Book Review: The Black Prism (The Lightbringer Series Book 1) by Brent Weeks (published by Orbit)
Brilliant book! I was completely in awe of the storytelling, worldbuilding, magic system and believable, likable yet flawed characters. And, oh my, the twists that I just didn’t see coming blew me away!
This story focuses on the complex, delicately held together world, of the Seven Satrapies sixteen years after a massive battle between two brothers, both of whom are prisms. But there can only be one and the good guy, Gavin Guile, won. Or did he? I won’t post any spoilers here, but believe me, the twists are great.
The magic system is called Chromaturgy where Drafters can use the light spectrum to physically create a substance called luxin that can make stuff like weapons, houses and boats. There are various kinds of drafters who can either draft one colour or more, but only the Lord Prism (Gavin) can draft all seven colours. He can also draft lots more than anyone else, hence why he’s the most powerful man in the world. But he’s controlled by the Chromeria, a kind of magic guild which governs the land, where the White keeps him in check with duties, teaching and bodyguards.
The book opens as Gavin learns he has a secret child, Kip, who just happens to be at the spot where a rogue King of one of the Satrapies is planning to make a stand against the Chromeria. Cue Gavin going to the rescue of Kip, and then to the rescue of the city of Garriston which the rogue King is planning to capture.
The story is told from multiple point of views, which I always love. And I really enjoyed each of the characters that Brent Weeks portrayed here, which is rare! Gavin is a complex character, with some deep flaws, but also funny, charming and likable. He seems to want to do things for the greater good, especially as he knows his time is running out. Kariss is a woman that apparently sparked the war between the two brothers, but I think more will be revealed on this point in future books. She is feisty and strong-willed, and has some secrets of her own. Kip is the teenage son of Gavin, who is internally awkward and self-doubting. But on the outside, he’s cheeky and overconfident and charges headfirst into things without much thinking.
My only niggle was my own imagination when it came to picturing what the luxin-made things looked like… the great wall that Gavin creates looked like a line of yellow Lego bricks in my head and all the colours drafted were always bold primary hues in my mind, which also made me think of Lego. Even though drafters create every colour on the spectrum. I think some more references to colours that looked like X or Y would’ve been helpful to me. Like ‘Kip drafted green, the shade of pine trees’ etc.
This is one of the best books I have read in a while. Definitely deserves top marks! Will be reading book 2 in the series, The Blinding Knife, very soon.
My rating: 5/5
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