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The Black Prism (Lightbringer #1)

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  56,056 Ratings  ·  2,419 Reviews
Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals.

But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put hi
Hardcover, 629 pages
Published August 25th 2010 by Orbit (first published 2010)
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Bodi Yuhico I hated the Way of Shadows: especially because of it's immaturity, it's characters' immaturity, the treatment of women, the inconsistent magic system…moreI hated the Way of Shadows: especially because of it's immaturity, it's characters' immaturity, the treatment of women, the inconsistent magic system and the way most of the plot seems to have been made up as it went along.

The Lightbringer series shows just exactly how Weeks has progressed as a writer. ALL the things I hated in Way of Shadows have been resolved. It's an incredibly well-thought out series, kind of reminiscent to Brandon Sanderson.(less)
Daniel Clouser Four. The last one comes out next month, 10/25. EDIT: It has actually been expanded to 5 books.
The Final Empire by Brandon SandersonThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Way of Kings by Brandon SandersonThe Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Most Interesting Magic System
13th out of 1,709 books — 6,473 voters
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinJ.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set by J.R.R. TolkienThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisThe Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
The Best Epic Fantasy
48th out of 2,680 books — 19,185 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 02, 2016 Regan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)

Today we're going to talk about something that every reviewer lives at least once in its reading career, that I will call the Is It Too Early To Dnf Syndrome.

That syndrome sucks big time.

1) Your ereader is failing you, and doesn't count the percentages anymore : don't get it back to the store yet! You're only bored. I know, it's tricky. Sanderson's fans might not show this symptom though : if you like long ass descriptions of how a magic system works, well lucky you, you may not meet boredom (y
Peter Tr
Jul 25, 2016 Peter Tr rated it really liked it
Recommended to Peter by: Ojo
You know you are reading a great book when out of 95 chapters and 5 POVs, not even one is boring. I have heard a lot of things about Brent Weeks' second trilogy, and most of them have been proved true so far. He has grown up as an author, giving more depth to his characters, making their decisions more human, and creating tension in every single chapter.

"You might want to think twice before you try to use a man's conscience against him. It may turn out he doesn't have one."

The pacing of the book
Aug 27, 2013 Carol. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Weeks fans, fans of epic fantasy
Recommended to Carol. by: everybody
Let's be honest; I've been dreading reading this. Why? Because The Night Angel Trilogy ended up a broken promise. Good beginning, steady decline in the quality of characterization and plotting, and, need I mention, a sexist hot mess? At any rate, Weeks seems to have been going for something different here, or at least something more developed--say perhaps, Epic--and it works much better.

Except it's so damn conscious of being epic that I roll my eyes just looking at it--that heft! The matte blac
Andrew Obrigewitsch
Feb 07, 2014 Andrew Obrigewitsch rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This book is really tough for me to rate. The story is a flintlock fantasy. With some really brilliant ideas, a very interesting plot, cool magic system and great action.

So what's wrong with it you may ask? (Other than the fact that the narrator made the main character sound like a surfer dude.)

Well the problem with Brent Weeks' writing is that you felt like you are being told a story by a very creative and imaginative 15 year old boy, with no real life experience and not a lot of study under h
Crys Harris
Jan 08, 2011 Crys Harris rated it liked it
I am just less than half way through this book and I am not enjoying it. The writing is fine. In fact, Brent Weeks may have developed a bit more dexterity with his prose since the Night Angel trilogy. The problem, so far, is two-fold.

1) Nothing much is happening. I'm not intrigued, drawn in, excited, or even really interested. There is political intrigue at work, but it isn't compelling. There is magic afoot, but it is hard to be in awe of it. I don't even care where this is headed.

2) I don't c
Oct 14, 2016 ☽Luna☾ rated it it was amazing
This book gets all the stars in the universe !


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It's hard to write a review when you have just been blown away. I'm still very emotional from book one because I loved it that much.
I must say books like this is why I love fantasy so much, I recommend this book to every single person who can read ! I am now Brent weeks new number one fan girl !

This book starts off extremely slow, I hated the start. I found the magic system complex and was confused to where t
FrEEEEEk-in' fantastic!!! This is really all that must be said, but of course I will say more. Many people that review this book will take the time to recap the plot and give you some character intros, so I am taking the lazy man's road and skipping anything remotely informative about the book itself in my review.

Instead, I will tell of how I felt throughout the book. One of the main objectives in reading is to think and feel something, right? A good book will make you think in circles of confus
Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 24, 2014 Mike (the Paladin) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, epic-fantasy
I originally set the rating of this book at 4 stars, but decided it needed to be moved up to the 5 star level. I don't find it as good as many of the books I rate 5 stars, but it drew me in and held me tells a story that beats 4 stars. So, without the much lamented 4.5 that so many of us here pine for, I've rated it 5.

