Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Lightbringer #1

The Black Prism

Rate this book
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. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.

When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he's willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

629 pages, Hardcover

First published August 25, 2010

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Brent Weeks

62 books21.4k followers
In a small-town Montana school at age 12, Brent Weeks met the two great loves of his life. Edgar Allan Poe introduced him to the power of literature to transcend time and death and loneliness. Fate introduced him to The Girl, Kristi Barnes. He began his pursuit of each immediately.

The novel was a failure. The Girl shot him down.

Since then–skipping the boring parts–Brent has written eight best-selling novels with the Night Angel Trilogy and the Lightbringer Series, won several industry awards, and sold a few million books.

Brent and his wife Kristi live in Oregon with their two daughters. (Yeah, he married The Girl.)

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
54,319 (46%)
4 stars
43,249 (36%)
3 stars
14,676 (12%)
2 stars
3,847 (3%)
1 star
1,679 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,966 reviews
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
531 reviews58.6k followers
July 7, 2018
Update: It's a bit sad (but not really surprising) that I have to defend my position after giving multiple examples especially after plenty of other people have come forward and agreed.

I'm not going to argue with people who haven't read the book (seriously?). There's a huge difference between a sexist world/character and a sexist author.

An author is able to create a fantasy world with a different map, magic system, religion but can't help himself and has to respect the status quo about sexism. It's what he knows and he might not even realize it but damn does it get frustrating and frankly boring! In any world (even a sexist one!), there would be at least one person who feels differently.
It's too convenient to excuse it by saying it's "fiction" so yes I will call it out when I see it.

Plenty of authors are able to write well rounded characters from any gender. The opposite sex is not alien. Plenty of authors are able to write characters that are monstrous or sexist without seeming sexist themselves (Don Peters from Sleeping Beauties anyone??).

Every word was a choice. No one forced the author to write about ridiculously debilitating period for the main female character. No one forced him to tell us about how physically attractive each female character was or if their breasts and nipples were satisfying enough.

A simple line with a female character rolling her eyes at a male character for being sexist would have been enough to make me not mention any of this.

Instead we have a main "strong" female character who spends a whole battle in a revealing dress that oh so inconveniently split open at the thigh and is apparently still hung up on a man she hasn't been with in over 15 years! The fact that only men have had an issue with my opinion says it all. Take a second to think about it.


I’m a little torn here.

I really like the ideas in this book. The world and magic system are different and fascinating.
(You will need to push yourself to read the first 100 pages before it gets better. The magic system is confusing until then!)
The writing isn’t the best, same with the dialogues but the sexism is what is ruining it for me.

I could tell you which women are the prettiest in order and who has the best boobs. Literally.

Real descriptions in the book.

Woman who is forty is still beautiful and has nice skin even though she’s starting to have wrinkles. Really? What about the guy next to her? No? He’s fine? Ok.

Woman who is forty has saggy breast. Really? Did I need to know that? Does the man next to her have saggy balls? You won’t tell us that uh? Ok. What's up with the obsession of 40 years old women?!

At one point, one of the main character, Kip, a horny 15 years old insecure fat boy, thinks to himself, after falling, that he seems to spend more time on his back than a whore... who thinks this is funny?!

(Adding one more someone just reminded me of!) During a battle, Kip "falls face first into the cleavage of a woman"... how inconvenient!... I loved how much it added to the story!

What really annoyed me though was the main female character. She is a badass fighter part of the Blackguard and has great magical powers. But the poor girl is insecure about her manly shoulders.
Are you freaking kidding me??!

Anyway I did like the overall story, I'm not sure it truly deserve my 4 stars so I'll reduce it to 3 but I really wanted to love this...I will be continuing the series but I’m disappointed.

