hasn’t been published yet.
Alright, I’m going to embrace telepathy once more and claim to know what you’re thinking (I’m talking to you, B crowd): “That’s great that you just spent 1,000 words to describe your emotional experience reading a book. Seriously, fan-freaking-tastic. This is a review. You said as much in your title! Why should I want to read this?”
What, this hasn’t convinced you yet? Fine. Also, I’d like to point out, I titled it “review…ish,” because I knew what was going to happen. Just wanting to point that out.
Well, let me just summarize why you should read this series (because you obviously aren’t going to start with The Broken Eye, now are you *eyes sassy B crowd*?). Also, disclaimer, I’m not telling you anything about the plot. That’s what reading the books are for, silly. Plus, no risk of spoilers.
You should read the Lightbringer series because your investment levels regarding these characters are going to reach an unhealthy level. They are complex, they are haunted and they are impossible to label. They aren’t good and they aren’t bad. They are a mixture of both. They are flawed and they are brilliant. They are haunted and they are warriors. They are successes and they are failures. If nothing else sways you, these characters will.
But there is more. The intricate twists and turns and planning that had to have been involved to make the interwoven plots and character arcs work is so intense, so brilliant, so wrenching that it makes me as an aspiring author wallow because I don’t believe I could ever write something so damn good. Not to mention the way it is written, with the quick pace, beautiful detail and powerful range of voices. Plus the multiple point of views–and tenses–that offers such a 360 view of the story. Not least of all is how there is so much action throughout each book, yet without fail, the last 25-50 pages will leave you breathless and uncharacteristically vulgar. Add in the politics, the religion, the magic, the romance…And I’m just covering the surface here. I could go on and on and on and on…
But nobody wants that.
I know, B crowd: this wasn’t the review you were looking for. It probably wasn’t particularly helpful, as reviews should be. But anyone who reads this and is an avid reader of fantastic fiction knows the experiences I described all too well. I wasn’t exaggerating or making up how real of an emotional ride this was. Plus, just going through this experience myself, I think I personally needed a chance to discuss it, simply so I can try and understand what I just lived through, being at the mercy of a hardback. (Also, if anyone else out there has read it, please message me on Goodreads or Twitter. I’d really like to discuss in-length a handful of different characters with you. Desperately).
So, despite its unhelpfulness, I’m going to post this anyway and leave its claim as a review, despite it being less of a review and more of an…overview of a reading experience and a plea for others to go buy this book and experience the same. (And yes, I’ll
probably definitely tag the author on Twitter in hopes that he might waste an half hour reading this poor attempt at a review, which will result in him shaking his head and wishing that weird girl on Twitter would stop tagging him in things and give up her dreams at becoming his apprentice. Seriously, she’s being borderline creepy. Stop it.)
It is books like The Broken Eye that make me choose reading over practically everything else to spend hours of my life engaged in. It is books like The Broken Eye that give me, as a writer, a very high bar to aspire to with my own stories; one that I doubt I’ll meet, but am very eager to try. Thanks for reading my ramblings. I hope they at least piqued your interest in this series. Or, better yet, you’ve already bought a copy of The Black Prism and soon I’ll be receiving a bunch of messages talking about the latest chiffhanger or heartbreaker or curse-inducing-spasm (of which there will be many). I’m hoping for the latter.