So...I've finished Book 4.
What a journey! Karris' decisions as the White and her inner checklist of things to do were awesome to read about. I didn't like Karris both as a character and how she was written in most of the previous three books - too much emphasis on how 'bad-ass' she supposedly was but delivering little, too much emphasis on how perfect in almost every way she's supposed to be, and treating Gavin and Kip pretty poorly. However in this Book she really comes to her own and finally lives up to the reverence the other characters always seem to give her. I loved the scene where she gets tired of Andross' shit, knocks him over and holds him at knife-point. Her looking out at Gavin's boat right as she writes him off for dead was tragic in a good that's-so-sad way, not in a bad omg-why-don't-you-just-find-him way.
Teia getting further and further embroiled in the Broken Eye was gut-wrenching. It was so frustrating when she didn't get to report to Karris for so much of the early part of the book! We can see how she struggles with her orders and her morals as she's ordered to kill innocents and not-so-innocents. Her killing of the Nuqaba is the first time that her character was truly scary to me. Denouncing the Nuqaba to hell, letting her life-blood gush out of her wrists, making sure that the Nuqaba had absolutely no control over her own body all while staring her in the eyes was chilling. Despite all her justifications on doing it, Teia's actions have irrevocably changed her. One thing I liked about Teia's arc was while her relationship with Kip was definitely still hanging around her, aside from her first few chapters she doesn't think too much about it. She left the Mighty at the end of The Broken Eye to do her job, and that's just what she does. It will be very interesting to see how she brings down (or attempts to bring down) the Broken Eye in the final book - she has done a pretty good job of getting them to underestimate her so far.
Kip and the Mighty's storyline was very fun to read. While Kip has still has the self-doubt and self-hate that is part of his character, actions speak louder than words and his actions as both a commander and a warrior in this book are of a true hero. Kip has grown so much since the beginning of the series. At this point, is I doubt he's even overweight at all and it's all in his head. There's no way a anyone can go through a year of Blackguard training, get almost starved to death and then fight a battle for a year and still be fat. We can also really see Kip's Guile-ness when he deals with the Council of Divines. He doesn't just take charge, he throws his power around, he humiliates, he takes total control. I could easily see Gavin or Andross do something similar, so amazing character building there. One thing I also really, really like is Kip realising that his infatuations with various women have been very short-lived. He realises that while his bond with Teia was strong, it was in the end not for a very long time and comparable to his obsessions over Liv and Isa. He wasn't bound to Teia at all.
The relationship between Tisis and Kip was obviously a focal point of the novel. A lot of time was spent on it. This was one of the biggest surprises of the novel to me, I thought that Kip ending up with Teia was a certainty, with Tisis travelling alone to Ruthgar. And honestly, it was worth it. Kip and Tisis' relationship was one the most well-developed and life-like relationships I've ever read. The beginning was so incredibly cringey and awkward from both of them, while at the end they feel so comfortable with each other. I felt like shouting at Kip for being so oblivious when he was working on that rope-spear which was so obviously a symbol of his feelings for Teia, the only rope-spear user he knows. I'm a little bit confused as to how Tisis knew that Teia uses a rope-spear...I actually went back to the previous book and couldn't find any scene where Tisis see's Teia's rope-spear? Anyway, when Tisis' problem is finally fixed and they consummate the marriage a year late it was a very tender moment. Drawing out the problem all the way to the very last chapter of the novel was a little frustrating though, I would have liked to see Kip and Tisis work together for a bit after that final hurdle is cleared. Although maybe that was the point - to see a working and loving relationship between a man and a woman without explicit sex. I'll admit that I was very confused when Kip refers to them 'making love' a few times without mentioning that the problem was fixed. I can't wait to see them work together in the final book. Tisis and Teia's reactions to each other when they inevitably meet is also going to be very interesting.
