Brent Weeks will have to write a really good book to top his popular Night Angel trilogy. While that trilogy wasn’t perfect, the books were pretty good nonetheless. His next book is called The Black Prism and is the first volume in another trilogy, titled Lightbringer.
A fat, snarky anti-hero
The Black Prism is about a fat, snarky, clumsy, annoying, but exceedingly funny fifteen year-old anti-hero, who one day finds out he’s the bastard of the world’s greatest magician. Oh, and he turns out to be a magician himself as well. Sounds like the best plot ever, right? One thing is certain, this is one of the most hilarious fantasy books I’ve read in years. The character of Kip – that’s the name of our anti-hero – is amazingly well-written. I must warn you, however: don’t read this book in public transport like I did, because people will get really annoyed by your laughter.
So, this Kip-guy finds out he’s the bastard of the world’s greatest magician, but not before his whole village is burned to the ground, and everyone he knows is killed in the process. His father, Gavin Guile, the Prism and leader of the world, takes him along on his journey, that leads them into a hopeless war.
A slow start
The first thing any reader will notice is the magic system in Brent Weeks newest creation. Where the Night Angel trilogy had a rather simplistic use of magic, The Black Prism takes magic to a whole new level. This magic is a magic of colors: magicians are able to filter light and break it into the primary colors, thus creating a product called Luxin. Every color produces Luxin with different aspects and every magician has his own colors. Only the Prism can draft all colors. The magic system in The Black Prism isn’t all good, however. Even after reading the book, I don’t yet understand every type of Luxin. The first part of the book is especially confusing, as Weeks just takes us to this world and throws terms at us, expecting us to understand what he means. Of course, he explains a lot of it after the first two hundred pages, but it made that first part pretty difficult to read.
The characters were disappointing as well, up until the part when Kip is taken to the capital city by his newfound father. There, he meets Ironfist, the commander of an elite army trained to protect the Prism. The conversations between Kip and Ironfist were amazing, and for me, this was the turning point in the book. After this scene, the book improved substantially. The characters were like those we remember from the Night Angel trilogy: sharp, funny, unique and intriguing. Every viewpoint and every character was different, and all of them were interesting to read.
Why should you read this book?
Though I have mentioned a couple of flaws, the book really picks up after about two hundred pages. Those last four hundred pages are a true page-turner. You simply cannot stop reading this book. Struggle through that first part of The Black Prism, and you won’t regret it. The book has just the right amount of action, suspense, political intrigue and humor. A lot of humor. The short chapters make it easy to read as well, though the cliffhangers at the end of pretty much every chapter can be a bit irritating. In the end, though, this is a well-paced novel that has every element a good epic fantasy needs. A must read for every fan!