Review: https://youtu.be/TkxckLFcKYE?t=3m4s
Profile Image for Regan.
366 reviews109k followers
August 31, 2020

Updated 2020 rating 4.5/4
Profile Image for Andrew Obrigewitsch.
935 reviews123 followers
March 28, 2018
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 feel 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 his belt. The focus on sex is exactly how a 15 year old boy would focus on it. The more than necessary gore in battle scenes is exactly how a 15 year old boy would describe it. The cuss words thrown in at the most awkward places, just to sound cool, the use of teen slang, the way things are described with the focus on the most random things under the situation, for example the focus on womens' breasts in the middle of a battle scene and the way the characters think and act are all exactly how a 15 year old boy would describe it.

I can actually see how Weeks is a very successful fantasy writer as the majority of fantasy fans are males between the ages of 12-22. His books must really speak to them.

But unfortunately I'm a 33 your old male that's lived in other countries outside the U.S., had quite a bit of real life experience and I'm also very well read. I frankly find the way his characters act and the dialogue to be utterly ridiculous and childish. If he were to stop the pretense and admit he writes YA fiction I would not be so harsh and I would give this book 3 stars. Until Weeks does so I have to rate it with other adult books, his books just can't stand up.

Here is an example of the 15 year oldness of the story:

At one point the villain murders over a thousand people, but the hero and main female character are upset by the fact that the hero had a kid 15 years earlier, which means he cheated on her, as they where dating then (but broke up 15 years ago). I mean come on that's way more important then a bunch of innocent people laying dead all around you right? Or maybe in a combat zone you might be thinking of how you don't want to be spotted, as there may be enemies lurking around to find any survivors? Or maybe you might be so disgusted at the over 1,000 decapitated courses, that you can't think of anything else? If you have a 15 year olds mindset and have never seen a dead body, then you might think an over decade old love interest was more important than all these things.

Another example is how Weeks seems to discover a new word that he beats to death throughout the book with it's synonyms, in this one is was vomit. In one of his other books I read it was feces. I remember when I was 12 thinking it was funny to learn a new word that meant vomit too.

P. S. It was still 1,000 times better than Night Angel. But if you only read a few books a year, and are not a male between 12 and 22, go with something else. The Powder Mage Series is better, The Black Company by Glen Cook is far better, anything by Brandon Sanderson is better, and heck if you question wether a book is better or not ask me.
Profile Image for Petrik.
675 reviews43k followers
October 8, 2019
4.5/5 stars

An incredibly original and entertaining start to a memorable high fantasy series.

The Black Prism, the first book in Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks, was one of my first forays into an adult high-fantasy novel. I can’t honestly say that I’ve been a devout follower of this series since its conception; The Black Prism was first published in 2010 and I started this series almost exactly three years ago, all the way back in October 2016; it was near the release date of the fourth book of the series: The Blood Mirror. Now that the fifth and final book of the series, The Burning White, is coming out in less than three weeks, I figure that it’s about time I finally reread this series that I loved before from the beginning again. Why? Because I’ve forgotten TONS of details about it and this reread strongly proved it.

“All power is a test.”

Rereading is always a fascinating experience for me; I won’t lie that I have my share of issues—mostly due to overwhelming TBR and unfinished series I’m stuck in—with the idea of rereading just for the sake of refreshing memories in order to be able to appreciate the next/last book of a particular series. However, statistically speaking, rereading a book/series actually deliver a superior reading experience compared to my first read-through more often than not; The Black Prism is another great example of this situation, and it makes me wish I have more time to re-read many books that I’ve read before. The first time I read through this book, I found the first 200 pages quite a struggle to get through; on my reread, I’m actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the section that I found difficult to read. I can’t pinpoint the exact answer behind this change in reading experience; it could be because I’m a more well-seasoned high fantasy reader compared to before, it could be because I found the learning curve too steep back then, or maybe it’s all simply because I’m on my reread and I have the benefit of hindsight. One thing I can say for sure though is that I can appreciate the intricacies and subtleties of The Black Prism on my reread.