Gavin's imprisonment answered many questions but I seeded so many new questions too. We finally got some confirmation that the Blinding Knife creates Prisms. However who exactly knows what the Blinding Knife does and how Prisms are made? How did a Black Drafter somehow become a Prism? If Koios is a black drafter how come he isn't a Prism? What exactly are the properties of Black Luxin? This one is so incredibly frustrating to me. While there are many mysteries hinted at in the novel like Immortals, origins of magic and White Luxin, Black Luxin is the one that everyone seems to know about but we as the readers never get to find out. All the knowledgable people conveniently hold back their information even though there isn't too much of a reason for them to do so. Andross literally says he's an expert on the matter and then says 'he doesn't have time for a lecture'? Argh! Really annoying. Away from that, who are the 'dead men'? Did Dazen really imprison Gavin and the dead men are lying, or did Dazen imagine the whole thing? There is something nefarious going on here. Dazen's struggle with his past as well has his relationship with his Father was very well done. Dazen's story is so full of twists and turns I have absolutely no idea what he's going to do in the next book.
So what do we know about Black Luxin? It's connected to memory loss, but how does that memory loss work? Does the act of drafting it instantly remove random memories, or do you have control over if and which memories you lose? It is constantly connected to madness, and it does seem like the two drafters we know about, Dazen and Koios are a little insane. But is that 'madness' just another way of discussing the memory loss? Black Luxin has something to do with stealing powers, but how? Does the victim have to die, and if so how must the victim be killed? How did Dazen become a Prism? What is the difference between 'living' and 'dead' Black Luxin, if there even is one? Why is Koios is using Black Luxin in his slave-necklaces and not any other colour?
The Blinding Knife
What does the Blinding Knife really do? We got confirmation on it making Prisms, but how? It can't be true that only a Prism can survive being stabbed with it, because Andross survived and he seems to have benefitted from it. What does getting stabbed by it actually do? It sapped Gavin of his colour-sight and his drafting, but stabbing Andross actually removed his wight-ness. In fact, did it give Andross the ability to draft super-violet? If so how it determine when to give power and when to take it away? Is it's original purpose to return colour wights back into drafters, by removing the excess Luxin or whatever happens to wights when they break the halo? It does seem like the ceremony of the Freeing should be done by using the Blinding Knife, instead of a normal knife. If the Blinding Knife can only be used by a Prism, how come both Zymun and Kip managed to use it? Does it do different things when used by a drafter compared to being used by a Prism? The Blinding Knife has Black Luxin in it, but also a lot of White Luxin - that has to have something to do with how it works, but how? How does it keep changing shape?
The Dead Men and Dazen's brother
How much of what the Dead Men told Dazen is true? If they lied why are they lying to him? It seems ridiculous that so much time be spent on Gavin's exploits in the first two books only for him to be a figment of Dazen's imagination. I always thought it was unbelievable that Gavin could survive sixteen years in a cell by himself with nothing to do and not go completely insane, but attributed that to the fact that Gavin was a person with incredible mental fortitude. The sheer amount of time spent on Gavin' character in the first two books leads me to believe that the Dead Men are lying. If the Dead Men are lying about that, then what else are they lying about? Are they truly Dazen will-casting his personality on Luxin? That seems unbelievable and nothing like the will-casting we were introduced to in Kip's Arc. Did Dazen really kill the White Oak brothers on purpose to steal their powers? Dazen seems like a good person both now and in childhood, something collaborated by both his mother and father, so it seems unlikely he would do such an evil thing on purpose. What, then, is the purpose of the Dead Men? In the final chapters Grinwoody mentions something terrible living under the Chromeria, which fits the Dead Men. The one in the Black cell does certainly seem strange, since we can't see it, it has a different personality and spoke in a weird-ass language that apparently can't be expressed phonetically. If the Black Dead Man is different, does that mean the rest of them are actually what they say they are? Even if they are what they say they are, couldn't they be lying anyway, since their purpose was to drive the prisoner mad? So many questions!
Woah, a long post and it's been a while since I lurked these forums. I loved this novel!
This book. This freaking book is why I buy Brent Week's books without a second thought. Good stuff to ponder and be excited about.. but I cannot wait to see more about King Ironfist and if Cruxer's omen is going to come true.
Karris is the Iron White. Show some respect! But I agree on all accounts with you.
