The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks is the fourth in a planned series of five epic fantasy books. The series has a wonderfully imaginative magic system in which magic users can turn light into a physical substance. luxin. Each spectrum of light (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) produces luxin with different properties and uses. If you’ve not yet started this series, I heartily recommend it. Go start with The Black Prism. I strongly suggest experiencing this series in audiobook format due to the excellence of the narrator, Simon Vance.
Initially, the series was planned to be a trilogy; then four books and recently Weeks announced he would need five books to tie up his series. The Blood Mirror is the penultimate entry and sets up things for the finale.
What I liked
The romance. While it is not a focal point of the series or book, there is a love story in The Blood Mirror and it is beautiful. It focusses on that very first serious/sexual relationship in which a character must learn to love another real life person, warts and all, and not just a fantasy crush. Our protagonist’s learning to accept his partner, emotions, needs, strengths and all was so perfectly written it was a joy to read. This was one of the real highlights of the book for me. Of course it helped that the partner concerned is a pretty awesome, kick ass new character in her own right. I am 100% on board this new ship.
Gavin’s storyline. One of Weeks’ strengths as a writer is an ability to pull the rug out from under his reader’s feet, and Gavin’s story arc in this book is no exception. This particular storyline is intended to leave the reader wondering what is truth, what is madness and what is manipulation and it succeeds perfectly. This was also the storyline where I found myself thinking “ah, crap he’s really going to to go there, isn’t he?” While it’s not confirmed in this book, it definitely looks like he will go there in the final book. Darn.
Strong female characters. The Blood Mirror gives us some amazing, strong female characters. I loved reading about Tisis, Karris and Teia and look forward to reading (or listening) how their characters progress in the final book.
What I didn’t like
Some characters merely treading water. In certain ways some key characters in The Blood Mirror suffer from Daenerys Targaryen syndrome in that their storylines aren’t ready to progress yet until other characters have progressed. This means that they do very little in this book other than pop up to remind us of their existence from time to time.
Kip’s character arc. One of my pet peeves in YA literature is when the protagonist becomes an expert at something just because he or she is the protagonist, it suits the story and without doing the necessary groundwork. For me Kip’s development wasn’t setup satisfactorily enough.
Despite these minor flaws, I gave The Blood Mirror five stars out of five. I am highly anticipating the conclusion of the story, although I confess to some anxiety that it’s going to be a traumatic read, having seen what Weeks has set up.