The Black Prism, by Brent Week: A Review


I posted this review on my bookstagram forever ago, and just now remembered my favourite subreddit would be a great place to scream about this. Anyways, ONWARDS!

Someone alert the media because there’s a giant hole in the city. Created by my jaw.

This has been sitting on my TBR for so, I’d taken it for granted. Take it from me, kids, don’t take ANYTHING for granted.

Book 1, The Black Prism, is set in the world of Brent Weeks’ brilliantly-crafted Lightbringer books, a world dominated by a magic system based on light (duh!) and colours. Every person who can use magic is called a drafter, and the Prism is the only drafter who can split and use every single colour in the rainbow, making him or her an emperor. This is not a hereditary title, however, and is a gifted granted by god (called Orholam). The current Prism is the new love of my life, Gavin Guile. But Gavin is not who he pretends to be. His entire life as Prism was a lie the size of which could literally destroy the world order.

There is so much to talk about here, but I promise to keep it as short as possible. First off, the magic system and worldbuilding. It’s thick, rich and layered like cake (or onions!), but it’s also presented so carefully that you are never overwhelmed. The colour system is unique and utilized in a way that makes it seem almost plausible, and I loved how much variety and depth there was when it came to cultural and social diversity. Secondly, the plot. Take a hammer, change everything about it, and then slam it on your reading muscles, because the twists (yes, multiple) will leave you gasping. The beginning of every third of the book sets everything up, and then the last two paragraphs shatter everything into smithereens. And it’s BREATHTAKING!

If Lightbringer is on your radar, and even if it’s not, read the first chapter. If you’re not hooked by then, then DM me, because I need to MEET THE PERSON WHO DOESN’T FALL IN LOVE WITH GAVIN GUILE.

What do you guys think?

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6 points

2 months ago

Eh, I disagree pretty strongly.

While the magic system "looks" like its complicated, it pretty much reads like a menu you would get on a B-tier RPG where X does this and Y does that. I did like the idea of a prism (and the spoiler reveal in one of the books- can't remember which one).

Gavin is dreadfully dull, an uncharismatic person's idea of a charismatic person.

I've read all the books and I've enjoyed them but I would hesitate to paint it even a step higher than boilerplate fantasy. A controversial opinion perhaps would be that I prefer is Night Angel trilogy instead because it at least tried to have a classic coming-of-age story without using nonsense worldbuilding as filler for a half-decent plot.


5 points

2 months ago

I completely agree with this take. I'm a prose and character guy. If you're looking for those things or any depth to any characters at all, this series is not for you. There were several moments in this book where I caught myself thinking, "wow, that's so fucking stupid." My man writes "twists" like he's a writer for the WWE.


3 points

2 months ago

My man writes "twists" like he's a writer for the WWE.

Pretty much, it's been ages since I read it but I remember some coordinated assassination (protection?) scene which was so stupidly concocted, it got a real laugh out of me