The way I understood Black Luxin is that it is similar to our friend the Kakari from the Night Angel Trilogy but on a much more sinister scale. If you think of it as a thing that devours it starts to make a lot more sense. It devours light to grant light (or to a drafter, it devours life to grant life), it devours sanity to grant power, it devours will to grant action.
We know Prisms are full spectrum light splitters where their halo's won't break, but we also learned this from Dazen.. and Dazen is anything but a normal prism. As a result I think Prisms are full-spectrum, light splitters with a very high threshold before their halo's break. I think the blinder's knife grants the full-spectrum and possibly light splitting abilities. Maybe the high threshold comes is a side affect from being granted these abilities. But I think it goes a little bit beyond that... I think Prisms are artificial (man-made) light bringers. It is man kind's attempt to emulate the god-like beings known as light bringers. What if.. a Lightbringer isn't a singular individual but refers to the individuals that were expelled from Heaven? And somehow that power is reincarnated or reborn in a fashion that is driven by divinity?
I can go deeper into this.. but it's time for me to leave the office
On Black Luxin, I think that's an interesting concept. However we just don't have enough information about it to draw solid conclusions. Experts on the matter like Andross, Koios and the Dead Men constantly teasing us and giving us so little in the end is beyond frustrating, and probably my least favourite part of the book. Especially since they often didn't have a good enough reasons to hold back.
On Prisms, I feel like there have been a lot more of clues dropped about them in previous books. I also gave some thought to Prisms just being Light Splitters that also happen to be Full-spectrum Polychromes. However the more I thought about it the more unlikely it seemed. Their eyes, for one, uniquely diamond-like. Also even if they had some weird very high threshold for halo breaking, the luxin would still show up somewhere, wouldn't it? Prisms also can feel the imbalances in the magic of the world, an ability neither lightsplitters nor drafters can account for. Lastly I remember explicitly Janus Borig telling Kip that Prisms were one of the 'great gifts' that people can have, with other gifts including Drafting, Seeing, Mirroring and (presumably) Lightsplitting.
For that matter, what do lightsplitters even do? We are given shockingly little information about them too despite one of our main characters being one. Apparently they can go invisible but only with the aid of a cloak? But then in the beginning of The Blood Mirror Murder Sharp could apparently make Marissa invisible with a cloak even though she is presumably not a Lightsplitter? Dunno.
As for the Lightbringer, I have no idea. Maybe the Lightbringer is actually a collection of people? Once again, so very little information. We don't even have the full prophecy that every other character seems to know off by heart.
I'm split on this book. I loved Gavin's and Teia's chapters, but Kip's and Karris's felt lacking. More so Kip's then Karris.
Karris. First thing is I hated the list that Karris made, not from a story perspective, but because they were a little blurry. The one's with lines through them I had to use a magnifying glass to read them, It really took me out of the story. Then there are her duty's as the White, we get plenty scenes of her with Andross and Teia, but what about all the other stuff the White does. Meetings withe the other Colors and, running the Chromeria, just little things that no would not add much to the overall story but make the world and role of a main charter more real. And her plot line with Zymun, there should have been so much more to it. We got what one scene with him in it, then one more of Karris thinking about how off he is, and one more with the Blackguards at the end of the book. Zymun is a charter you hate yes, but has been at focal points throughout the whole series (burning Kip's village, stabbing Gavin, his relationship with LIv, becoming Prism-elicit) hell last book he got a POV spot and now he's a ghost.
On to Gain. I loved Gavin's story in this book. So much gets answered only to leave you with more questions. We don't know whats true and whats is a lie, who are the dead-men, was his brother really down there or is he just mad. The whole escaping "it's a trap" with Andross was a little tedious. I know it mirrored Dazen's escape and that was the point, but that chapter still felt like it dragged to me. Over all Gavin had the best story line in this book, He has not yet accepted Orholam's rule over him, like the prophet said he needs to in The Broken Eye, and he might not. Tt could go ether way at this point and that is what I love.
