The Black Prism by Brent Weeks


Rate: 5/5


Medium: Audiobook


Overview (No Spoilers):

Recently I’ve been on the lookout for the next great high, epic fantasy read with which to occupy my attention. It should be no secret to anyone who frequents my blog that this is my genre of preference, although I do attempt to be eclectic in my choices to have a well-rounded literary resume. My good friend Cory, at Ad Astra, has routinely delivered fantastic recommendations for nigh on a decade now. He is responsible for directing me to The Demon Cycle series by Peter V. Brett, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. The Black Prism was the most recent series that Cory tossed my way, reiterating several times that The Lightbringer series only gets better and better. So with this high praise still ringing in my ears, I picked up The Black Prism’s ebook, only to have the library hold time lapse on me, not once, not twice, but three times before I finally finished book one. This delay should reflect in no way on the content, because I was hooked, but instead life’s unexpected demands on my time. During this time period, not only did I allow this library hold to come and go without finishing the read, but within the same month I had the same thing happen with Where the Crawdads Sing, Red Seas under Red Skies (currently reading), The Prince of Thorns and The Death of Expertise by Tom Nichols. Thankfully, I’m almost caught back up with segmenting together the various half finished reads I’d started accumulating. I went into The Black Prism without knowing anything regarding the premise, as I try to with any book I pick up. Weeks strategically crafted the foundation of his complex literary world piece by deliberate piece throughout this inaugural novel. The end result is a unique realm in which certain individuals can wield magic sourced through the tiny section of the electromagnetic spectrum, visible light.  The scientist in me wanted to post the electromagnetic spectrum and and break down Weeks intriguing power scheme, but I decided to spare you. Throughout The Black Prism, Weeks not only introduces this new power source and its potential uses, but we glimpse its capabilities and the implications when this magic was utilized for not only good such as building Chromeria, but also its sheer destructive power when used in war. With his elaborate world building alone, Weeks had caught my attention, but where this inaugural Lightbringer novel really arrested my full imagination was with his character development. While initial impressions of characters yielded conventional typecasts one expects in literature from the orphaned youth, jilted lover and the flawed leader, Weeks slowly and meticulously crafted layers upon layers into their history and interactions that worked to mold them into their own inimitable identities.  Specifically, there was one scene, with which I will briefly discuss in the next section, to protect you my dear reader from spoilers, where I can clearly identify The Black Prism standing out among other contemporary novels. With one unexpected plot twist, any preconceived notions as to the direction Weeks had been steering the direction of the novel were upended, causing me to revisit and reassess every interaction up, until this point in a new light. An unexpected flip of the coin took all of the foundation that had been carefully crafted to this point and added a significant layer of depth and intrigue that was previously hidden from the unknowingly naïve reader, when viewed anew from freshly unfettered eyes. Overall, with the introduction to Week’s fascinating literary realm now established and the initial power players officially moving their pawns into place, I’m looking forward to see how the Lightbringer series will continue to evolve and expand upon this already solid groundwork.


Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • Can any of the ‘powers’ be used for healing?
  • This is the scientist in me but do the powers correspond at all to the frequency or length of the wavelengths? Such as blue wavelength being shorter and more intense than red? And the visible spectrum makes up such a very tiny section of the electromagnetic spectrum? Are there powers that exist beyond the visible light barriers other than sub red and ultra violet? As these powers are linked to sight, perhaps not, but it would be a fascinating extension.
  • The scene I was alluding to above with which totally turned my expectations for The Black Prism on their heads was when it was revealed that not only was Gavin’s brother, Dazen alive, but the two brothers were switched. So all along, the character we thought was Gavin was actually Dazen. So that means Kip is actually his nephew, not his kid. What happens if the real Gavin escapes?
  • What happened between Kip’s mother and actual Gavin?
  • Where did that knife come from? Did the knife cause Gavin to lose blue?  Does this mean he is actually dying? Maybe he only lost the color he was drafting with at the time? What is the knife made of? White luxin?
  • What happened to real Gavin and Karris’ son? Is it Zymun?
  • How did Corvan know about Gavin’s bastard and ‘Gavin’ did not?
  • How could Liv defect? What would she have done if her father had told her the truth?
  • How many colors can Kip draft? How will he handle the note he found from his mother? How will he cope after all of the killing he did during the battle?
  • Who sent the assassin after Kip?
  • From a personal standpoint, Weeks graduated from Hillsdale College. I grew up and still own farmland in Hillsdale County, a mere 20 minutes from this prestigious college. I almost went to this college but changed my mind because I didn’t want to go to school so close to home. Oh youth. I had many, many friends go to HC though, so I spent many nights hanging out at the school. Small world!

3 comments

  1. I’m very excited to try reading this book! It’s been sitting on my shelf for the good part of the last year, so I plan on reading it come the New Year…I hope! And if I could recommend an epic fantasy for you, Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive is also fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

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