Picture: The Black Prism by breath-art (Jian Guo)

The most important thing you have to know before you read The Black Prism is that there’s a lot of things to learn and remember here, and I’m not just talking specifically about this book. Lightbringer is a high-fantasy series that’s complex, rich in world-building and lore, accompanied by a deeply intricate magic system—Chromaturgy—that, in my opinion, is on par with Sanderson’s. It has been years after I finished reading through the available books of the series, and I don’t think I’ve read many high-fantasy series that made the implementation of their magic system so undeniably crucial to every aspect of the world as much as this series does. From the plot progression, combat scenes, weaponry, infrastructure, method of transportations, and many more; it’s frankly mandatory that you, as a reader, understand how the magic system actually works. The downside to all of this would be that if this is your first time reading through this novel, the first 200 pages might end up being a bit of a learning curve because Weeks’ method of exposition can be a bit info-dumpy but necessary; I strongly advise you to persevere through it, the rest of the book is so worth the learning curve that gradually gets easier as the story progressed.

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

You may find yourself shocked and entertained by several revelations in The Black Prism and if you do enjoy those, believe me when I say that the first book was just a glimpse of Weeks’ talent as a great storyteller. Lightbringer is, in my opinion, one of the most well-plotted series I’ve ever read; I can’t think of many series that constantly made me skip my heartbeat. This is high-level plot crafting, I didn’t realize how many hints and subtleties for the big revelations in the next installments were embedded already in this book. Plus, the main characters introduced in The Black Prism were characters that never stops developing throughout the whole series; in both journey and mentality. Gavin Guile, Kip, Karris, Ironfist, and Liv—whether you love or hate them is a different story—were well-realized characters that I found to be compelling and entertaining to read.

Let’s take two of the main characters, Gavin Guile and Kip, as an example. Gavin can be considered as Gary Stu; he’s the Prism—the most powerful man in the world. Plus, he’s also full of wit and charm that makes everyone heads over heels for him. But the rules of the world applied don’t make him an immortal being; every Prism has a limit to their lifespan, he’s also not safe from weaknesses and he does make mistakes. On the opposite spectrum, we have Kip, a fat teenager who constantly self-loathe and self-bash his own weight. I know that many readers have voiced their complaints about Kip’s self-loathing behavior and dirty thoughts, but I personally think that Weeks’ captured the personality of a teenager going through puberty quite spot-on through him; Kip’s upbringing and the way he was treated also influenced his present behaviors greatly. I loved how each of the characters’ past in the book matters to their developments; the juxtaposition in the interaction between the characters and the way their relationships developed and influenced by their past and current circumstances were superbly done.

“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 methodically structured momentum building eventually leads to a glorious well-written battle sequence that concludes the first book in the Lightbringer series delightfully. With engaging politics, great characterizations, immersive world-building, and a colorful magic system full of consequence and rules reminiscent of Sanderson’s Warbreaker in both intricacies and qualities; The Black Prism signified the start of a heart-pounding high fantasy series to remember. I plan to spend the next WEEKS of OctoBRENT rereading this series, so I’ll be jumping into The Blinding Knife immediately.

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
Author 1 book358 followers
February 28, 2017
You know you are reading a masterpiece when out of 95 chapters and 5 different POVs, not even one is slightly 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, improving not only his prose and narration but his imagination as well.

"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 Black Prism is absolutely a work of art. The world-building is exceptional, the magic is system complex yet easy to understand, and the characters are well crafted and masterfully developed. The real gem of the book though is the story itself. If i had to explain what "Epic Fantasy" means, The Black Prism would be my example.

A thing that characterizes all of Brent's work is the tremendous mix of fun and action, giving you a laughing fit at the most inappropriate of times. Worth mentioning is the juggling of several compelling and intertwining POVs with a straightforward prose, while the subaqueous qualities of the facture contextualize not only the characters but the society's structure as well.

If you call yourself a fantasy fan, The Black Prism should be the next book in your TBR list.