Now Teia. Teia's story was also very good, and I would say had the most maybe not action,but tension of any other POV. What is up with Murder Sharp, we know that the outer-spectrum colors still bleed into the eye's, Teia has a violet ring to her eye's. But Sharp does not yet he has been drafting far longer then her. Plus he is not effected by color emotions like other Paly drafters.
I did do a lot of eye-rolling at Teia's whole I'm a soldier not an assassin, what did you think the Blackguard did. Karris's first assignment in the series was to assassinate King what's his name. The Blackguard are not some white knight paladin King Arthur type origination, they do what they are told to do by the White. Kill, blackmail, whatever just obey. I don't see Teia staying with the Blackguard at the end of the series, there is too much I'm not a slave thing going on with her, yet time and time again we read how the Blackguard are slaves. Just slaves that can do whatever they want/have to do to fulfill their job.
Last Kip. Kip's Story line was very disappointing in this book. And I think brings down the book as a whole to what I would rate as 3 out-of 5 stars. It starts off strong with the Chi/Parly storm. (I called Kip being able to draft Parly in book two with the whole being able to see the metal through the smoke while fighting the pirates) Then the uniting of enemy drafters the Ghosts and Wolves was "easy" but still good. Then it goes down hill. A six month time jump, we get a little battle where all Kip does is ride a bear, then another six month time jump and another battle this one is suppose to be a big, we might lose Pray we don't fight, and again Kip rides a bear. And that's it. Kip's mighty are close to half way braking the halo from all the fighting they are doing we are told, but in the three fight we get there is not a lot of drafting at all. We get to see another full-spectrum poly in Conn whats his name with the bear, and yet nothing. No cool battle with Kip and him teaming up taking down large groups with just bad ass magic, just riding a bear, yip yip appa. So much space was given over to the banter between the mighty, and "petting the hairless cat", which was funny yeah, but why so much when other things needed to happen too. The relationship with Tisis was good, not too much but enough to get it where it needs to go. and the rope spear was need too. Not only for the Tisis/Teia thing but also to show how different Kip is to Gavin. Gavin always used brute force in his drafting, but Kip has to use Skill. This goes all the way back to book one. Where we learn the four thing you need to draft. Source, Still, Skill, and Will. Gavin is all Will, but Kip is Still (every time he has done his hear-light awesome super mega guru time drafting, time as slow down and everything is Still) and now Skill. This comes to ahead with Kip fixing the Painting at the end of the book.
To end. We know that this book got cut in two. And it fells like to me, that Brent had to fine points in each of the Main charters story that he could end the first book on, that would give some type of conclusion and be a place to pick back up in the next book. Gavin was the easiest to do, end with him getting out of prions one year later. so that's what Brent did, and it set the place where everyone else's story had to end. Teia fit right in because she is also on the boat with Gavin. And Karris had the looking out over the sea at the boat, but Karris didn't have a year's worth of story so I looks like Brent just sprinkled her chapters over Teia's where they should fit chronologically. It work but feels lacking in some areas. But with Kip he is off by himself without the boat scene to tie him to the others. So Brent found the only place he could to leave off Kip's story which was the painting scene but that again feels like it was suppose to happen way sooner in the plot before being cut in two, and had to be stretched and then padded with filler like a bad anime to make up some time to fit timeline of the other charters. Like if you took the original time line, before cutting it in two. Kips story that we got would have happened all of it in that first six months, but because there was not a good place to leave off after the "fixing the painting" scene, Brent had to chose that one.
P.S.- why name the book The Blood Mirror. I did not learn anything about Mirrors in this book? The only one was the burnt one.
Honestly, I agree with you on a lot of the points you make here and could even compound on them. The novel was definitely not perfect. I get the feeling that there is quite a bit missing from the book, but adding it in would have made it too long. It is already the longest novel published by Weeks, I think. In the end stuff had to be cut out to get the plot moving or the series wouldn't be finished next book.
On Karris, I think scenes with the Spectrum (which didn't even make one appearance in the novel) and other members of the Chromeria would have been good, but in the end not wholly necessary for the novel to work. Her story mostly revolves around the war with Koios, her relationship with various Guiles and her growing into the role of the White. IMO her scenes with Teia are more for Teia's character than Karris. However, I do agree that scenes with Zymun are sorely missing. We only get to see their initial meeting.
