Kaitlyn's Reviews > The Black Prism

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
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's review
Jan 21, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: speculative-fiction, fantasy
Read from January 15 to 21, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

I'm sort of conflicted about this book now. I was wrapped up in the novel as it went on, and as soon as it was over I want want wanted the next (as this is very obviously a series, fantasy books typically are)... but eh. Flaws.

For the first half of the novel I had a hard time keeping track of the different threads of the narrative. As soon as I got comfortable with one it shifted, and rather than feeling like the narrative was advancing I felt jarred out of place. This is partially just a personal thing; I like having just one main character, or at least bigger chunks of narration. But it never bothered me enough to put the book down (or flip to a different book on my Kindle, to be precise.) I just feel like everything was too scattershot. I saw some reviews say that the novel moved excruciatingly slow, and in some ways it is, but I think part of the problem is that Weeks was juggling so many threads he just couldn't get very far into any of them-- a jack of all trades problem.

I actually liked Kip. It's difficult to find non-caucasian characters in fantasy novels and even harder to find "tubby" ones. (Only Shaman's Crossing comes to mind.) The women are beautiful and skilled and smart and just humble enough and we still have a traditional male hero: Gavin Guile, the handsome, very single, very witty, genius, charismatic, etc. etc. etc. (figurehead) leader of the free world and Most Powerful Magician Ever. Course, he has some secrets, so it isn't like he's quite a Gary Stu. They're all likable, for the most part, but not quite alive.

I did like the magic system, though. I know other authors have used a color-based system (like Garth Nix in his Seventh Tower series, which is marketed as a children's book [but which is still pretty much the bee's knees]) but Weeks threw in enough little twists to make it interesting. Actually, now that I think about it, it reminds me of Brandon Sanderson's Allomancy, only with colors of the spectrum substituted for metals.

I'd recommend it, at least to other fantasy fans, and I am def. buying the other books, but this isn't stunning.
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