The Blinding Knife Review
I'm cruising right on through the Lightbringer series reread in preparation for The Burning White. And cruising is an accurate term, as I don't think I've read a book this long this quickly in a while. That just proves how engaging of a read The Blinding Knife truly is.
The story picks up exactly where it left off--Gavin and company leading his refugees to safety after the just-lost battle in Garriston. Gavin is one of my favorite characters of all time; he's cocky and basically invincible, except when he isn't. He could have easily become a Gary Stu, but he does some pretty bad stuff that brings him into "shades of gray" territory (not weird sexual stuff). He turns out to be exceedingly complex and you rush through other chapters to get to him.
You especially rush through Liv's chapters. I won't go into depth, but it seems like must others agree.
Kip is beginning to mature, and his training in the Blackguards is a blast to read. I love a good coming-of-age montage, and seeing this through both Kip and Teia's eyes is quite exciting. More than that, I love Andross Guile--the sort of evil, power-hungry patriarch--and Ironfist--a real life hero struggling with his fate. They have such depth and, though they are side characters, they are often larger-than-life.
Where The Blinding Knife really shines is the political intrigue. Though a ton of characters are introduced (e.g., the Colors), it never feels overwhelming, and you can feel the tension in the room. Gavin and Andross are masterful in this regard. Compared to other books that get bogged down in boring politics (sorry, Wheel of Time), these sections are actually exciting.
There are criticisms, yes. I know that the treatment of women isn't always great (e.g., lingering on feminine features, even when the POV isn't a horny little Kip). There are definitely some deus ex machina moments, where our characters brand new, never discovered powers surface at EXACTLY the right time. But this is all forgivable in light of the awesome story and neat world. Brent Weeks has matured as a writer, and I'm looking forward to my reread of Book 3.