So, I like the book and give it the highest rating possible here (albeit noting it's not at the top of my 5 star pile)...what's so good about it? And, if it's not at the top of the
Sep 06, 2010 Felicia rated it liked it
Shelves: epic-fantasy, fantasy
I DUNNNOOOOOO. First, I really enjoyed Brent Weeks' other series A LOT, so I was excited about this coming out, and seeing the blurb about the magic system, I was sooo psyched.

I feel like this series was kinda a throwback to like Eddings and Feist and Jordan and those old-school EPIC fantasy series. I have to admit I wasn't really hooked by the characters as much as I would have liked, but overall I ADMIRE what the author is setting up. I guess my biggest beef, other than really not liking the
David Sven
Well paced. Deceptively complex plot, characters and history. Unique and well defined magic system. Intriguing mysteries to be solved. Rewards those who pay attention to detail, which also gives it reread value to catch those details that were skimmed or dismissed the first time round. Held my attention. Surprised me quite a few times. Thoroughly enjoyable.

The magic system in this book, called Chromaturgy, is second to nothing I’ve read to date – and that includes Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy, w
Sh3lly ✨ Bring on the Weird ✨
Not quite sure how to write this review because so much happened in this book and yet by the end, it started to feel really long, so I'm not sure if I loved it or just liked it? I do feel it could have been shorter, but then again, I'm of the mind that a book just doesn't need to be more than 500 pages (and that's probably too long). I just feel like the details start to get in the way of the meat of the story. I don't know if that makes sense, but that's what happened here. Still, I'm going to ...more
Sep 18, 2015 Brad rated it it was amazing
I truly suspected that I'd fall head-over-heels for the new Brent Weeks trilogy, and I wasn't disappointed in the slightest. If you are in the mood for a great and creative magic system in a very well thought out fantasy world that is so thoroughly steeped in action, melodrama, action, crazy mind-blowing characters, action, and color, then pick this damn book up immediately and thank your lucky stars you did. I'm a fanboy. I cannot wait until I pick up the second book. Oh wait, I have it in my h ...more
Aug 23, 2016 Choko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*** 4.85 ***

A buddy read with Eon and Sarah La Luna @ the Mecca for Fantasy on GR, BB&B!!!

Epic! Not just the genre of Fantasy, but the book itself - EPIC!!! Brent Weeks has taken the torch of Epic Fantasy with some traditional leanings and is finding his way into our hearts and Favorites Book Shelves.... I am in awe of the magical system BW has chosen to base this World on and am fascinated by the different cultures and how their ethnological and physical differences are conducive to one as
Aug 25, 2016 Phrynne rated it really liked it
This was good. In fact it was very good. The magic system was brilliant. So imaginative and holding boundless opportunities.
I struggled just a little with the characters - the deliberate confusion over who is who actually confused me too much. I needed to know who was the good guy and who I should be rooting for. I am just going to have to read the next book to find out!
The story was action packed and fast paced and very hard to put down. A great read!
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
BB&B reread time with Sarah & Choko. Good times!
Jul 22, 2016 lolo' rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Black Prism is a fantasy masterpiece. One of the best books I have ever read.

It pulls you in from the very beginning. And has a very unique magic system that continues to amaze you the farther you get into the books. It has flawed characters. It is action packed. Deals with a lot of politics within The Seven Satrapies. And even war.

The world building in this book is fantastic. You learn about pass wars. You learn about every kingdom in the world whether big or small.

Diverse characters are
The Black Prism is the first installment in Brent Weeks' second series called Lightbringer. It's an Epic Fantasy with some of the typical ingredients you would expect, but all is kind of twisted to the author's unique style and your enjoyment of the book will highly depend on how much that style works for you.

In total we're following 7 characters, 2 of them being the main protagonists, 2 with a decent amount of "screen-time" and 3 with only a few chapters.
The first of the two main characters is
Oct 22, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it
I've never read anything by Weeks before & was pretty impressed. His system of magic was interesting, albeit somewhat confusing at times. Actually, I just went with it when people did magic. Weeks tried hard for a rationale, but there were a few too many rules & ways it was used to make complete sense. I assumed he stayed within them, but doubted it at times. Still, that was minor.

Weeks really impressed me with the realistic aspects of the story. Not only did he have complex, imperfect c
Executive Summary: Overhyped and often very juvenile in places, this book wasn't nearly as good as I was promised, but is far from awful.

Full Review
I really enjoyed The Way of Shadows despite a protagonist I didn't care much for. Largely because of one of the other characters. The rest of that series was far less enjoyable as that character wasn't around as much, and I was forced to deal with a character I didn't like and too many juvenile wish fulfillment scenes.

