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4.3 out of 5 stars133
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 5 September 2010
I had been eagerly awaiting Brent Weeks' new book since putting down Beyond the Shadows. I was desperate to find out what happened to Durzo, Kylar, et al. I was therefore, slightly disappointed to find out that Brent's new series was to be set in a completely different world.

I needn't have worried.

Admittedly, I found the start a little slow, but once the story got going I was very impressed. We are introduced to a new world, with complex characters & an even more complex political structure. Everyone, can in some way relate to Kip, the runt of litter, who overcomes personal tragedy. Then there is the Prism, Gavin, who has a deep secret, which would destroy his world, should it ever be found out. King Garadul, the young king who has more power than sense... and so it goes on...

We have here the foundation of another epic trilogy of books, where we already have some excellent characters, who, I for one, am very interested to find out what happens next.

Shame I have to wait for book 2 to be released...
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on 16 July 2013
I enjoy fantasy, it's my favourite genre. However, so few books actually appeal to me, but every once in a while I find a true gem. The black Prism is one of those. It has a slow start but once it gets going it becomes absolutely captivating. I've never been a reader of Brent weeks, having picked up numerous of his books and putting them back on the shelf, however I will do in future. I cannot wait for the next installment, I haven't been this excited since the wait for the next wheel of time.
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on 12 October 2010
This was one of the best books I've read recently. I'm a big fan of the genre and when I read The Night Angel trilogy I knew Weeks was one of those rare authors who don't just do a living with their works - they do art! Every aspect of his books has been captivating and inspiring and more importantly - refreshing. Among the heaps of fantasy books that come out all the time The Black Prism definitely stands out as an amazing piece of literature. I really hope the author continues his streak and delights his fans all over the world with more and more of his books.
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on 1 December 2013
I read the final book in Brent Weeks' Night Angel trilogy a few weeks ago, and was left a little bit underwhelmed with the way things were concluded, and with the trilogy in general. Some of the characters were great, while others were underdeveloped or just plain annoying. There were things in the final book that should have been epic, but hadn't been set up properly, or even mentioned in the first two books at all. Aside from a few memorable moments/characters, the whole trilogy just seemed kind of average: nothing terrible, but nothing really special either.

'The Black Prism' is the first book in a different series - the Lightbringer series- and I only decided to give it a go because the second book ('The Blinding Knife') recently beat Mark Lawrence's King of Thorns AND Joe Abercrombie's Red Country to win the 2013 David Gemmell Legend Award. And so I thought I'd give Weeks another try.

To be honest, I wasn't blown away at the beginning. I found it similar to the Night Angel books: fairly interesting, but not exactly gripping. I stuck with it, though, and after a brilliant twist about a third of the way in I was pretty much hooked. Stuff started happening, characters became much more interesting, and the somewhat complex histories of both the world and the characters started to unfold in unexpected ways.

'The Black Prism' is told from the alternating points of view of four main characters: Guile, the Prism and `Emperor'; Kip, his illegitimate son; Liv Danavis, the daughter of a disgraced general; and Karris, one of the Prism's elite Blackguards. All four characters are very different, and it's interesting to see how each of them regard different situations and people. I particularly like reading Kip's PoV: he's fat, he's clumsy, and his life has just been turned upside down, but he's determined, he's talented, and he's funny. It's also great to read Guile's PoV chapters, as we learn a lot of his secrets from him. This leaves us in conflict regarding how we feel about him: do we admire him, or do we hate him?

The one thing all the main characters have in common is that they are magic-users, and the magic is one of the things that almost made me put the book down with a snort and a shake of the head. It's based on light and colour, hence the `Prism' is the most powerful of all as he can control all the colours of the spectrum. Using colour magic is referred to as `drafting', which creates a magical substance called luxin, which can be moulded to whatever purposes the drafter requires depending on their skill and will, and the properties of the luxin itself. This magic is called Chromaturgy. Each person (drafter) capable of using it has an affinity to one colour (monochromes), two colours (bichromes), or even more (polychromes).

It sounds ridiculous, I know. It's basically `Rainbow Magic'. But the thing is, what starts off as the most ridiculous-sounding thing ever actually becomes one of the more interesting parts of the book. The scenes involving the use of Chromaturgy (and there aren't many that don't) are really fun to imagine, especially after you have an idea of the different uses/properties of each colour. Some of the things it's used for are spectacular; although importantly (for those who like their magic with rules and restrictions) it's not without its drawbacks and limitations.

