The Burning White by Brent Weeks – Review

Cover- The Burning White

Published: October 22, 2019

Publisher: Orbit Books

Series: Lightbringer #5

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 992 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

Synopsis:

The nail-biting conclusion to the Lightbringer series!

Stripped of both magical and political power, the people he once ruled told he’s dead, and now imprisoned in his own magical dungeon, former Emperor Gavin Guile has no prospect of escape. But the world faces a calamity greater than the Seven Satrapies has ever seen… and only he can save it.

As the armies of the White King defeat the Chromeria and old gods are born anew, the fate of worlds will come down to one question: Who is the Lightbringer?


I don’t even know where to begin with this review and as such, it might be shorter than I would normally give a 5 star read. It was just SO much to take in and so many plot threads wound up perfectly. If you didn’t already know, The Burning White is the last book in the Lightbringer series and has been much anticipated by basically the entire fantasy community. This was a brilliant series and I’m so pleased with the outcome and the quality of this book.

The characters remain some of my favorite in fantasy. Kip Guile went from being a fat, scared little boy to a formidable and cunning warrior, not to mention the fact that he might be the Lightrbringer of prophecy. Gavin has surely had some of the most drastic ups and downs in this series and I loved his character growth. His POV was really brilliant and quite touching this time around and it was interesting to see him face down his past and even Orholom himself. The MAIN characters might have been the Guile men, but the ladies in this series really held their own. Tia, Karris, and Tysis were all powerful, intelligent women who were just as unstoppable as their male counterparts and while they were supportive, they didn’t take a back seat.

At this point, if you’ve read the series you know how amazing all five books are. This was an awesome finale with lots of action, peril, and the inevitable heartbreak. The ending was excellent and it had multiple epilogues that were ENTIRELY NECESSARY. I really don’t want to discuss plot at all – I won’t risk spoiling anything!

Overall, The Burning White was exactly what I hoped for. If you’re on the fence about starting the series for any reason, allow me to give you a list of why you should check it out:

  • UNIQUE MAGIC – BASED ON LIGHT
  • PLOT TWISTS LIKE YOU’VE ONLY DREAMED OF
  • ASSASSINS
  • LOVABLE AND HATEABLE CHARACTERS
  • THE AUDIOBOOK HAS AN AWESOME NARRATOR
  • PIRATES
  • CRAZED VILLAINS
  • LAUGH OUT LOUD MOMENTS

*This list is not complete, merely a reasonable selection of reasons you should check out the Lightbringer series. Also, the covers are way cool.

Currently Reading: 10/28/19

Cover- How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason

So I picked this up to read a few pages and now I’m easily 50 pages in as I type this up! It was instantly likable and such an interesting blend of sci-fi with just a dash of fantasy to liven things up even more. I hope it’s just as good until the end!

 

 

 

Cover- The Burning White

The Burning White by Brent Weeks

I can’t believe the conclusion to this series has arrived at last! I picked up the audiobook, because I’m definitely not going to have time to fit a nearly 1000 page physical book into my reading schedule. So far it’s great and despite the year or more since I read The Blood Mirror, I’ve managed to mostly pick up where the story was when it left off!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Burning White by Brent Weeks

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!


Cover- The Burning White

Don’t know how I missed sharing this sooner – The Burning White has both a cover and a release date, so what’s not to be excited about!? This is the grand finale to the Lightbringer series and at long last I will finally know who the Lightbringer is. I like the cover well enough and the synopsis has led me to believe the world is about to end… honestly, I might need a refresher because I can’t remember why the world might be ending. I’m a little fuzzy on the details, but have until October to do a re-read or more likely, find a thorough summary of the first four books somewhere. Happy reading!

Perfect Shadow by Brent Weeks – Review

Cover- Perfect Shadow

Published: November 7, 2017 (Sp. Ed.)