You can find more of my reviews over at http://BookNest.eu/
Profile Image for carol..
1,537 reviews7,879 followers
September 13, 2020
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 black cover! The half-hidden silhouette! The bold text! Impress yourself much?

It is Epic, "epic" with an intentionally capitalized 'E.' This is a book that wants to dominate your shelves, expand into a series and crowd out all the others. Weeks has built a blocky but solid foundation that will no doubt carry him a Jordanian expanse. This is Epic Crank, with one damn crisis after another, and if they can't all fit into book one, well, surely they'll show up in books two, three and four. There's no shortage of conflict large and small: An almost-orphan with a drug addict mother, a village rebelling against a ruler, a woman caught between two brothers, an occupied city, an unfulfilled prophecy for a world, a religious revolution. Brothers fighting for their father's approval. Magical tests. Deception. Bandits. Isolation, social and physical. Magic and madness. Discovering inner potential. A siege. A country made up of kingdoms only nominally working together. A school of magic that may be rotting from within.

Familiar ingredients, and I dare say that there isn't much original with them, beyond composing the story around an unique and interesting magic system--and throwing the entire kitchen sink into one book. I'm sure you've heard all about how 'light' forms the basis of magic, and it is one of the concepts that sets this book apart. Magic users get so many opportunities to use that magic before it drives them insane, or at least that's how the canon goes. Some users on the other team are giving madness a shot, one of the more interesting plot lines in the book.

What I did discover is that Weeks can write an engrossing story when he stops jumping around different characters, ala Night Angel, and gets to the business of writing. Here he limits himself to Kip, the orphan boy; Gavin, the most powerful magic-user in the land and spiritual head of the religion; Karris, a magic user and top-notch fighter; Liv, Kip's tutor, fellow townie and daughter of a famous traitor; and one other spoilery character that seems to be crazy. I know that's a lot of people, but it's a score less than the Night Angel series, so I counted myself lucky. I could just about tell exactly where the plot was headed and I read anyways--that's how fast-paced it is, and how good Weeks is at sucking one in. It's just the thought of committing to that big fat book and it's subsequent followers that leaves me shying away.

It's Epicness will surely meet most Epic-readers needs, and that it will meet my Epic needs if I discover I have them in the future. It certainly moved quickly, was engaging and the magic ideas were interesting, especially as users reached the end of their lifespans and chose actions accordingly. The identity-catechism ambiguity--which was only a side point of this book--seems promising. As an aside, the writing didn't annoy me, although it didn't necessarily soar either.

Gavin was by far the most interesting character, a multifaceted jewel of complexity, and most of the depth is spent on him. It was worth it, and while he was the character I was ready to hate, by the end I think he was rather admirable. Kip, alas, does not fare as well and seems surprisingly modern whiny for a doughy (wasn't he penniless?), tradeless, drug-user's boy who is clearly A Speshul Snowflake. It rather feels like channeling modern Garion; one minute sulky pouting, the next adolescent hormones and the next all snark. In this case, it seems clearly the fault of the writing, which usually picks one of the three traits to emphasize and doesn't let him color far outside those lines. Karris is WonderWoman, except that she needs to be saved after she sinks into The Pit of Despair, and poor young Liv is being set up by Bad Guys on Both Sides, I can just tell, although she also has an interesting complexity of motivations. But I foresee that the general characterization of women will piss me off in the future, given that Week's already spoiled Karris by making her into one big ball of trope.

There's lots to love for Epic fans; I just don't seem to be an Epic Fan right now. I put it down a number of times because I just couldn't take its demands.

This may indeed be the series that modern Epic Fans were waiting for, but I confess, I only remotely care. Someday, I'll have an Epic need, and I'll surely pick up the second. But I've got a few other higher priority books first.

Three and a half stars.

Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2013/0...
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,978 followers
April 9, 2020
Update 4/8/20:

Yet another re-read! Yes! Three times now!

