The Black Prism – Brent Weeks
Review by: Noelle Nichols
Any book that includes an Appendix at the end is a commitment, especially a Brent Weeks book. Especially the Lightbringer Series. These are some of the largest books I’ve ever read, and I read a lot of epic fantasy.
What fascinates me the most about this series is the magic system. The color spectrum has been done a few times in fantasy before, but the particular detail about making magic use finite and show visibly in the eye, fascinates me, as well as how each person is only able to use their specific color spectrum. There’s a fun scene where the characters are tested for what colors they can see. It’s one of my favorites. Fascinating stuff. World building and magic systems are half the reason I read fantasy, and I was not disappointed.
Just because of the magic system, I was pretty game to continue reading this series despite my perhaps unpopular opinion of some of the characters in this series.
Kip. I know I am not alone in this, and I know Kip was crafted with specific intention to break some of the stereotypes of the male hero in fiction. I’ll admit, he didn’t really grow on me for most of the book because the main character is a bit of a lost cause, and I didn’t really like the humor, even though I do have friends very similar to him. Only at the very, very end, did I kind of think he was alright—because I’m a sucker for someone who doesn’t give up, and only for that reason did I root for him. Which, I suppose may have been the point of his character.
I didn’t much care for the female lead, Karris. She didn’t seem as developed or have as much personality as the other characters did, but I did appreciate that she was a pretty bad ass woman and much preferable to some of the other shady females in the series.
I read this book mainly for one POV character, Gavin. And I can’t tell you why this book made me mad until you read it, because it would be a huge spoiler, but I found Gavin’s character to be the most appealing to me. He’s charged with being the Prism, who is the one character who can use all the different colors of magic. He’s tasked with a pretty hard feat, keeping order and making sure that all those across the Seven Strapies remain safe, and there is not an imbalance of one color over the other.
This book is a pretty easy read, in regards to the writing style. Engaging Deep POV with character thoughts, where most of them added to the story. Some of them pulled me from the story as odd, but for the most part, I remained enthralled and rooted in the story. A strength of Brent Weeks’ is definitely his banter and humor.
The romantic undertones were well done and believable, making the characters seem almost too real for me, to the point that I wanted to get back to the story. (I’m not a huge fan of heavy romance too similar to real life in fantasy). That being said, It was well done, and I chuckled more than once at the domestic banter. I just reeeeally wanted to learn more about the magic system, and what the Drafters could create with their specific color. I am a slightly impatient reader.
I would say this series is more of a wandering story, where you’re pulled from one fire to the next, and I can say from reading the next book, that this continues with the series. If you like more episodic stories where you feel you’re more “hanging out” than getting to the next plot point, that’s how I would describe this book. Personally, I’m a fan, albeit sometimes I wished he focused more on my favorite characters than the others, or that things did not wander so far.
Overall, a nice change from the usual English-set adventure. The culture in this is a little more advanced, so you won’t be getting much with swords, but with battles with magic and guns.
Fair warning: Like I said at the beginning of my review. It’s a commitment, and the most rewarding aspects of the series are the little moments between the characters and being able to watch them grow over the course of well over a couple million words.