Saturday, April 13, 2019

Review: THE BLOOD MIRROR by Brent Weeks

Rating: 5/5 stars

**This review contains SPOILERS for The Blood Mirror and the other Lightbringer books.**

I do think this is the weakest of the four books so far, and it was also my least favorite so far, despite all the awesome things that happened, but it was still an amazing book (you’ll notice I still rated it five stars).

The Blood Mirror started out with a bang from chapter one. Right in the beginning we discover that Marissia is actually the White’s—Orea Pullawr’s—granddaughter, and she was never a slave, only a spy for the White. I was sad when she died because I was actually starting to care for her more than just as a passing side character.

Karris has her new role as the White now. I think she’s perfectly fitted to be the White, and I’m so glad she made it instead of someone else who is of an evil mind.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned the religious undertones of the series before, but it’s one of my favorite aspects. Weeks himself is Christian, and you can see lots of Christian doctrine and philosophies woven into the story, but not in a preachy way. It’s honestly so wonderful. I love when religion influences a fantasy story. The characters defer to Orholam as their deity, but there are many levels of piety in the books. Lots of history and philosophy is religion-based as well. It just adds so much to the story in my opinion.

I also don’t know if I’ve mentioned in any of my reviews yet that these books are hilarious, which is a detail well worth noting because I have laughed, cackled, and giggled on many occasions during this series, and this book was no exception. Especially during the banter between Kip’s “Mighty” crew, which was a downright good time; they’re a great group together.

Cruxer has really become a great character. I like that he is authoritative without being arrogant. None of the rest of the crew stood out to me as much though.

I was surprised to see Kip draft paryl and chi. I always expected Gavin, as the Prism, to be able to draft the outer-spectrum legendary colors, but I guess Kip, as a full polychrome, should be able to draft them as well. Kip keeps evolving, book by book. I honestly can’t think of another character in any series I’ve read who has undergone so much change and development across all the books as Kip does. He has definitely grown up a lot since his immature ways in The Black Prism. 

Tisis grew on me too. In the first book, she was such a forgettable character, but now she has become an important character, and her personality has gotten much more dynamic. I don’t dislike her like I did when she contributed to Kip’s failing the Threshing in book one, and like when she was trying to seduce Andross. She honestly has become a likable character now and I can’t wait to see how she evolves in the final book. I also really admire Weeks for including her issue of vaginismus in the story and raising awareness of this uncommonly known but very real condition.

So we find out Gavin put the dead man in the prison wall as a form of will-casting of himself before he trapped Dazen. Then Gavin was trapped in the prison and was remembering everything from the past, which he apparently forgot. Because he drafted black luxin which made him forget. Because he’s a black monochrome. THAT was shocking information. He stabbed and killed all of Karris’s brothers to get their colors to become a “Prism,” and thus we learn the true meaning of his title of Black Prism. I am curious though about why Gavin didn’t halo. Black absorbs colors so maybe it was absorbing his colors (he did have to keep killing wights to maintain power and the ability to draft colors) and thus allowing him to not halo because the color was going to the Black instead of to his eyes. But also he’s using stolen colors—I thus realized that every Prism drafts with stolen colors because the blinding knife takes and grants colors to them that weren’t originally their own—so maybe using stolen colors is a factor in not haloing, too. I essentially want confirmation on why he doesn’t halo if he’s not the true Prism.

After this revelation, we now learn we’ve had an unreliable narrator for the past three books so we don’t know what information has been true or fabricated since Gavin has made himself forget his horrible memories.

How do we know the dead man is telling the truth though? He broke Dazen down, so maybe he’s just trying to break Gavin down now too. We don’t know he’s real; we only have his word about what happened in Gavin’s (real Dazen’s) past. Plus he says there is no white luxin, which is obviously not true; he’s either lying or Dazen will-cast that belief into him to confuse present-day Gavin. Gavin already drafted white luxin, although that information came from Ironfist, who we now know we can’t fully trust either. I still believe white luxin exists though.

The dead man later cursed at Gavin in another language. It was printed in characters I’ve never seen before. I wonder if that will come into play later, if it will somehow be important in the last book. Gavin realized that the dead man is actually some kind of separate identity than a will-cast version of himself. What exactly are his origins then? I also wonder exactly how much of what he was telling Gavin is true.