Could I be a fanboy? Possibly? Maybe even more so after reading the fifth book recently? Wanting to revisit the entire series from the start?

Yep. And I LOVED it. Again. So many changes. So many plot twists. So MUCH. To. Love.

Not to mention how beautiful all the visualizations are. It's like this book was written just for me to see in my mind. :)

Update 10/15/17
Re-Read with buddies!
This is one of my favorite epic fantasy series ever and upon re-reads, I'm hardly in a position to recant. Especially now. I'm still thrilled as hell. :)

I can't quite tell whether I love the magic system or the characters more. I absolutely love the smartass "Kip the lip" fat kid whiner turned badass, but it's Gavin Guile that really steals the show. Has there ever been such a complicated character in existence? Charming, devious, uber-powerful, totally evil and absolutely on the side of good all at once. What the hell is he? Ah, but I've read the whole series and I know it just gets better and better, but this first book is utterly kickass.

It's almost pure action, gorgeous colorful magic system, bigger-than-life characters, and best of all, it's probably one of the most fun books I've ever owned. I've raved about it to everyone I know. For good reason. :)

Still fantastic? You better believe it!

Original review:

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 hands and I'm typing this out with only one hand. Now I've put the book in my mouth so I can keep typing. This hurts, some, because the book is so wonderfully thick and if I ever thought that I might have been getting less than my money's worth, then I'm an idiot.
Did I mention this fantasy is a fast-paced action full of twists and gorgeous colors throughout? This novel is what happens when a novelist's imagination is much, much bigger than any hope that the story could ever be made into a movie or an anime and will give the reader all of the scope and power to vision it all in as much glory as he or she likes. And I liked, Oh, yes, I liked it a lot. It's different from most fantasy novels, although it may not seem so from these words; in that it allows magic to be big, heroes to be big, and then let them be bigger and more complex and even downright evil while being good at the core at the same time. That's as close to a spoiler as I'm going to get. You'll see within a few hundred pages what I'll mean by this, and then be surprised several more times, again.
My only complaint at this point will be in waiting for the third book, because it's not going to be long before I finish the Blinding Knife. Brent Weeks has done it again and ranks up there with my very favorite Fantasy novels of all time. :)
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
235 reviews3,111 followers
April 2, 2022
A strong entry to a series with a fun magic system, but falters towards the end

Check out my new youtube channel where I show my instant reactions to reading fantasy books seconds after I finish the book.

The Black Prism is a very good book that showed incredible promise through the first half. It leaves me frustrated because the back half of the book has some significant faults that hurt what would have otherwise been an incredible book.

The magic system in this book is incredibly unique and fun. It's hard to create a good magic system, but Brent Weeks really knocked it out of the park. It nicely blends simple and complex, and is truly innovative. I'm very interested in learning more about it as the books progress.

The plot is very well done, and I find myself very interested to find out more about what these characters are going through. Without spoiling anything, one plot thread specifically revolved around someone imprisoned, and I absolutely love where that story is taking the reader.

I also really appreciated that the main hero of this book is an unlikely hero that is described as being unattractive and fat. I didn't realize until I read this that it's grown stale on me to have the heroes be the best looking, the strongest, and the fastest. It's refreshing to hear about a regular person being thrust into this, who has serious insecurities.

Unfortunately, the pacing of this book felt off to me. Right off from the start the book starts out too quickly and doesn't give the reader a calming period where we learn about the world. I'm thinking back to all my favorite fantasy series, and even the extremely complex ones share in common a slow start to the book. This ultimately cheapened what might have otherwise been a great ending to the book, because it didn't feel like a finale, it just felt like more of the same.

I also am disappointed that the main twist in this book comes far too early in the series, coming in at about the 1/3 mark in the first book. The twist is so amazingly good, and really flips the entire book on it's head. But it would have been so much more appreciated to hear about it at the end of the book, or even a future book, and make the reader question everything they read and have a monumentally higher shock value.