There's lots of action in 'The Black Prism', and even when there's no fighting or drafting there's almost always something happening. Lots of different plot strands have been introduced in this book, and it left me wanting to know not only what will happen next, but also the full details of the events that happened before the main plot of the book. I've been pleasantly surprised by 'The Black Prism', and I'm glad I have the second book at hand to start straight away!
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on 28 July 2012
This novels shows just how good character-driven fantasy can be. From the morally ambiguous to the lovably naive to the cynical but just, Brent Weeks has populated his world with believable people, complete with their own politics, agendas and complex, messy dealings with each other. The strand of humour running through Kip's dialogue lifts the overall mood and prevents a fairly dark book from becoming grim.

Don't expect a black-and-white tale of good against evil. There is no clear hero or villain of this piece, and several times I found myself willing on one side then the other, switching allegiance as more of the plot was revealed alongside the characters in the book. Readers get to see the real people making tough decisions behind the dark lords and shining knights, and neither side is as good or as bad as it first appears. After reading so much rather formulaic fantasy, it's very satisfying indeed to see an example of this genre asking tough questions and challenging expected tropes.

Why not 5 stars? The quality of the language is very readable but not quite up there with the best. Don't expect dozens of spelling mistakes but do expect the odd clunky phrase or jarring term. Also, the system of magic in this book, although it worked well in terms of plot, didn't catch my imagination somehow. However, neither point would stop me from recommending it, and I'll certainly buy the next in the series.
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on 28 March 2013
I loved Brent's The Night Angel trilogy and hoped that this book would be if not just as good at least ok. I couldn't put it down. The characters are very good and with a bit of a twist thrown in here and there, had me wanting to just read the next chapter (and the next, and the next).
I can't wait to get the next one.
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on 4 October 2010
Brent Weeks shot to deserved popularity with his debut 'Night Angel' trilogy. 'Black Prism' marks the start of a new series.

Generally, 'Black Prism' is enjoyable. It wont break anyone's top ten, nor will it redefine any part of the genre. It's fun though, and builds an interesting world. Certainly worth a holiday read.

Two gripes about 'Black Prism':

THE MAGIC SYSTEM. Firstly, I like it. It's fun, fairly original, allows for interesting scenarios without being contrived, and most importantly follows a set of rules. Having said that, within the story there is no sense of discovery for the reader. There is no slow build up, no suprise about what these 'drafter' magicians can do. There is no character arc that follows a progressive understanding of the magic. It is simply... there. It seems normal and therefore, because it's limits are seemingly reached, faintly boring. Guile, the Prism, appears to be able to do anything within the limit of the story's magic. Because of this, the most exciting character driven magical innovation within the novel was; A. Guile building a fast boat, and B. Guile building a large wall.

THE CHARACTERS. We know from Brent Weeks' writing by now that he has quite a dry sense of humour. Black Prism contains a fair number of lighthearted asides, which, if used in moderation, would not have jarred so much. However, pithy witticisms and sporadic sarcasm spatter the book without much attempt at continuity. It seems as if everyone inhabiting Brent Weeks' new world is lost if they're not shoehorning a one liner into even the most grim situation. Even stoics such as 'Ironfist' seem unable to function with what is essentially the SAME sense of glib, ironic humour that pervades the entire narrative. This might seem like a petty problem, but it really blurred the characters personalities. Why can't just one, or at a stretch two characters bring levity to the story? Humour is fine, but in Black Prism, it becomes a distraction, occasionally an intrusion and eventually just an overindulgence.

These annoyances did not ruin the story. More mystery in the magic, less slapdash humour, and it would have been a solid 4 stars.
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on 9 March 2011
A bit different and definitely tame in comparison to his Night Angel Trilogy. It felt like a good foundation for the trilogy but for me it just didn't have the personality of the Night Angel books. Still worth a read, and it may well pan out to be every bit as good a trilogy in the long run. Time will tell.
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on 27 May 2015
I like this series, wasn't sure until about 20 pages in though, told husband about it: he stole my kindle. I don't think you can get a better review than that, it took me years to get him to read Pratchett! He nabbed the kindle as soon as i'd finished, the next day. And that's after telling him about B*****d the Camel and thinking hard to get the sun to come up, honestly who wouldn't want to read about that? But I digress. Lightbringer is an intriguing series with interesting characters and well worth a read, and reminders me a bit of McCaffrey's crystal singers in using something 'normal' and generally 'ignored' as the main technology and a bit of Robin Hobb's Tawny Man series with the plot and depth of characters.
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on 7 March 2011
Difficult to get into to start with but once you understand how this fictional world functions it becomes extremely addictive. Also, because the story moves along nicely with mounting excitement I found it difficult to put down, much the same as others have said. All round a thoroughly good read.
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