Publisher: Orbit

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Night Angel #0.5

Pages: 144 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 3.0/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Discover the origins of Durzo Blint in this original novella set in the world of Brent Weeks’ New York Times bestselling Night Angel trilogy.

“I got a bit of prophecy,” the old assassin said. “Not enough to be useful, you know. Just glimpses. My wife dead, things like that to keep me up late at night. I had this vision that I was going to be killed by forty men, all at once. But now that you’re here, I see they’re all you. Durzo Blint.”

Durzo Blint? Gaelan had never even heard the name.

***
Gaelan Starfire is a farmer, happy to be a husband and a father; a careful, quiet, simple man. He’s also an immortal, peerless in the arts of war. Over the centuries, he’s worn many faces to hide his gift, but he is a man ill-fit for obscurity, and all too often he’s become a hero, his very names passing into legend: Acaelus Thorne, Yric the Black, Hrothan Steelbender, Tal Drakkan, Rebus Nimble.

But when Gaelan must take a job hunting down the world’s finest assassins for the beautiful courtesan-and-crimelord Gwinvere Kirena, what he finds may destroy everything he’s ever believed in.


Brent Weeks has come to be one of my favorite fantasy authors, particularly for his Lightbringer series which I binge read last year (or was it this year?). The Night Angel trilogy took a little longer to grow on me – I was unimpressed by Kylar for the most part, but the secondary characters helped things out. The prospect of reading a story focused on Durzo Blint was interesting because of his long history.

Perfect Shadow describes the transition of Gaelan Starfire into the persona of Durzo Blint as we know him in the Night Angel trilogy – master wetboy (how I loathe that term) of the Sa’Kage. It starts off with this stomach churning scene of him climbing up a poop chute in a castle to murder owner/occupant of said castle. Yuck, though vaguely amusing. Then he goes on to assassinate a few more people, hook up with Gwinvere Kirena, and ruminate on his past. All in all, very typical Durzo.

This book wasn’t long enough to really give me feels either way, hence the 3 stars. I will note that this special hardcover edition of Perfect Shadow also includes the I, Night Angel short story that I was not a particular fan of.

Stacking the Shelves: 11/18/17

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


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Check out that Lannister drink coaster!

So, this is seems to be smaller than my usual haul, but it’s also only been a few weeks since my last Stacking the Shelves post so that means I’m doing good, right!?

Received for Review:

Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

I LOVE GLADIATORIAL COMBAT IN MY BOOKS!!! When this was pitched to me I was thrilled and so I signed up for the blog tour. Keep an eye out for my review for this on its release date – 1/16/18. Thanks to Tor Teen for the ARC.

Perfect Shadow by Brent Weeks

What a cute little hardcover! It’s so wee compared to a normal book. This is a novella focusing on how Durzo Blint became Durzo Blint. Also included is the short story I, Night Angel. Thanks to Orbit for the finished copy!

Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins

Norse influenced epic fantasy where five sisters beat down their evil stepbrother. Count me in. Though this is slated to release in the US in March 2018, it looks like it was first released in 2014 (Australia maybe?). Thanks to Del Rey for providing an ARC!

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

AHHHH this book!!! I don’t really do horror, but the paranormal/mythology/science thing presented in the synopsis of this book meant it automatically went into my request list. Killer mermaids. Yes. Many thanks to Orbit/ Hachette Audio for the audio copy.

Deadhouse Landing by Ian C. Esslemont

HOORAY!! I may have had few books in this haul, but they are all very exciting to get, particularly this one. I love the Malazan world, so naturally I requested this and promptly read it. Review will be up tomorrow!! Thanks to Tor/NetGalley for a review copy.

My Purchases:

Cover- Oathbringer

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

My only purchase was at least an excellent one. I picked up the audio copy of this since I’ll be pulling long shifts this week at work in preparation for a long weekend. The hardcover will come into my possession at a later date because have you seen those endpapers??? Excellent so far!

