After LOVING the first book in this epic fantasy series, The Black Prism, and thoroughly enjoying book two, The Blinding Knife, I was excited to read the third instalment, The Broken Eye.
We pick up soon after the end of book two, with the head, the White, of the Chromeria, a powerful magic guild that governs the Seven Satrapies, just about hanging on as her right-hand, the Prism, is missing, presumed dead. The Chromeria is reeling from the aftermaths of a battle with the rogue Color Prince, which didn’t quite go to plan as the Color Prince’s army is still rampaging through the satrapies and edging ever close to the islands that house the Chromeria.
The Prism, Gavin Guile, is languishing as a slave on a pirate ship and has lost the ability to draft his colours. The magic system of Chromaturgy is based on drafters (or magicians) being able to use the light spectrum to produce a substance called ‘luxin’ that can be used for all sorts. Not all have this ability, and most can only draft one colour. Gavin must instead use his wits to stay alive, with the pirate captain and then later with others that are intent on doing him harm.
Meanwhile, Gavin’s son Kip learns of his half-brother. And they’re not friends. In fact, Zymun wants nothing more than to see Kip dead. Back at the Chromeria, Kip is learning fast to be a Blackguard as well as dodging all his grandfather’s scheming to try and stay alive – and keep his friends alive too. His grandfather, Andross, who is out for power no matter what or who he tramples (including family), is plotting who’ll be the next Prism. And it can only be Kip or Zymun.
The story is told from multiple points of view and we also hear from Kip’s feisty friend Teia, who has an ability to draft a rare colour. She’s roped into infiltrating a secret order of assassins called The Broken Eye. They want a different way of life to that the Chromeria advocates based on a slightly different reading on the religious texts and prophecies from many years before
Karris, my favourite character from the other two books, is back. But now she’s married to Gavin, she’s no longer a Blackguard. However, the White has other plans and uses for her. I can’t wait to see what happens next for her.
This story had so much going for it. But sadly, I just didn’t love it as much as the first two books. It was waaaaay too long for a start and really dragged in places. We spend a lot of time with Kip in the library with his friends searching for books about the original religious teachings and Lightbringer prophecy. And then a lot of time with Kip on Blackguard training and on drills in the streets. And a lot of time with Kip and his grandfather playing a board game and going over the same ground. Kip is also a bit annoying and rambling. Which I know is his teen character, but it got a bit much.
There’s also a whole war going on with the Color Prince, and we don’t see any of that first-hand. Only hear about it when it’s being discussed. What happened to Liv from book two? I really enjoyed her point of view, but there’s only one or two chapters from her in this book. Karris also became a bit over-emotional and whingey in places which felt a bit out of character.
Otherwise, the worldbuilding, the magic system and the writing is brilliant. And all the machinations and double crossing was excellent – especially when you find out people are on different sides to what you think. It definitely lives up to the ‘epic’ in epic fantasy!
My rating: 3/5
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