Also, if Gavin took the colors from and then killed all the White Oak brothers, how did Koios survive and then come back as Lord Omnichrome, a full-spectrum polychrome? We learn that Koios was a black drafter himself, so maybe when Gavin used black luxin to strip him of his power, he merely became a non-drafter instead of dying. I would like to know this information because all I can do is speculate.

So Zymun is the new Prism-elect now. I really dislike him. I hope something happens to prevent him from becoming the actual Prism. Even if Gavin ends up dying in The Burning White, I do not want Zymun to have any kind of control. And at least Karris realizes now what kind of a person he truly is.

Who decided the Prism’s sentence is a multiple of seven years, by the way? Is that when he actually loses power and dies or is that when the Chromeria kills him by their choice even if he could be a viable drafter for many more years? And what if all drafters have the potential to be full-spectrum polychromes but what you can actually draft is all about your will? This is just a theory of mine, but how much information does the Chromeria hide from the general populace? Probably way more than we realize. It is interesting that even Andross comments that the Chromeria’s regime is “the absolute worst way to rule.”

And then we find out that Kip is Andross’s son? Andross’s??? I thought when he told Gavin that he, real Dazen, was Felia’s last son that he meant that Sevastain was not her son because he’s the youngest brother. But Kip?? What happened to Sevastian? He probably meant Felia’s last living son since Sevastian is dead.

So Andross seduced Katalina for documents. What documents did he want that badly? Is that who she was referencing when she said that “he” raped her, was it Andross? He did also say that Lina seduced the real Gavin to get back at Andross, so is it at all possible that Kip is actually Gavin’s son after all? Oh I hope so. Andross is such a nasty character, but he’s also so well written that he’s still interesting to read about, and he does have a grey side—he’s not all black inside—so that makes his decisions even more questionable.

Andross said that white luxin was extinct. But we know that Gavin drafted some earlier. Ironfist brought that chunk of white luxin to the White. My theory is that the White stowed it away somewhere and wrote down in her papers for Karris where it was, but then those papers were stolen by the Order, so I think the Order will figure out where the white luxin is and acquire it and use it for malicious purposes.

So the Order promised Ironfist they would foil any assassination attempts on the Nuqaba’s life, yet they then commanded Teia to assassinate the Nuqaba. This does not follow. Is it possible they know of Ironfist’s dual allegiance and are punishing him?

I like Teia, despite her being tangled up in the Order. She thinks she’s being asked to kill Ironfist, but it seems obvious that she’s going to have to kill Gavin instead once he completes Grinwoody’s orders. Killing Orholam? Is that even possible? That’s going to be a main plotline in the last book. I think Gavin’s seventh goal is to become a god, only because Grinwoody commented that he would probably be able to accomplish his seventh goal by completing this mission. I wouldn’t think something like that would be Gavin’s goal, but I can’t think of anything else it could be. 

Why is the book called The Blood Mirror? I know there’s the charred mirror that Grinwoody was showing Gavin, but why did that small thing become the title for this work? I was expecting “Mirror” to refer to a person who is a Mirror, like Janus Borig was, but I was wrong. My honest guess is because they needed a B-word to be the title to match with the other books and this is the best they could do. Unless the mirror becomes important in the next book, who knows.

This book was another excellent installment in the Lightbringer series. I am highly looking forward to October when The Burning White will be released and I will (hopefully) get all the answers I’m seeking. I have some predictions for what will happen in the final book:
—Either Gavin or someone else will reveal to the world that he is actually Dazen.
—Kip will travel to and possibly pass through the Everdark Gates and we will figure out their significance and what lies beyond them. They have been elusively brought up too many times for them not to be important.
—Gavin will climb the tower and “kill” Orholam and magic will be disrupted, then Gavin will die, probably by Teia’s hand.
—Gods of the Two Hundred will come to battle.
—We will get confirmation about what Gavin’s seventh goal was.
—Ironfist’s true allegiance will be revealed.

“A drafter was a candle. She was made to bring light and be consumed in the process.”

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