Currently Reading: 11/13/17

Cover- Oathbringer

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

OBVIOUSLY I’m going to be reading Oathbringer this week! I’ve got the audio version pre-ordered, so I’ll be binge-listening to that. Early reviews are all great, and I can’t wait to get back to this world. 😀

 

Cover- Perfect Shadow

Perfect Shadow by Brent Weeks

Orbit is releasing a special edition hardcover of this novella, which I couldn’t pass up. This is a short read, coming in at 144 pages so it most likely won’t be the only book I read this week. Durzo Blint’s origin story has got to be awesome.

Fictional Fight Club: 2/17/17

Fictional Fight Club is a new weekly feature at Powder & Page where I pair up fictional characters with similar abilities/skills and determine who would win in a fight.


fictional-fight-club

Celaena Sardothien vs. Kylar Stern

cover-throne-of-glass

Celaena Sardothien – trained since childhood, top ranked assassin, brief stint in salt mines, cocky, queen, half-fey, wields fire magic, killed a possessed king

 

 

 

cover-the-way-of-shadows

Kylar Stern – trained since childhood by Durzo Blint (who’s really like 900 yr old), wields a sword with a no-slip grip, also bears the black kakari which brings him back from the dead and gives him extra awesome assassin skills, killed the god-king

 

 

 

Predicted Winner – Tie!

Tough call on this one. Both characters come to the table wielding magic, though of very different sorts. Celaena’s fire magic is literally a raging inferno which is a mirror to her personality. Kylar’s black kakari is the ideal magic for an assassin to wield, lending him invisibility, grappling hooks, and it also eats magic. The magic eating property would effectively nullify Celaena’s magic, thus her only true way to damage Kylar is with actual weapons. Assuming Kylar’s kakari is occupied, his only option is weaponry as well. Both have experience eliminating high-profile targets and both are obviously professionals and both can be hot-heads. Hand-to-hand or weapon-to-weapon I think the two assassins are tied when it comes to skill. The only differential would be the respective skill of the masters who taught them and the methods of training used.

This is open for debate in the comments, so have at it! If you have any suggestions or requests for future matchups, leave those in the comments as well!

The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks – Review

cover-the-blood-mirror
Published: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Orbit
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 682 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
Synopsis:
When does an empire fall?
The Seven Satrapies have collapsed into four-and those are falling before the White King’s armies.
Gavin Guile, ex-emperor, ex-Prism, ex-galley slave, formerly the one man who might have averted war, is now lost, broken, and trapped in a prison crafted by his own hands to hold a great magical genius. But Gavin has no magic at all. Worse, in this prison, Gavin may not be alone.
Kip Guile will make a last, desperate attempt to stop the White King’s growing horde. Karris White attempts to knit together an empire falling apart, helped only by her murderous and possibly treasonous father-in-law Andross Guile.
Meanwhile, Teia’s new talents will find a darker use-and the cost might be too much to bear.
Together, they will fight to prevent a tainted empire from becoming something even worse.

As I’m sure you’ve deduced from the sheer number of reviews I’ve done of Brent Week’s books in the last few months, he’s one of my new favorite authors. His Lightbringer series has really captivated my attention and even after finishing The Blood Mirror it hasn’t waned. The Blood Mirror is the fourth and most recent installment in said series and let me tell you, it’s somewhat of a pace change from the previous books.

Whereas in the previous installments Gavin Guile was the major presence, Kip Guile (aka Breaker) is now the real tour de force here. Kip has come a long way from his overweight, bullied self and is become a true Guile- cunning and charismatic, with a thin veneer of goodness. He is now leading The Mighty, his squad mates that left the Blackguard to protect and fight for him, and is organizing offensives against the White King in Blood Forest. His ragtag troupe of warrior drafters are all that stand between the White King and the capture of Blood Forest, which would be a major blow to the already weak Chromeria. Did I mention that on top of all these tactics, he’s also got to handle Tisis now? Yeah, she was quite an interesting addition to the story and I was surprised to find that I ended up liking her. At first I was very skeptical of her seemingly sudden feelings for Kip, but she appears to be genuine and useful.

