THE BURNING WHITE by Brent Weeks. Review.


Orbit. h/b. £20.

Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.

The gathering is too large. Kip and his Mighty saved these people but tonight he senses something off, and the scent of superviolet where it shouldn’t be. He may be a Prism’s son, a nine-coloured superchromat and the leader of a desirable army, but there always seems to be someone who wants him dead. Despite the temporary truce with his grandfather, Andross the Red, Kip feels something is wrong tonight. And he is not the only one.

Teia finds herself on a desperate mission for the Old Man of the Desert. It is a mission with a terrible outcome, regardless of whether she fails or succeeds. Teia knows her terrible outcome will probably come at the hands of Murder Sharp himself, but which will she choose? Failure or success? It is time to prove at long last that she stands firmly with the Order of the Broken Eye.

Gavin Guile, drafter of black luxin, now much removed from the Prism of his past, has a new mission – to kill a god. Karris White begins to learn the truth about her natural son, Zymun Guile, Prism-to-be. Commander Ironfist faces betrayals that will change him, perhaps irrevocably. Aliviana Danavis has broken the halo, her father must become General Danavis once again, and Andross Guile may finally let his true colours show. Most of them, anyway.

The Blinding White concludes Weeks’ Lightbringer series, delivering everything that a dedicated reader could possibly want to finish off the story with a little help from Orholam along the way. Like the books that came before it, the fifth delivers surprises, heartbreak and losses aplenty, and celebrates even the smallest of triumphs as we watch our heroes live up to their names in more ways than we expected.

The characters and the richly conceived world they populate remain outstandingly strong, each detail, each decision and each action flowing flawlessly to the next with the pace moving at a satisfying gallop where appropriate and slowing to linger on the tender and sentimental moments that so invest the reader in this narrative. To the last Gavin, Kip, Karris and Teia remain much loved protagonists and even Andross and his slithery servant manage to shine through at times.

A full re-read of the series is recommended before embracing this final instalment to ensure that all the nuances and connections are fresh in the mind as the cast prepare to take their final journeys. Here we learn once and for all who the Lightbringer really is and discover the truth about magic and the Chromeria’s part in it. If time is short or you just can’t wait to dive in then there is a helpful re-cap of each book at the beginning of this one and a summary of the major characters along with a glossary at the end.

Ultimately Weeks has delivered an epic tale of good and evil as of the classic fantasies of old and has depicted realistically and at a satisfyingly deep level the swaying from the one to the other that takes place in the name of the greater good. While he may no longer carry the bulk of the narrative, for this reader Gavin Guile retains his place as one of the all-time favourite fantasy fiction protagonists, and we know Lightbringer will remain in the treasured ‘re-read’ section of the bookshelf.