“The Blood Mirror” is review number 17, not nearly where I had hoped to be this time of year. Once I accepted I would not be reaching my half cannonball goal I decided to fail spectacularly and get a long book off my plate to make a fresh attempt in 2017. The Lightbringer series are hefty books. “The Blood Mirror” clocks in at 704 pages. While only reviewing 17 books I actually read 24 this past year. Clearly writing the reviews is where I’m falling behind. So now the only question is, do I set a goal of a quarter cannonball, which this year I proved I can reach? Or do I challenge myself and aim for the half cannonball again? Considering the whole point in participating was to encourage myself to read more, it seems silly to set a lower goal. Half cannonball for 2017 it is! Without further ado, my review for “The Blood Mirror”.
Several years ago I challenged my husband to find me a new author to read. Off to our local independent bookstore he went, armed with the names of several of my favorite authors. He came back with book one in the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks, “The Black Prism”. The entire time I was reading “The Black Prism” I kept exclaiming about the nifty way magic was used in the world. Once finished, pushed it into my husband’s hands and insisted he read it, he devoured it quickly. We were pleased to find out a second book in the series was already out, with book three shortly to be released. We were happy readers. Then began the long wait for book four and two years passed.
By the time I got my hands on “The Blood Mirror” my memory of the first three was pretty hazy. However, I have long given up re-reading books in the effort to get more new reading done. Fortunately “The Blood Mirror” opened with an excellent recap. While I may not remember all the details the recap got me sufficiently up to speed. Once again I was transported to a world where you can channel magic to split light into individual colors and do amazing things with the resulting “luxin” that is created. Each color of light on the visible spectrum, as well as sub-red below and ultraviolet above, creates a different kind of luxin with different properties. The magic system is called chromaturgy. Quoted from Brent Weeks blog, “When a candle burns, a physical substance (wax) is transformed into light. Chromaturgy in “The Black Prism” is the inverse: A drafter transforms light into a physical substance (luxin). Each different color of luxin has it’s own strength, weight, and even smell: blue luxin is hard, red is gooey, yellow is liquid, etc. But even as drafters change the world, the luxin changes them too, physically, mentally, and emotionally.”
Amongst the population only a small percentage can do this, they are called drafters. The majority of drafters can only cast a a single color and are referred to as a Monochrome. Some drafters are able to draft two colors, usually those colors are adjacent on the spectrum (red and orange, green and blue, etc.), and they are called Bichromes. Occasionally a drafter can draft two non-adjacent colors but that is more rare. The rarest, and most sought after, of all drafters can draft three or more colors and they are called Polychromes. Most special of all is the Prism, who has the ability to cast all the colors, and oversees the Chromeria.
In my review earlier this year for “California Bones” I discussed how much I like discovering new magic systems and Brent Week’s chromatury definitely delivers. But a nifty magic system alone does not a good book make. At the opening of the series all seems well in the Chromeria but readers quickly learn of the lie at the heart of the empire. Lies have a way of spiraling out of control and causing unintended consequences and this lie is no different. Politics, intrigue, family feuds, romance, adventure and potentially world altering magical events sweep you along in the Lightbringer series. Each book has built on the promise of the book before it. All have been excellent and book four, “The Blood Mirror”, is no exception.
My only complaint with “The Blood Mirror” is that while a lot of character development happens for the main players in the series, it doesn’t feel as much overall story advancement occurs. Even though time passed in the book, it felt like the overall situation the characters were in didn’t change much from the first chapter to the last. That said the characters did go on personal journeys and new revelations were revealed, so my complaint is a minor nit pick as I couldn’t put the book down once it was started. Now we are once again patiently waiting for the next book in the Lightbringer series.