The Black Prism (Lightbringer #1) by Brent Weeks
Hardcover, 629 pages
Published August 25th 2010 by Orbit
The Black Prism, simply put, is the story of a boy named Kip and his father, Gavin Guile.
Kip grows up in a place called Tyrea. He is poor, his mother is an addict, and he has never known his father. The latter is true of most of the other children as well. After the Prism’s war sixteen years ago, the male population decreased significantly. Kip had always assumed his father died in the war.
Gavin Guile is the Prism. In this world, the Prism is something akin to emperor. However, at this point, the Prism has become mainly a religious figurehead. That being said, he is still one of, if not the, most powerful person in the world. Being Prism means that he can draft–or, make magic–out of any colour of light. Most drafters can only draft from one, two, or three colours–more than that is extremely rare. It is believed that the god Orholam grants the people with one Prism every generation to balance power.
Gavin recently found out that during the war, he fathered a son. He finds his son, Kip, in Tyrea, just outside of a village that was completely massacred by a rogue king.
War is coming. Kip must learn to wield his own powers and find the strength in himself as his world changes. As Prism, Gavin knows his life will soon come to an end. He must decide how far he will go to protect his family, and protect his secret.
I had to give this book a B because it took me so long to get into it. For the first hundred pages or so, I was confused and not really interested in the plot. Or the characters for that matter. However, with some determination, I managed to stick it out until it got my attention. When I finally go into it, however, I really got into it. It had its flaws, and was still confusing in parts, but I was hooked. I was especially hooked by the characters–their relationships and their secrets were so interesting and gripping to watch unfold. After awhile I also began to appreciate the interesting premise of using light as a source of magic. This put a limit to magic, which I appreciated. This made it seem more realistic–even if it is about magic, there should be limits to it, so no one can be all powerful. Everyone has weaknesses.
Overall, I though the book was generally well thought out and organized. However, I think it could have benefited from a brief prologue of some kind to help introduce readers to this fantasy world, instead of just tossing them in the deep end. Perhaps some sort of flashback to the Prism’s War would have been helpful and interesting.
For the most part, this book was pretty great and I would recommend it to fantasy lovers! If you find the beginning hard to get into like I did, stick it out! It’s worth it! I look forward to the other books in the series!
Beth is the founder and editor of Fuelled by Fiction. She is a twenty-something east coast Canadian girl who loves writing about books and feminism.