I also have a feeling that Teia's not going to completely loyal to the Blackguard. Especially if something happens to Karris, and then she finds out about Kip's relationship with Tisis. Kip and Karris are the only two anchors she has left.I don't really see her staying with the Broken Eye either.
Yeah, feel like there are definitely some chapters missing in Kip's story. In fact, the entire novel could have been based around his story. While we don't get to see massively impressive magic from Kip this novel, I think there's a reason for it. The focus of this novel is Kip's development as a leader and general. His prowess with magic was already established in previous books, so that takes a back foot. That being said, I was a little disappointed at how little we get to see him doing the actual planning, logistics and commanding of an army. Almost all of Kip's journey in this novel is internal. We don't really get to see him improving on organising officers, managing supplies and inspiring troops. After each time-skip it was sort of already...done and acknowledged as finished. I was also disappointed with how little pages were used to describe the final battle at the Floating City. It was never even made explicitly clear when the Blood Robe main infantry force started routing. Sure, we got to know when the back-up battalion and the cavalry were out manoeuvred, but Kip's forces were still quite outnumbered by the Blood Robe infantry alone. It was just kind of...implied that they broke when their cavalry was destroyed. I feel like a lot more detail on the movement of the army and the Mighty fighting was required here. Literally all the Mighty did in that battle was mop up the broken forces. Also how the hell did Tallach and Kip not get shot a hundred times in that battle? I can understand them hitting too hard to retaliate against during raids, but in an open battlefield with thousands of musketeers and drafters? You'd think that at least a hundred of the enemy would be taking pot-shots at the giant fucking bear. One thing I totally agree with is that Kip and Tisis' problem and their scene in the honeymoon chamber should have happened sooner.
As for the name of the novel, I'm a bit split. The first book was named 'The Black Prism' and we only just find out about it's significance now. I do think it refers to the burnt one at the end of the novel. It does seem to be important...but yeah, the title's relevance to the story is stretching a bit. It does fit the pattern of 'The B--- ----' set by previous books, though.
You made me remember that conversation (TBE) between Marissia (I still sad) and Teia when Marissia told T she was going to be ordered to kill people. An the doubts of Teia. I think she's now another person, too. Dunno why but had a feeling about Teia change and Liv, saving the distances, of course.
By the way, I ended confused with who's Dazen and the dead men, but really like enjoy, love his arc!
About the whole book i think it has many revelations, twists and great parts (Gav Greyling), only that i feel it out of balance as the luxin in 7Satrapies, the lack of Zymun for example, yeah all we hate him (i hope) but he's the prism elected.
As to how Prisms are made and remade I think it has been laid out already
First we learned in book 1 from Gavin(Dazen) that Prism's (unless they get assassinated) rule/live in multiples of 7 with no one ruling/living more than 21 Years. This was reinforced in this book (Book 4) by Andross when he was telling Gavin(Dazen) why he chose the real Gavin to be Prism over Dazen. That Prisms usually only live 7 years and at that point real Gavin would have probably died.
Second we learn in the last book (Book 3) from Ironfist that Prisms do break the halo - usually at the end of their 7 years terms and that is what the Blackguard is looking for if they have to kill the Prism early. Every 7 Years there is a ceremony and either a Prism is reinstated for another 7 years or a new Prism is selected.
From the card flashbacks, we know that the Hellstone daggers can extract not just luxin but the ability of a drafter to be used in creating items of power like the shimmer cloaks.
From all of these things, it seems to me that every 7 years, the Chromeria (namely the High Luxiates) likely sacrifice up to 7 drafters. One for every color. That is likely the properties of the Black Luxin. Then via the White Luxin, the sword is able to bestow the collected drafting ability to the new/renewed Prism.
I think Ironfist also related how the Prism before Gavin was a drunk for most of his 7 years. Likely because most people may not have an easy time living with the fact that they had to kill 7 people to get their position.
