The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Series: Lightbringer (Book #4 of 5)
Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy
Pages: 704 pages (US hardback edition)
Published: 27th October 2016 by Orbit (UK) and 25th October 2016 by Orbit (US)
A prelude novel to the—hopefully—incredible conclusion.
Since the start of this month, I’ve been binge rereading Lightbringer from the beginning non-stop, and I’d say that my reread experience for the previous three books has been rewarding. The Black Prism and The Blinding Knife were even better on reread; The Broken Eye more or less on the same quality. Unfortunately, I have to say that rereading The Blood Mirror gave me an inferior reading experience compared to the first time I read it. There were two glaring main issues that, somehow, weren’t noticeable on my first read: one of them being that The Blood Mirror felt almost like a filler (more on this later) and the other being Kip’s POV that was just utterly full of sexual innuendo and frustrations.
Picture: The Blood Mirror by breath-art (Jian Guo)
The Blood Mirror is the penultimate installment in the Lightbringer series, but it would be better to call this a transitional novel; unlike the previous three books, the main story progression in The Blood Mirror was close to none until the final quarter. Before I get into the parts that didn’t work for me, I’ll get into the one section that worked absolutely well for me: Gavin’s storyline. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration for me to say that you won’t be able to guess what’s coming in Gavin’s POV here, especially if this is your first time reading this book. The revelations changed the shape of the plot and it immediately put Lightbringer as one of the most well-plotted high fantasy series out there. Seriously, I’m on my reread and I can vouch that the hints to the plot twists revealed in this book have existed since the beginning of the series. Gavin’s POV was engaging, mind-blowing, and it made me wish there was more for me to read. I honestly can’t wait to see how his story continues from here; so many monumental events have happened and I have no idea how it all will ends.
“Look at your mistakes long enough to learn from them, then put them behind you.”
Sadly, Gavin’s superb storyline aside, I would have to say that the majority of the book was honestly a struggle for me to get through on this reread. One of the greatest strengths of this series lies within its characters’ chemistry with each other, in The Blood Mirror we have one main character interacts—mostly—only with ONE other main character throughout the whole book. For example, Gavin interacts only with Andross, Teia interacts only with Karris and vice versa, anddd we have Kip’s longevity dialogues and thoughts with libido. In the previous three books, we see every main characters’ relationship changed and develop wonderfully, that characterizations and relationship developments just don’t happen here. The majority of the book was spent on doing mundane things that don’t seem to progress the story whatsoever; Karris’s speeches and dialogues as she takes on her new role were often times several pages long. But the worst part about this book was definitely Kip’s POV, which consists of almost entirely libido frustrations, juvenile sex jokes, and many awful words to replace “penis” and “vagina.” I never want to hear a penis being called a “gentleman’s oak” or “battering ram,” and I never ever want to hear vagina being called a “Jade Gate” or “perfumed garden” again.
I totally understand that Weeks is trying to shed light on a sexual dysfunction called vaginismus, but c’mon… it doesn’t have to take the ENTIRETY of his POV to do it. Not only romance in fantasy rarely worked for me, but Kip’s romance development also goes against what has happened in the previous three books, and his “I want to have sex. I’m fat. Wow, she still likes me even though I’m fat I’m so lucky. I want to have sex with her. Oh no she can’t have sex even though she wanted to. I’m unlucky. But I want to have sex. I understand. Let’s not have sex. Let’s have sex” only serve to seemingly regress the maturity that has gradually happened to him throughout the series. I don’t know how it all will go from here on out; it seems like this libido frustration story arc is finished, and I sincerely hope Kip will go back to being important again in the final book of the series.
As you can probably guess, I’m feeling super conflicted about this penultimate installment. Without a doubt, I would rate Gavin’s story with an easy 5 stars rating; the revelations were mindblowing and the magic system expansion was brilliant. But I think I’ll have to settle with a 1 or 2 stars rating for the other POV. On this reread, I have to conclude that The Blood Mirror is the weakest book of the series for me, but the last quarter and ending of the novel certainly made me super hyped for the final book of the series, which comes out three days from now. With this, my binge reread of the Lightbringer series in the month of OctoBRENT is done, and I look forward to reading The Burning White.
You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)