The Black Prism - Book Review

I have an author crush.  I'm becoming addicted to the works of Brent Weeks. He has only six books published and I can't get enough of them.  So, Brent, I did read the acknowledgements at the end of The Black Prism and I'm doing exactly as you advised and spreading the word.  After all, who reads acknowledgements.  Me, apparently. I've already expressed my love for The Night Angel trilogy and now it's time for me to do the same for The Black Prism (Lightbringer #1).

From Goodreads:

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.

Check after the jump as to why I think this book rocks. Mild spoilers.

Fantasy books are a genre that continues to captivate me and The Black Prism is no exception. After reading The Night Angel  trilogy I was pondering if the new series would carry on in the same vein.  So many authors stick with the same fantasy world that they have created. There have been some great fantasy works which have done just that, but I love that Brent Weeks has taken a completely different route for his second series. He has created a new world and a whole new set of characters. Sure, you can see a similar writing style and sense of humour, but cleverly Weeks has introduced a different type of magic then he used previously and it is wonderfully refreshing.  Plus there is a map! One must not forget the importance of a good map in a fantasy book. I had a sneak peek at book 2 in the series and the map gets better!!!! The book doesn't appear to be on the same level of gruesomeness as Weeks previous outing. Perhaps I should add a Yet! Sure there are a few decapitated people, lost limbs, massacres and gory deaths.  But I wouldn't expect anything less.  Or perhaps, just this time I am a bit more prepared for Weeks writing. There is war coming readers.

The magic in the series is based on the colours of the rainbow. I'm unsure if Weeks would be happy with me comparing the magic in his series to a rainbow. He might just think, woman reader!!!! People with magic are called drafters; red, orange, yellow, green, super violet and blue.  Drafters can have just one type of magic or they can have multiple.  Drafters can also be diverse within their colour, so not all reds will have the same strength. The Prism of course needs an array of colours in their armoury and such candidates are few and far between.  That doesn't stop the odd assassination attempt. A drafter is able to create luxin. The physical form of magic. Each colour has different properties and is used for various purposes from creating buildings, bridges and weapons to furniture. I don't want to spoil it for you by going into too much detail, but it's fascinating stuff.    There are also references to other aspects related to colour, such as the Spectrum and The White. - I'll leave those two little gems for you to discover yourself when you read the book.

The action in this first book centres around Tyrea and the Chromeria on Little Jasper. The
Seven Satrapies as the countries are known are still recovering from The False Prism War sixteen years earlier.  A land ripe for war, as a crucial port Garriston in Tyrea, remains
under the control of the victors on a two year rotation.  Enter King Garadul who is determined to free Garriston and allow magic free rein. Fueled by Lord Omnichrome, he sets on a path to war.  Only one man (with the help of some Blackguards and drafters) can save Garriston - Gavin Guile.

Gavin Guile is the pivotal force in the book. As the Prism, events swirl around him.  He is both a catalyst and a pivotal focus for all the characters. Whether it is Kip the survivor of Rekton or Karris a Blackguard, each character is connected to Gavin and we realise his power is both a curse and a blessing. Yes he can do amazing things with his magic, but there is a price to pay for it all. Gavin has been Prism for a long time and in the that time he has kept the balance of magic in the world.  Gavin's function is based in the Chromeria and is largely ceremonial. The Chromeria is where drafters are trained and govern The Seven Satrapies. However as events pick up pace you get the sense that the clock is ticking and we don't know if Gavin will make it out of the series alive. 

Why is this fantasy book a great read? It has intriguing plot twists. There is a plot twist about a quarter of the way through the book, around three quarters of the way and at the very end that make me think, tricky, tricky, Weeks.  Basically Weeks subscribes to the school of don't give the reader what they expect. Pull the rug out from under their feet and then wait to see what happens.  So he makes apparently good guys have a cunning streak in them. He makes bad guys show compassion. But he also shows that many of his characters are very calculating and this makes the reader ponder what the end game it.  Plus he likes to off a character when you least expect it. I still don't know the answer to that question yet. 

If you haven't read any of Brent Weeks work, I highly recommend this new series The Lightbringer. Book 2 The Blinding Knife is beckoning me and I'm left wondering will Weeks manage to make me cry again in the series. No tissues required yet!!!!!!!

Have you discovered any great fantasy series this year? Share them with me below.


  1. Well, another book to add to my overflowing book pile. I've read The Way of Shadows and about to start Shadow's Edge. I enjoyed the story very much, thanks Angela.

    1. You are welcome Merit. So glad you enjoyed The Way of the Shadows. I think this series is just as good, but very different.


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