Title: The Broken Eye
Author: Brent Weeks
Published: August 2014, Orbit Books
Blurb: 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
Trigger Warnings: Abuse (emotional, physical), absent parent, blood, gore, graphic injuries, fat shaming, bullying, cult, death, murder, death threats, forced marriage, guilt, incest (fantasized), loss of a loved one, manipulation, slavery, torture, violence, gun violence and war
Diversity Rep: Multi-cultural characters, multi-religious
On August 6th, 2016, I wrote the following review, attempting to detail exactly how I felt about The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks. It was the book that got me into book reviewing and literally changed my life. It’s a book that I distinctly remember becoming completely floored and absolutely stunned into stillness in the last five pages–and that was after reading the last 200 like making progress to the next page was as important to my life as breathing.
I just reread it for the first time.
And fuck me, I forgot so much, appreciate this book so much more and honestly believe this is one of the best written books I’ve ever read, up there with Tolkien and Kings of the Wyld. I am floored. I am speechless.
A few things I wish I could say to the characters, if I could:
Gavin, I am so, so sorry.
And Kip, I am so, so fucking proud of you.
Andross, you disgust me. But you also floor me.
Karris, I love you.
Teia, I am so unbelievably awed by you.
Ironfist. Fucking IRONFIST?! I honest-to-God forgot about this and I am just!!
Also, I never knew a single sound–Tsss–could be so haunting to me.
And the ending. That was one of the most masterful things I’ve ever read. I was stunned again, even though I knew what was going to happen. My heart is literally pounding from the pure adrenaline of reading this book.
“We’re at war. We’re going to start acting like it.”
Anyway, if you’re curious what I wrote the first time, I included some snippets below (basically, cut out the beginning and the end, because some things need to stay forgotten), because I already wrote an almost 2,000 word review of The Broken Eye once before, so I prolly shouldn’t be tempted to write another one? ((Oh, but I did add in some new graphic line breaks, because goodness this post is massive. Also, I added some commentary down below in red, because why not?))
But I just have to say: this book is beyond anything I ever could have imagined. And if you don’t think I’m going to fly through The Bloor Mirror so I can finally, FINALLY read The Burning White for the first time, then you don’t know me every well.
Original Review from August 2016
So, here’s how reading The Broken Eye went down. (There’s actually a solid amount before this review, but it’s cringe-y and not worth republishing.) I somehow managed to wait until the next morning to start reading it (seeing as it was closer to morning than evening when I finished The Blinding Knife), yet I quickly discovered reading it was dangerous, because I found it hard to stop. I also found myself to be very invested as to what happened and unable to control my outbursts. Combine those two elements and you get: multiple times where I choose to take a bath instead of a shower so I could read until a pruny-body ensued; times where I had made plans to do other things with my day yet started it with cereal and this book (which, in turn, often resulted in rushing to get ready for my evening job or not realizing it was time to pick up the bro from school); many outbursts, shaking of the head, belly laughs, slamming of the book and biting of the lip (cursing aloud was also included). Then, finally, I’m reading at work (already a bad idea due to aforementioned outbursts) and somehow, force myself to close the book. I’m sitting at roughly 250 pages left. The cliffhanger I stopped at literally hurt my soul. I need to know what happens next.
Two days pass and I don’t read a page.
You’re thinking one of two things right now: a) how on Earth could you consciously let two days pass without reading? or b) I thought this was supposed to be a book review, yet I’m not seeing any reviewing going on, instead just listening to the ramblings of a insane pseudo-adult. Can we move on, please? The former, I’ll address in two sentences. The latter: I know, I’m getting to it. Chill. (<– Where is that snark coming from? Goodness, past me. Also…I kinda miss it?)
So, audience A: yes, you’re right, I forced myself not to read for two days. Why? Because I only had 250 pages left. This had happened to me before, with The Blinding Knife. Roughly 300 pages left in that beast and I was reading every spare moment I could, trying to find out what happens next and always getting drastically cut off by real life intervening, until eventually, it was 3am and I was about to pass out and I only had 25 pages left and forced myself to read them and was so shocked, I couldn’t sleep for another hour while I debated whether or not to start The Broken Eye and not sleep altogether (I slept…a little). I wasn’t going to fall into that trap again. Instead, I was going to wait for a moment, where I could be alone, undisturbed and have a solid chunk of time to dedicate to finishing the book. Because I didn’t want the risk of having to put it down and trying to deal with the emotional trauma of waiting to know what happened next, but not being allowed to read. This, dear reader, was a very good call.