Though less grand than before, Gavin Guile is still hanging on by the tips of his fingers here. He has fallen far indeed- now a colorblind, one eyed wretch, Gavin is on the receiving end of what he considered to be his genius creation. What goes around comes around, huh? I felt pretty bad for him for the entirety of the book, but it turns out he was being set up for what’s going to be a big role in book 5. Just can’t keep a Guile down.

Karris is a beast. I haven’t given her proper credit in previous reviews because it’s so hard to thoroughly discuss every character of significance, but she is very powerful. The White was grooming her for a greater role by having her go on unusual missions and then become her spymistress and Aurea’s gamble paid off. Karris is the new White and she’s got a plate full of troublesome situations including (but not limited to) Andross Guile, searching for Gavin, managing satraps, attending executions, and sort of overseeing the infiltration of the Broken Eye. Karris has had tremendous growth and has matured well- I can only hope she’ll keep Andross Guile on his toes and on her side. Karris’s mental checklist had me smirking several times- well done.

Teia… oh my goodness. Teia is always in a situation. Her talents coupled with the benefit of having what is essentially an invisibility cloak have made her formidable, though I still worry for her every time she encounters Murder Sharpe. He’s a creep and his dentures make the creep factor even worse. I hope Teia crushes all who oppose her…

The Blood Mirror was great, though it did have a different atmosphere than the previous books. This I think was largely due to the dark turn of Gavin’s chapters and the addition of Tisis into Kip’s life. I like her, but she’s definitely changed things and I’m still trying to figure out if it’s going to be for the better in the end. I can honestly say that the finale for the Lightbringer series is going to be one of my most anticipated books for whatever year it’s supposed to come out.

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks – Review

cover-the-broken-eye

Published: August 26, 2014

Publisher: Orbit

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 757 (Paperback)

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

 

Synopsis:

As the old gods awaken, the Chromeria is in a race to find its lost Prism, the only man who may be able to stop catastrophe, Gavin Guile. But Gavin’s enslaved on a galley, and when he finally escapes, he finds himself in less than friendly hands. Without the ability to draft which has defined him . . .

Meanwhile, the Color Prince’s army continues its inexorable advance, having swallowed two of the seven satrapies, they now invade the Blood Forest. Andross Guile, thinking his son Gavin lost, tasks his two grandsons with stopping the advance. Kip and his psychopathic half-brother Zymun will compete for the ultimate prize: who will become the next Prism.


I was advised by a fellow blogger that upon finishing The Broken Eye I would basically lose it. Though I didn’t flip any tables, throw dishes, or generally rage, I did sit there with my mouth agape for a few moments before thinking that I had it coming. Weeks had set me up yet again and I was so unprepared. The ending wasn’t even the biggest surprise in the book- there were countless other twists and turns, which is one of the biggest reasons I’ve been devouring the Lightbringer series.

Brent Weeks writes his characters vibrantly. As a reader I can connect with their emotions and situations, and I love many of them. Kip, Teia and the rest of their Blackguard squad keep me endlessly entertained and any situation involving them is essential. I could go on for pages about them, but to keep it short and sweet, their success and Kip’s continuing epicness will please me to no end. Gavin and Karris are also have a special spot in my heart as the star-crossed lovers. Other characters are so easy to loathe, but also deserve a certain degree of respect for their… guile. Yes, I did that. Andross Guile is a devious spider, at the center of a complex and powerful web. That clever old geezer is playing a long game, to be sure and I cannot even guess at his true endgame. Zymon (though he appears only briefly) is a chocolate covered turd. He appears winsome and sincere, but he’s rotten inside and without a scrap of humanity.