I found this book to suffer fr
5 Stars

Ok I just finished a reread of this fabulous book to set up moving on with the trilogy. Even though I read it nearly two years ago this fresh fantasy from Weeks was still fresh in my mind. Well, I could not speed read through a second time. It is simply too good and enjoyable to skip or skim. I loved this book.

What makes this special? First it is the amazing characters that Weeks has given us to route for and to empathize with that capture your imagination and your heart. Kip, Gavin, Kar
Oct 08, 2016 Kylie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Man, oh man, oh man. I should have ordered the second book before I even started this one because I need to know what happens. Lies, deceit, betrayal, suspense, magical abilities, political power, battles, a map. This book literally has everything I want from a fantasy novel. Fantastic.
Apr 17, 2015 Hayat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, fantasy
“You have to be a little bad to make history.”

I needed a good solid modern 'Epic' fantasy to sink my teeth into and The Black Prism was one of those books that kept popping up in my GR recommendation list and discussions so decided to find out what all the fuss was about. It turns out this epic fantasy is an intriguing juxtaposition of beauty and ugliness, of love and loyalty scarred by betrayal, hate and vengeance.

“Moments of beauty sustain us through hours of ugliness.”

Gavin Guile is t
Jan 06, 2015 Lee rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
What did I think? I think that Brent Weeks is a very good story teller, but can get carried away with over doing characters. This book should be a solid 4 stars and I should be excited about going into book 2. However, the over writing of the character Kip was a massive turn off for me. Kip is a fat kid living in a village about to have his world turned upside down. He suffers from a lack of confidence, which Weeks uses to massively overdose us with Kips self loathing and self depreciating. It d ...more
Pauline Ross
Fantasy Review Barn

This is one of those authors I’ve been meaning to catch up with for ages, and this finally got to the top of my to-read pile. The opening is snappy - short chapters, lots of action, plenty of background detail that just about stops short of info-dump and a magic system that has me hooked right from the start, even if I don’t quite ‘get’ it yet.

But only a few chapters in, and already there are irritants. One of them is Kip. On the one hand, hurray for a main character who’s not
Petrik Leo
4.5 Stars! rounded up to 5 and boom, goes into my favorite shelves.
(It should've been a complete 5 stars but I'll tell you the con below.)

Before I start with my quite lengthy spoiler-free review, I would like to thank 2 of my fellow Goodreads friend, Sarah (Luna) and Haifoun, for letting me know first to prepare for the extremely slow beginning and that eventually the book will get so much better after the first half.

Let me start my review with the con first.

Dear Orholam (God in this book), for
Apr 15, 2015 Kaitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-sff-faves
Well this book was so different to what I imagined in so many ways, but I have to say for me this series is certainly a great one, and the beginning of it was nothing if not exciting and crazy!

This book is set in a world where the magic is largely focussed on Colour and people's ability not only see different colours, but also to 'draft' (manipulate) them. We have various types of people who live in this world such as the regular citizens, the monochromes, polychromes, the Satripies, the Chromer
Jun 26, 2012 Joe rated it liked it
After reading "The Night Angel Trilogy" I was about to give up on Brent Weeks completely, as well as fantasy as a genre and the planet Earth and all my fellow human beings. Alas, a wizard cast a spell on me when I was young and cursed me with "Benefitium-of-the-doubteus Maximus" that compels me to try and try again. So I found myself wrist deep in another one of Brent Weeks' droppings, searching for the West Indian Lilac that causes so many tummy aches in Triceratops.

Black Prism is over-descript
Marielle Ooms-Voges
Aug 15, 2016 Marielle Ooms-Voges rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Couldn't really connect with Kip, the main character, but it got better throughout the book.
First half were 3 stars to me but to the end it turned to a 4 star book.
Looking forward to reading what happens next...

As far as fantasy goes, each new fantasy title that is released is a shiny and promising volume. As such you really cannot judge the book by its cover, but have to delve into reading about the synopsis and reviews from others. What does it have? A strong magic system (like Brandon Sanderson)? Worldbuilding (like Tolkien)? Or strong characters? Whatever you want in the book you really need to hunt and work out if it has those. The Black Prism had a nice mix of appealing characters (if, like with
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Brent Weeks was born and raised in Montana. After getting his paper keys from Hillsdale College, Brent had brief stints walking the earth like Caine from Kung Fu, tending bar, and corrupting the youth. (Not at the same time.) He started writing on bar napkins, then on lesson plans, then full time. Eventually, someone paid him for it. Brent lives in Oregon with his wife, Kristi. He doesn’t own cats ...more
More about Brent Weeks...

Other Books in the Series

Lightbringer (5 books)
  • The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer, #2)
  • The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3)
  • The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4)
  • Untitled (Lightbringer #5)

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“You might want to think twice before you try to use a man's conscience against him. It may turn out he doesn't have one.” 77 likes
“Moments of beauty sustain us through hours of ugliness.” 70 likes
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