Cue this morning…almost four years ago. Geez.
The house was empty. I had multiple hours before I had to leave for work. I put on Audiomachine as unnecessary background noise. I grabbed a blanket, had my writing companion sleeping at my feet–i.e., my Golden Retriever who was pissed I decided to read instead of taking him for a walk…again–and sat in the rocking chair. I opened up the book, read it and finished it, the last 20 pages or so so intense, I actually froze, mid-rock in the rocking chair, until I reached the end, the entire time thinking “Noshitnoshitnoshitnoshitnoshitnoshit.” (Honestly, I can picture this moment perfectly, even without writing out the details. It’s so ingrained into my brain.) I closed the book and was forced to return to reality. I made cookies to make the transition hurt less,
particularly as that same reality forced me to face the fact that The Blood Mirror hasn’t been published yet. *heavy sigh*
You don’t have to deal with this! If you haven’t read this series yet, you can BINGE it and not suffer as I have suffered! You glorious, lucky soul.
Alright, I’m going to embrace telepathy once more and claim to know what you’re thinking (I’m talking to you, B crowd): “That’s great that you just spent 1,000 words to describe your emotional experience reading a book. Seriously, fan-freaking-tastic. This is a review. You said as much in your title! Why should I want to read this?”
(^^And thus, My Brand™ of reviewing was born.)
What, this hasn’t convinced you yet? Fine. Also, I’d like to point out, I titled it “review…ish,” because I knew what was going to happen. Just wanting to point that out. (Again with the sass! My original title for this review when I posted it was “The Broken Eye: A Review…ish,” for reference.)
Well, let me just summarize why you should read this series (because you obviously aren’t going to start with The Broken Eye, now are you *eyes sassy B crowd*?). Also, disclaimer, I’m not telling you anything about the plot. That’s what reading the books are for, silly. Plus, no risk of spoilers.
You should read the Lightbringer series because your investment levels regarding these characters are going to reach an unhealthy level. They are complex, they are haunted and they are impossible to label. They aren’t good and they aren’t bad. They are a mixture of both. They are flawed and they are brilliant. They are haunted (I guess I really wanted you to know they were haunted…*facepalms*) and they are warriors. They are successes and they are failures. If nothing else sways you, these characters will.
But there is more. The intricate twists and turns and planning that had to have been involved to make the interwoven plots and character arcs work is so intense, so brilliant, so wrenching that it makes me as an aspiring author wallow because I don’t believe I could ever write something so damn good (<–still accurate, but I DO appreciate my own writing more and what I can accomplish as Nicole Evans and I’m pretty proud of my own stories, too. Yay, growth!). Not to mention the way it is written, with the quick pace, beautiful detail and powerful range of voices. Plus the multiple point of views–and tenses–that offers such a 360 view of the story. Not least of all is how there is so much action throughout each book, yet without fail, the last 25-50 pages will leave you breathless and uncharacteristically vulgar (definitely became characteristically vulgar in a few short years. Oops). Add in the politics, the religion, the magic, the romance…And I’m just covering the surface here. I could go on and on and on and on…
But nobody wants that.
I know, B crowd: this wasn’t the review you were looking for. It probably wasn’t particularly helpful, as reviews should be. But anyone who reads this and is an avid reader of fantastic fiction knows the experiences I described all too well. I wasn’t exaggerating or making up how real of an emotional ride this was. Plus, just going through this experience myself, I think I personally needed a chance to discuss it, simply so I can try and understand what I just lived through, being at the mercy of a hardback. (Also, if anyone else out there has read it, please message me on Goodreads or Twitter. I’d really like to discuss in-length a handful of different characters with you. Desperately).
And that’s where I’m going to cut myself off from more rambling. As you can see, my review style has grown and changed quite a bit in the four years since I started book blogging (on top of the 8 (!!) years I’ve been a blogger). Though a lot of this was cringe-worthy to reread, I think my message is quite clear and strong:
I fucking loved The Broken Eye. It’s one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. Period.
Please come crying to me after you read it so we can die together, okay? Kthanksbye.