The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

Rating: 4 stars

Series: Lightbringer #3

 

 

I have mixed feelings about this one. Once I got about 40% in I couldn’t put it down because I was dying to know what happened next. The tone of this was much more somber. All of the characters were grappling with issues. No matter how young or old all of them were going through phases of self discovery. In their own separate ways everyone was trying to figure out who they believed in and who to serve.

Parts of this were depressing. Everyone was broken in their own way. Karris was still grappling with giving up her child. Gavin lost his magic and frankly wasn’t very special without it. Teia hadn’t overcome her past as a slave. Kip was on his own a lot and dealing with fitting in.

Team work wasn’t a big part of this. Most of the characters had to deal with their issues on their own. It was necessary for their growth, but it was lacking something without the strong connections between them.

I fucking hate Andross Guile! Is there any way to beat that guy? He knows almost everything, so there is no escaping him.

Part of me was glad that Gavin went through his loss of magic. He had done bad things, but at the heart of it he is good. He needed to be humbled. He thought too highly of himself and relied on his magic too much. But what happened to him physically and where he ended up was more punishment than he deserved.

Kip WTF!? My admiration for him grew greatly over the course of this book until the last 15%. He had plenty of time to back out of his choice but didn’t. I don’t understand why he went through with it. I hope it will be undone since he didn’t do everything required for the, ah, bargain to be sealed if YKWIM. I do admire one of the choices he made at the end though, but if he was going to do that why go through with the other thing? Sooooo frustrating!

The women were the heroes of this story. Teia, Karris, and Liv all had similar problems. None of them knew where they fit in or who they should be loyal to. In their own ways they were backed into corners which limited their options. In the end they made much better decisions than the men.

Some parts of this were boring. There wasn’t anywhere near as much action as in the other two books. The parts focused on Gavin and Karris were dull. They rehashed a lot of issues from the previous books without gaining a lot from it. Their portions of the book could have been shorter. The parts from Liv’s POV were brief, but I still don’t know what to think about her. She’s not bad enough to hate, but OTOH isn’t likable enough to care for. This was my least favorite so far.

 

Visions by Kelley Armstrong

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Series: Cainsville #2

Overall this was a good book although I did not enjoy it quite as much as the first, which was Omens. The best way to describe this series is cozy mysteries with a touch of paranormal. These are not fast paced, action packed books, and that is fine; I enjoy the pacing. To be honest, I had to force myself to keep reading through some parts in the middle. The overarching storylines weren’t advanced much in this book. A few of Cainesville’s mysteries were exposed, but so many things were still unanswered. Next to nothing happened with Olivia’s parents. There is lots more to explore there too.

The focal point was the characters and their relationships. Gabriel was the character who had the most revealed about him. He’s fascinating, complex, mysterious, devious, and yet somehow incredibly appealing. I think there is still more than meets the eye with him. Many people are warning Olivia that Gabriel will betray her somehow. Knowing him, he might although it’s unlikely he’d do anything to intentionally hurt her. I think some people are afraid of something happening if the two of them are together, so the warnings are probably based on lies.

Unfortunately this story has delved into the realm of paranormal romance with a love triangle to boot. Ugh! Apparently the driving force behind Olivia’s love interests is paranormal forces, and I hate that crap. It is very clear who it is that Olivia loves although she is not aware of it. This became a love triangle when Ricky took a bigger role in the story. He is a bit of an enigma. He’s got this weird good guy/bad boy thing going on. He’s the intelligent gentlemanly college student, but he’s also the motorcycle club leader’s son with an active role. He has such an odd blend of characteristics. Yet through it all, he is rather dull without much personality.

****RELATIONSHIP SPOILERS**** Part of me feels bad for Ricky because unintentionally Olivia is using him. Something is off with their relationship. Both of them act as if they have feelings for each other although they barely know each other. I’d prefer their relationship if they treated it for what it is: sex with no strings attached. ****END OF SPOILERS****

Olivia is a strong character in many ways. She is loyal, determined, and stands up for herself. She is presented as being independent, which is true in some ways. Her one downfall is her emotional dependence. Being alone doesn’t appear to be one of her strong points. That’s okay, but it makes her appear wishy washy. Once one man upsets her, she runs to another whether for friendship or sex. Hopefully some of these issues won’t be dragged out for several books.

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Series: Lightbringer #2

Gavin Guile is losing his powers. This is happening at a particularly bad time in his life. He is trying to prevent the seven satrapies from going to war. The Color Prince continually causes him problems. The old gods are reemerging, and they’re not easy to stop. On top of all of that, he has various family and relationship issues to deal with. Lastly, he is keeping a few big secrets from a lot of people.

This was much better than The Black Prism. The writing was more cohesive. The storyline had a better flow. It was action packed but that wasn’t what sucked me into the story. It was the character development that made me want to keep reading more. The Black Prism only touched the surface about who these characters are and what they are capable of.

Gavin is a complex character. I love some things about him and hate others. He truly has good intentions behind everything he does, but sometimes the way he handles things has devastating effects, not just to himself but others as well. It’s admirable that he does what he thinks is right even when others don’t agree with him. He deserves praise for the good that he does, but he lets it go to his head sometimes. He’s got a bit of a ego.

