The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Blood Mirror continues the story of Kip and friends, but I felt like I was missing more of the story than I got, and it ended abruptly without a resolution to any of the story arcs.
I finished the Blood Mirror with the one feeling you never want to end a book with–annoyance. Annoyance because on one hand, the book ended abruptly and on the other hand because it still felt like half a story. While it’s not a bad novel by any stretch, it’s definitely the weakest in The Lightbringer series, and maybe in Weeks’ whole portfolio of books.
The Blood Mirror is a character development book–a drama of sorts. The book spends most of the time inside character’s heads, trying to untangle their motivation and how they adjust to their rapidly changing world. It has a few token action scenes, but that’s it. I won’t say this is a bad thing, but the character growth is inconsistent. Characters seem to evolve in spurts, then take action that doesn’t sync up with their new perspective. Characters rapidly change their world views without really being pushed to.
The main character Kip goes through this kind of change. The story leaves the end of the last book and Kip is a believable teenager trying to figure out what the hell is going on around him. We pick him up in the next book and he’s an amazing general with preternatural insight into geopolitical intricacies. In one scene, he reconciles two groups of people who’ve been at war for years and years in a 30-second speech. He never seemed to screw up–he was just perfect. He came across very Mary Sue.
I did enjoy some of more intimate moments between Kip and Tisis however (at least, those that didn’t revolve around her vagina. Seriously, it’s a repeated topic of conversation that I don’t get the value of). There’s some really interesting romantic and awkward dialog, even if Kip did come off as sitcom-boyfriend clueless at points.
I had a very hard time throughout trying to keep tabs on where I was in the timeline. Scenes would jump days or months without any real indication of time. There was more than one occasion where I would be a quarter of the way through the chapter before I could establish roughly where I was in the timeline. Even at the end the book, I don’t have a good sense of how long it’s been since the events of the beginning of the book.
Finally, I felt like as the reader I was told about all the super-important events instead of experiencing them. This goes hand-in-hand with the timeline piece, where the story would jump forward random stretches of time. There were seemingly really important battles with Kip that we only hear about after the fact. Or what seemed like the pivotal relationship between a drafter, a grizzly, and his brother that’s glossed over. There were lots of little moments like this across all the characters that made feel like I was missing out like there were huge chunks of the book I had jumped over.
In the end, I enjoyed the book and I think it’s worth reading. But in my mind, it’s definitely a weaker book compared to rest of Weeks’ work. I felt like I was missing more of the story than I was getting. The story ended without any real closure on what had been happening (except, again … the discourse on vaginas).