Sunday, October 5, 2014

REVIEW: The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

I'm a huge fan of Brent Weeks' work and this series in particular; they're fresh, fast paced and engaging. It is a huge sadness to me then to have found the third installment of the Lightbringer series somewhat disappointing.

I must preface this by saying that I think a large part of my opinions of books are coloured by the context in which I am reading them and what books I have read immediately preceding. In this case I had just finished reading Robin Hobb's debut trilogy including Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin and Assassin's Quest; truly great fantasy works with incredible depth. The Broken Eye in comparison felt shallow in terms of development, investment and length.

Before I get into that, I do want to talk about what I loved. I love this world and its magical and political systems; this is where Weeks' excels. Previously I have admired the great and diverse cast of characters, especially Gavin and Kip who bring some great humour and wit to the narrative.
The Broken Eye however falls down on so many levels, as can be common for a mid-series novel. Firstly, nothing much actually happens in this book. Weeks' bogs us down with an enormous amount of unnecessary and repetitive introspection from every character, sometimes in the most wildly inappropriate and unrealistic places ('even though I am currently watching my friend die, I'm going to spend a page and a half thinking about myself and my general life goals'). Each characters' journey in this installment can be boiled down to one small action or decision and this is not nearly satisfying enough. Liv for instance manages to walk into a tavern, talk with her father and find a mysterious object - and that's more than some.

The worst crime The Broken Eye committed was forcing me to skim. Skimming, ladies and gentlemen can never be forgiven.

Character viewpoints switch too often for the reader to really be able to sink their teeth into what is happening in each scene. Each chapter is woefully short, especially if like me you have been reading other novels that have a single character viewpoint.

I think the story itself has been horribly muddied at this point and left me confused about where everyone stands, and not in a good way. With the growing yet vague presence of The Broken Eye cult, on top of the war with the Colour Prince, I am left feeling insure about where this story is going. The previous two books had fantastic growth and defined purpose, but this third book just felt like a joiner with some fill.

Some characters became flimsy and not consistent with previous books, especially the twist at the end, which I found hard to stomach.

Ultimately it felt like Weeks' has unnecessarily drawn out this series. There needed to be some hard editing/cutting of waffling inner monologue and then another 50% more story added to make this release satisfying enough.

At the end of the day I'm still a fan of Lightbringer and will be sure to snap up Weeks' next release, but this book is definitely a weak part of the series.


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