Sunday, November 11, 2012
Review: THE BLACK PRISM by Brent Weeks
Vastly different from THE NIGHT ANGEL TRILOGY yet just as good as the best fantasy out there.
THE BLACK PRISM started with a bang - young Kip stumbles upon an army camp heading towards his hometown, encounters a colour wight and is subsequently thrust into battle along side unwilling accomplices. Captivating, unique and a perfect way to capture the fantastical and commence the building of a richly entrenched world of fear, violence, and magic. With such a start I was sure THE BLACK PRISM would be one of the great fantasy novels - well written, an intriguing new concept and a fast paced action romp lead by strong characters with a distinct purpose. Then the mundane set in. The concept of colour being wielded by humans as a weapon of destruction or used as a tool to create seemed 'young adult' and a little too far fetched to suspend my belief - coupled with Kip, a teen who resembled Eragon a little too much by way of cheesy adolescent dialogue and mannerisms and it looked as though my expectations were going to be severely undercut. Enter an interesting new dynamic lead by the Chromeria way of life and Gavin Guile, the latest Prism and victor of the War of the False Prisms.
The first book in the Lightbringer series is fantastic. The concepts are creative, the characters a joy to read, and the plot a never ending road of twists, turns, deceit, culminating in traditional fantasy epic violence. THE BLACK PRISM will shock and awe, just give it some time.
There are so many strong characters with interlocking plot threads to keep the lengthy story fresh - nothing felt forced or out of place. After finishing THE BLACK PRISM, the 'down-time' I experienced in the earlier stages of the novel felt warranted and helped to established the core group of characters and the mythology of drafting and the different categories of drafters.
Brent Weeks rewards his readers persistence with a blistering final third of the likes I've not commonly seen. True, the action is there but its the twists, turns, the deer-in-headlights moments of time standing still that did it for me - the revelations Weeks unravels are pure genius. I wont go into detail as I'm likely to give something away. Rest assured, you wont see these coming.
Kip, Drazen, Gavin, Kariss, Liv, Ironfist, and Lord Omnichrome to name but a few are interesting and well thought out characters who each have a back-story sure to be further exploited in further endeavours. All contribute something unique and are essential to the plot and will satisfy readers seeking a meaningful and character driven fantasy.
THE BLACK PRISM is a great start to the Lightbringer series. Safe to say, the follow-up, THE BLINDING KNIFE has been bumped up the TBR. 5 stars.