The Black Prism Review

  • Author: Brent Weeks
  • Series: Lightbringer #1
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • No. of pages: 735
  • Dates read: 16.10.20 – 29.10.20
  • Star Rating: 4

Plot: 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. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live. 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.

I have a lot of thoughts on this book! But they are all over the place so I will try my hardest to formulate them in way that is easy to understand!

So I picked up this book after hearing loads of hype about it on Booktube! I went through a stage of just adding loads of super hyped fantasy book series to my list and this was one of them. When I finished this book I felt drained, now not it a bad way, this is one heck of a book with a very intricate political and magical system which when you first try and get into a series with all of that level of detail it can be quite draining as your focusing so much.

We will start off with the writing. To me, the writing was good. For the normal day to day chapters discussing politics or just a bunch of exposition it was fine. It’s very much too the point not to flowery. Where the writing really stands out is when we have scenes of panic and chaos. I don’t think to much about Weeks writing until I am reading a scene where our character is scared or suddenly there’s a big commotion then I really appreciate it. I am on the edge of my seat fully worried for the wellbeing of these characters. But, these scenes don’t happen all the time and when we are reading other scenes that’s when I do struggle. It can sometimes feel quite slow-paced so I did at times, for example any chapter involving a boat (and there were quite a few), I would just skim the pages.

The plot on the other hand was incredible! At first it was a bit tricky to figure out where the story was actually going, I felt a bit like I was floating around waiting for someone to anchor me down as the plot didn’t seem to have a lot of direction but then it picked up and by the end I was invested! There are so many elements to this story. We have the story surrounding Kip and who he may become as he has all this potential, we have the will-they won’t-they relationship between two important characters, we also have the political element of the story of people being sick of this world’s magical government. So much to read about and unpack! To me this was the strongest part of the book! There are so many different storylines which are easy to follow and at least one of them will keep you invested.

The characters. This is probably where I struggle the most. We follow a series of characters in this series but the two main characters are the father and son duo, Gavin Guile (the Prism) and his son Kip. I really like Gavin I think he is super nuanced, layered and you aren’t entirely sure how much you can trust him. I find him to be a super compelling character and I really enjoyed his chapters.

Kip, on the other hand, I struggled with. I just didn’t love his characterisation or his inner monologue that much. I thought he was rude (in his defense he goes through a lot in this book which would explain the rudeness), obnoxious and the way he would talk about women would make me uncomfortable. I just didn’t connect with him the way I did other characters.

But my biggest issue with this book was Brent Weeks’ writing of female characters. It wasn’t great, I’ve read worse, but still not great! There were just so many unnecessary comments about women’s bodies. I don’t need to know about how a random old woman’s boobs sagged or a characters nipple were noticeable, in many cases these comments could have been cut out and the story would have been fine. But then there are moments where a character has an awful period and I’m sitting there reading it thinking why is this necessary to the story? It was quite jarring! And most of the female characters are only important to further push the male character’s story arc along. The only thing which has made it better than other books I have read is the women in this book are more head-strong and making decisions for themselves or being in positions of power rather than just there to be ogled by the male characters, though Kip gives it a good go!

The world-building itself was fun. I really enjoyed how unique the magic system is with all its varying rules and variations and I love how well it ties into the way the world politically functions I just thought it was so interesting to read about. What a would say is that I really just needed one cliché chapter explaining how everything works as it was pretty hard to figure things out at the beginning of the book. And even by the end I was still trying to figure out places and their rules etc.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There plot was so detailed, the main protagonist was really interesting and the magic system is super cool. Going forward, I hope the female characters are treated better and Kip is less annoying!

The next book I will be reviewing is The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan. I have read this before and thought it was ok. Let’s see if my opinion changes! I wanted to read something a bit easier and more lighthearted after this dense book!

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