Black Prism by Brent Weeks
With the upcoming release of Blinding Knife, Book 2 of the Lightbringer Series, by Brent Weeks, I decided to go back and do a review of the first in the series, Black Prism. Expect a forthcoming review of Blinding Knife soon, but for now, an introduction into one of the most gripping current series on the market.
Black Prism was one of those books that I picked up after falling in love with Brent Weeks first trilogy, Night Angel. After coming off of the last book I was left optimistic, this was a writer that truly knew how to weave an amazing story, however once I heard about this new series I grew worried. I had read the interviews, and this was supposed to be something brand new and different from Night Angel. What if it wasn’t as good? What if change really is bad?
Well, to say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. Black Prism showed the potential to be everything Night Angel wasn’t for me. While I loved the Night Angel Trilogy, there’s no denying it wasn’t at least a little stereotypical. Black Prism is anything but.
Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals.
But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.
Kip is one of the most unique characters I’ve read in a fantasy novel. He is a fat, young boy who lives in a former warzone with his drug-addled mother. Weeks does a spectacular job of creating a character that so clearly defines a 15 year old, insecure boy in the height of adolescence and puberty, so much so that you’ll cringe at the forced awkwardness of reliving the awkward years of your childhood. Not long into the book Kip is thrust into worldly politics and a magic-fueled world along with our two other main characters, Gavin Guile and Liv Danavis.
Gavin is the Prism. The prism is a man who is able to control each of the varied forms of magic in the world, more on that later. Gavin is the most powerful man in the world and has the charm and wit to match. However, he was also at the heart of the recent war and as such has secrets that are set to change the world on it’s head.
Liv is a young girl from Kip’s hometown and the last of our main viewpoint characters. We follow her life as she attends the Chromeria and deals with her sponsor and daily life before she too is wrapped up in the world of the Prism and our young adventurer.
The magic of the world is one of the most detailed and complex I’ve seen, rivaled only by Brandon Sanderson’s Metallic Arts in his Mistborn series. Weeks describes it best as physical manifestation of colors, each of which has different scents, texture, and physical properties. Once this is taken into account along with the mental ramifications of each magic – Blue Luxin makes you think more logically, red more emotionally – you’re left with a magic that is a treat to read and explore.
Brent Weeks comes true to form in this novel as he layers deceptions and twists into each chapter that comes with amazing realizations and aha! moments as new plot threads are discovered. Rarely is there a book that draws you in so quickly and so deeply. Soon it becomes a desire to read until the next great reveal and it doesn’t take long for you to finish and crave more.
With Book 2 on the market in only a few short days, I highly recommend picking up Black Prism and giving it a read. Brent Weeks is one of those authors that made me fall in love with the genre, and Black Prism is the start of something not only unique, but extraordinary.