And if Kip were to respond, he'd probably say, "Stop!" Because we all know what Kip is like, don't we? Gavin would just collapse and talk to himself.
Anyways. The Blood Mirror is one of those stories that just sticks with you. And it's not just because it's engaging (which it is), or full of all your favorite characters from the previous books (Hi Teia! Hi Karris! HI KIP!!!!!) It's because Weeks goes into themes and topics most would consider taboo, or too hard to address. Or, if other authors DO tackle these things, they don't do it head-on like Weeks does.
Before I go into all the amazing aspects of it, let me address the ONE thing I was disappointed about. The ending. And before you let that determine whether you read the book or not, CEASE AND DESIST. I feel like this story just... stopped. There was a ton of action, blood, intrigue, romance, etc. and then it tapers off into a character-driven ending. Not that this will bother every reader (it won't), but it bothered me. Call it preference, call it style, call it Janelle-being-picky... but the plot fell off a cliff, and I was like, "That's it?"
But okay, enough of that. The Blood Mirror solidified Brent Weeks as my top favorite fantasy author *slightly* behind Robert Jordan. I'm salivating over the release of the last book in the series (and crying a little, too, but all good things must come to an end).
First, Kip's character arc is once again flawless. From the first book until now, he has changed and grown without losing his place in the world. He's become stronger without losing his charm. He's half-embraced who he is, while the other half still clings to his old sense of self. Don't we all do that? We change, and grow, and yet isn't there a part of us that just NEVER changes? Weeks hits the target dead center in his portrayal of all of humanity: constantly changing, yet staying the same at the core of who we are.
Every character in this story undergoes change. Whether it's good change (Kip), negative change (Liv) sad change (Teia), or no change at all (hello Andross), the book takes you into a closer look at the part each of us play in the story of our lives. What will we do with it? How will we respond? Will we rise to the occasion, be swept away by the circumstances outside our control, or take the path of least resistance?
Interspersed into this deep inspection of humanity, you have a fast-paced plot, humorous, engaging writing, and some eye-rolling moments, too. But that's not all.
Weeks injects something surprising. He addresses it at the end of the book as well, in a personal note on the subject. One of the characters suffers from vaginismus, a condition where a woman can't have intercourse. Not only is this something I've never seen addressed in fiction, but it's also something you have address to VERY CAREFULLY. My initial thought was "Weeks, you are a man! How would you truly know what it's like?" But then stopped myself. First, to my previous point, huge props to him for even addressing it at all. I'm familiar with it not just because I'm a nurse, but because I know people who suffer from it. It's normally brought up in whispers, with so many connotations attached to it; namely, the shame that can come with it.
Weeks pulls it into the light and attempts to address it head-on. He tackles the issues of shame, of frustration, of fear, of victory. The two characters it affects the most have very raw, real interactions about it. They don't handle it perfectly, yet there are moments of true insight that left me in tears. Mostly, it left me in appreciation for those who suffer from it. It's clearly not just an (effective) plot device for Weeks. He revealed the intricate, hard, emotional process of coming to terms with something that is difficult to process, and he pulls it off superbly.
All that to say, if you haven't read this series yet... WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, YOU DUMMY?