This particular segment of the Lightbringer tale had me cringing several times- such a visceral reaction can be difficult to pull from me, but not in this case! I get nervous every time Kip starts babbling, so I was internally screaming “NO KIP SHUT UP!” pretty frequently. And poor Gavin, wow. He’s really had a streak of awful luck. There’s so much on the line for so many of the characters that it’s literally one crazy thing after another! The storyline in The Broken Eye may be the best one yet, though I hope that The Blood Mirror will exceed my expectations as well.

The Broken Eye was yet another strong installment in a top notch fantasy series. I loved that Kip has really toughened up and gained a few skills for all his hard work, though he does tend to let his mouth engage before his brain does. Gavin had some terrible set-backs, though it provided valuable insight into his earlier years as Prism and showed that he’s not quite as amazing at everything as he was initially. Character growth was impressive in this one all around. There are deeper mysteries than I would have expected, and Weeks only has two more books in which to wrap up those new threads- CAN HE DO IT? Yes, of course he can… but can he do it well? I’ve already begun The Blood Mirror, so that review won’t be much further behind.

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks – Review

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Published: September 11, 2012

Publisher: Orbit Books

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 671 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

 

Synopsis:

Gavin Guile is dying.

He’d thought he had five years left—now he has less than one. With fifty thousand refugees, a bastard son, and an ex-fiancée who may have learned his darkest secret, Gavin has problems on every side. All magic in the world is running wild and threatens to destroy the Seven Satrapies.

Worst of all, the old gods are being reborn, and their army of color wights is unstoppable. The only salvation may be the brother whose freedom and life Gavin stole sixteen years ago.


After finishing The Black Prism a few months ago, I knew that I was definitely going to be crushing the rest of the series sooner rather than later. Brent Weeks is a master of writing stories that really draw in the reader and that man can do plot twists/epic unveilings like no other. It’s ridiculous and for that fact alone I insist that you go read his Lightbringer series!

The characters continue to astound, which is both good and bad. Kip changed considerably from the young Tyrean boy and he’s grown to become a minor force in the Chromeria. He’s got these moments of incredible insight and wisdom, immediately followed by the most incredibly cringe-worthy “Kip the Lip” moments. There were many new characters in The Blinding Knife, many of which are Blackguard inductees. Tia, a drafter of an unrecognized color called paryl, making her an outcast to many in the Chromeria and valuably to the Blackguard. All this is in addition to her talent for disguise and a sharp mind. I loved Tia and found her to be a complex character that I’m sure will play a significant role in the future. After mentioning characters that I (and most everyone else) liked, it’s only fitting that I discuss one of the characters that is so, so easy to hate. Andross Guile is a vile, scheming spider sitting at the center of an enormous web of information that he can manipulate. I loathed him, but simultaneously found him to be one of the most admirably devious characters I’ve ever read about. He’s beyond intelligent and his game is one of unfathomable complexity- I am usually unable to predict what action he would next take and I loved to hate him.

The Blinding Knife is a lengthy book, but not a page is wasted or dull. In this one book Brent Weeks manages to squeeze in much character development, plots, subplots, and what I fondly refer to as the plot-block. This is when I am so certain the plot is going to turn out a certain way because that’s how it always happens, or in some cases, that seems to be the only way it could play out in this situation… BUT THEN IT DOESN’T HAPPEN.  For me as a reader this is one of the most fantastic surprises ever! This book has everything but the kitchen sink and it makes it tons of fun. As I’m writing this I’m already nearly finished with the third installment, so trust me when I say it keeps getting better.

If it hasn’t been made obvious to you yet, I think every fan of fantasy books should check out Weeks’s books. I thought this particular series wouldn’t appeal to me, but I was happily mistaken. I only wish that it was already completed so I could read until the conclusion and then have a good solid book hangover. As it stands now, I’ll be waiting at least until late 2017 to satisfy my curiosity when the final book will be released.