Gavin(Dazen) was of course different because as a natural Black Luxin drafter. He was able to take in the Drafting ability of all the drafters he killed. Since he was constantly out there taking out the wights that popped up. He was constantly renewing his own powers. Sadly as well, this may have been an unintended benefit of the yearly freeing. Gavin(Dazen) always thought he was going to drop dead at 21 years as no other Prism lived longer than that but that was because he was always too scared to ask what the Prism ceremony was really about.
Also the one thing that I DON'T think was really explained during the warm and fuzzy reunion between Gavin(Dazen) and Papa Andross was the third brothers death Sebastian.
After we find that poor Dazen may have been insane this whole time and Gavin(real) was all in his head. I kept fearing that at any moment now Dazen was going to piss off his father and Andross would drop that bomb on him. Was Sebastian the first that Dazen killed? It is stated that in Dazen's youth, he was a Black Monochrome. No other colors.
I seem to recall from his flashbacks from the earlier books that Dazen was a Blue/Green Bi-chrome when he went to the WhiteOak manor for the big throw down. That is why all the windows in the mansion were filtered to Red. Sebastian was supposedly killed by a Blue Wight.
All the dreams Gavin(Dazen) has of that night get really warped right at where he walks into his little brothers room.
Before this book, I thought it was Gavin(Dazen) blocking out the memory of what really happened because he saw his father and Gavin(real) using the Blinding Knife on his brother. . .
If it comes out that it was Dazen all along? I think his brain would just break for good at that point!
Best explanation of Prisms yet!
Though I don't know if gavin was simply a natural light splitter, or if somewhere along the line he killed a lightsplitter and took their power. Andross seems to think he is a natural light splitter. I seems that the White King is not a light splitter yet, so is simply a polychrome now.
Also wanted to ask about Zymun possibly being a black. His powers slowly grew from subred through out the book. Possibly this was the hold that the White King had on him, that he would only give him a new colour or allow him to kill a wight if he completed important tasks. Also possible that he is just insane because he didn't give his memories but rather his empathy, and so has completely forgotten how to understand other people feelings.
Koios almost has to be a lightsplitter. We've seen him draft a few times, and unless he's drafting off the luxin incorporated into his body, it's really unlikely he's had good sources for all of it. The difference might be that Koios broke his halo BEFORE becoming a lightsplitter and gaining other colors, and Dazen hasn't broken his halos (yet). Although secondary question: why isn't black luxin showing up in anoyne's halos? With Dazen reduced to just black, and with how much he seems to have drafted, there should be some external sign, right?
I think Koios is actually working for Gavin (real Dazen). Koios has claimed this in the first 2 books but it was always suggested he was just mad. However, what if Gavin(real Dazen) found Koios with broken halos and taught him how to use black luxin. Then Gavin (real Dazen) used Black Luxin to wipe his own memories of teaching him. It would explain how Koios know how to make Black Luxin.
It would seem Black Drafters can steal other drafters’ colours to become fully spectrum polychromes. Gavin (the real Dazen), was already a light splitter so when he used black luxin to steal other drafters colours he became a full spectrum polychrome lights splitter i.e. a prism. Koios was never a light splitter so though he can use black luxin to become a full spectrum polychrome he can’t use it to become a prism.
I think that Koios knew Gavin(Dazen) was who he was the entire time! The reason he had he people spouting crap like "Dazen Lives!" was just to mess with Gavin(Dazen)'s head lol. He says it during his meeting with his sister Karris, that Dazen took away all the physical joy in his life he would not miss a chance to do the same. Also that he wished he could have been the one to kill Dazen (so he thinks he is really dead this time.)
I agree that Koios is drafting black but I bet it is because he recovered the Black Seed Crystal that Dazen drafted when he created Sundered Rock. We learn that at the end of this book as well that we have been led astray with the belief that there are only one seed crystal at a time so the one we got from Grimwoody & Ironfist is likely a tool from the time of Lucidonius. I think that Koios HAD already broken the halo when he went out to that battle field and rather than just take the crystal, he incorporated it into his body like the other "gods" and became a black drafter that way. Pretty sure he is not a lightsplitter as well though, something with the way his eyes would flood with the color he was drafting.