The Blinding Knife. Book Review

THE BLINDING KNIFE by Brent Weeks.

Orbit, h/b £14.99.

Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

Gavin Guile, The Prism. Charismatic, powerful, much loved Gavin thought he had seven years of power left. Seven years to achieve seven great purposes. Seven years to accomplish everything he needed and perhaps even make amends for his past. Seven years to tell the truth to the woman he loves. Seven years to confront those who wronged him, and whom he wronged in turn. Unfortunately time is playing a cruel trick on Gavin and seven years is rapidly becoming fewer.

Kip, the bastard son of Gavin Guile is on his own. His goal: to make it into the Blackguard. The catch: he has to do it without help from his father. Kip is fat, disheartened and not quite talented enough; his goal seems impossible. When the cruel manipulations that seem to come at him from every corner start to affect his peers to disastrous consequence, things are only going to worsen. Kip must find his own strength and somehow win on his own merit.

Meanwhile The Color Prince still seems to be an unstoppable force and now he has Liv Danavis on his side too. His army of color wights grows in size and cunning. Old gods are being reborn. War is just around the corner and the Spectrum is caught up between The Red’s plotting and The Prism’s counter manoeuvring; it is Guile against Guile and only one can come out the winner. Dirty tactics are employed. Gavin has everything to lose and everything to play for.

The Blinding Knife is the second book of what will be a series of four and it is packed full of more of the elements that were so good in The Black Prism. It takes you through excitement, tension, outrage, scandal, joy, relief; every emotion you would want and some you didn’t sign on for too. With this sequel Weeks has truly cemented his place among the great epic fantasy writers of our time.

Gavin Guile himself is one of the most alluring protagonists of epic fantasy in recent years. He has committed some terrible acts and has potential to horrify the reader with his actions, yet he recognises his own follies and somehow manages to come across as a good man and earn the reader’s sympathy despite it all; you cannot help but love him and root for him.

The very world Weeks has created is enticing and is perhaps why this is such a strong story. Colour has a universal attractiveness, and a world where the ability to split light into colours and shape objects from it, is uniquely appealing. Perhaps the real strength here is that the magic system has such vast capabilities but its flaws are clearly defined so as to make it believable and more desirable because of its delicate nature.

The mark of a good fantasy is that it can surprise you, catch you off guard, really make you feel what the characters are feeling, and this one does with a good, solid kick to the gut. Several times. And each time it feels good. The twists, shocks and heart wrenching blows keep coming and by the end you will be begging for more. The next in the series simply cannot come soon enough.