The Color Prince is despicable yet I can’t hate him. There is logic to his madness that I can’t argue with. I think he could prove his point in a better way. He is a psychopath, so the greater good doesn’t factor into his plans. I understand what he is trying to do, and if he does it the world would be drastically changed. But would it really be better or simply chaotic in a new way?

Kip is hands down my favorite character in the series. He stumbles through life while trying to figure out what he’s doing along the way. He’s special but not all at the same time. He’s still the fat kid with low self esteem, but he is brave and does what is right when he needs to. That fact that he’s humble about his great accomplishments is appealing. Kip is easily the most relatable character. I love it that he doesn’t have any great aspirations. It’s not that he intends to be a failure because he doesn’t, but he doesn’t expect to be the next prism or a satrapy or to be admired by all. All he really wants is to be loved, which seems to be the one thing he doesn’t have.

The moral of this story is don’t trust anyone. This includes family. There was a lot of backstabbing and lies. Barely any of the characters really trustworthy and won’t change their allegiance or stance when the situation changes. The cliffhanger at the end will definitely change things. I can’t wait to get started on the next one!

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Rating: 3 stars

Series: His Fair Assassin #3

His Fair Assassin trilogy was wrapped up with this book. It was by far my least favorite in the trilogy. Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph were absolutely amazing with strong independent female main characters. Annith was all of those things, but she lacked the bold ferocity the main characters of the other two books had. Her personality gave the book a different tone. It had a slower pace and lacked all of the action. There was action just not as much in the others. For some reason Annith did not draw me in. She went on an adventure because she was forced into remaining on the sidelines at the convent, but even as she reached her friends and the duchess, she still remained on the sidelines for the most part. She was present when many of the political decisions were made, but she had little to do with the decision making process. Some of those scenes felt stilted because she was simply observing everyone else.

More was revealed about Mortain, the god of death. He intrigued me in the first two novels although his appearances were extremely brief. The god of death was fair and just without being dark and cruel. It was an interesting perspective on him. Another side of him was shown in this. Sadly it did not make him appear strong or godly for that matter. He was sad and lonely. I like the idea of human emotions being attributed to gods, but he came off as somewhat pathetic especially with his choices at the end.

It was expressed that the pagan gods were changing because people’s current beliefs in them were. I didn’t particularly enjoy this concept. It’s the same as saying that if people stopped believing they would fade from existence or at least all of their powers would be stripped, which in that case they aren’t really gods but figures of the imagination. Shouldn’t a god be a god regardless of people’s faith in them? This is a matter of personal taste more than anything, and this wasn’t a major factor in the story anyway.

The writing was excellent, but it wasn’t enough to save the story. There some minor issues. Annith and Balthazaar’s romance felt way too rushed. It had somewhat of an insta-love feel. There were reasons for that, but they didn’t justify the attraction for me. There was also the mystery of Annith’s birth. All of that was revealed but wasn’t all that hard to figure out. Still this was a good read, and it wrapped up all of the overarching political plotlines nicely.

Walking on Her Grave by Melinda Leigh

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Series: Rogue River Novella #4

I received a copy of this from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was the fourth and final novella in the Rogue River series, and it was a satisfying conclusion. Carly and Seth were the main characters in this one. A fire in town revealed some clues about the recent crimes in the town. One of Carly’s clients who had a connection to the drugs went missing. Carly and Seth had to work on these cases together. This also gave them the opportunity to work on some of their relationship issues, so they were growing closer. Seth is somewhat of an alpha male, but especially in comparison the alphas in other stories, he’s at the weaker end of the spectrum of alphas. He wanted things to be his way and made that known, but he wasn’t highly demanding or controlling.  Carly was kind of hard to relate to in regards to her feelings for Seth. It made sense that she didn’t feel respected, but overall Seth is a good man. It felt like she was over dramatizing their problems. Their problems did need to be addressed, but she reacted too harshly IMO.

The mystery was enjoyable. The drug problems and murders from all four novellas were connected and wrapped up. I hadn’t figured out who was behind all of the drama in Solitude. The person behind it all was a suspect, but I wasn’t positively sure it was them until the end. I was happy that it wasn’t some random character that popped up out of the blue or had one brief interaction with the main characters in one of the other novellas. There were some people that I thought might have been in on it based on things that happened in the other novellas but as it turned out they weren’t.

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

Rating: 4 stars

Series: Lightbringer #1

Normally straight up fantasies are not my thing, but this turned out to be really good. The beginning was slow moving. A considerable amount of time was spent focusing on the world building. The magic was unique and complex, so a lengthy explanation was necessary. After a while it felt like Weeks was beating the dead horse with all of the explanations. Part of the reason the beginning was slow was because all of the characters were being introduced, and it took a little while before attachments were made to them.

Around 45% I was hooked. There was a lot of action. The characters histories were being revealed, and it made them easier to relate to. Particularly with Karris her past made her likable. Before that was known, she was cold without any apparent good reason for it. At first Kip was somewhat annoying because he was such a bumbling idiot. He began to find his inner strength and sense of self preservation, which made him more appealing. A few people were keeping secrets. The impact of those secrets won’t be known for a while.

The premise of this story is based on a huge secret of Gavin’s. It is intriguing, and I’m really curious to see what will happen because of all of his lies. It is hard to believe that more people haven’t figured out his secret. To do what he has done and do it well is extremely difficult and complicated. It’s impossible to pull off flawlessly. I’m willing to let the implausibility of Gavin’s actions go just because it has created a great story.