Ultimately I think this book was well done and I'm excited to read what more Brent Weeks has for me in this story.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,469 reviews9,632 followers
June 10, 2017
Let me write a short review here and then do a side note.

I loved the characters of Kip and Gavin and a few others. I really want to continue on with their story and see where it goes. Especially when I read the part about Gavin and his brother. Uh, mind blown.

There was a part at the beginning of the book that just put me off (and don't ask) and I'm just getting irritated with stuff like that.

Soooooo many of my friends love these books and some are just okay with them. I do have the other current books but I don't know if I'm going to continue.

Side Note

Here's the thing. The other day I got mad and took a ton of my books that I have read and haven't read and mom took me to the used bookstore 5 minutes from our house and we traded in books and toys for money that I need and trade credit. Which I got some horror books and mom got some thrillers but she will read my horror as well.

This side note is about either me being too old (115) and changing my ideas about books or I'm just getting ill from reading too much of the same genre. I read ALL genre's people and I appreciate those that like my reviews even if it's not your genre. Maybe that's what got me on this book. Maybe I need to read more of my horror books, graphic novels, ya books, fluffy books, smut, memoirs. I really don't know. I got mad and put this book and the others I own in the trade in pile then took more off my shelf to to put in the trade in pile. I figure if I'm only liking something or feel like I'm not going to read it again then I'm getting rid of it and keeping what I love and getting multiple copies of the different books covers. I currently have 19 bookcases, if I counted right and it's just too much.

You know I might feel I need to continue on with this series and see where it goes with Kip and other people in the books. If so then there is the library. I just really don't know what's going on.

End Of Side Note

I know that had nothing to do with the book review as a whole but it's just something I needed to say because maybe I would have liked this book more at a different time. And I am soooooooooooooooooooooooo freaking happy half of my friends loved it and people I don't know loved it. For me, I just fell flat. I don't really think it was the book. I think I fell flat. I might take a stab at them later because like I said before I enjoy some of the characters but I just don't know and I hate this feeling. Sigh . . .

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
841 reviews3,773 followers
February 15, 2021

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 (yet).

2) There's no gentle way to say it, so : you morph into a moron. What? How would you call it? You laugh when you're supposed to be shocked, and there's this little ironic martial tune playing in your head every time a plot point is revealed (usually by slapping you straight in the face)

Special award to the You Have A Kid Note. It was fabulous.

3) Because being a moron is not enough, you'll also know this appalling sociopathic moment, that we'll call the Can You Just Die I don't Care symptom. Apply it to every fucking character. If you snarl at every word they utter, you might be more touched than I thought.

4) You start playing a game named This is.... Convenient/Stupid/Anticlimactic/WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS (strike the odd one out)

5) You feel old. Like very, very old, because somehow you're convinced that this book has been written by a 13 years old.

1) DNF

2) DNF and rate it, because you don't like when people make up rules for your hobby.

You're welcome.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Dana Ilie.
404 reviews347 followers
May 2, 2018
This is a book that I would highly recommend due to its commitment to the pace and knowledge of further books to come. The Black Prism ends on a cliffhanger that sets up the next book quite well. I definitely look forward to returning to the colorful (so clever) world that Brent Weeks has created. The writing is good, the characters engaging and realistic, and the way magic is used is not only unique in its utilitarian application but also the variety of ways in which it is utilized.
Profile Image for Samantha.
417 reviews16.7k followers
May 21, 2020
I went into this book knowing very little besides that it's a well loved series and the magic is based on colors. We follow about 5 different characters throughout the book, with 2 being the real main characters: Gavin and Kip. The book drops you into the world and the story without much explanation for anything, so it took me some time to figure out the ins and outs of the world. The magic, while interesting, was something I also wasn't really able to visualize until towards the end of this first book. This first book is largely setup of the world and introduction to the characters, and placing those characters into interesting scenarios that will play out for the rest of the series.

Kip is.... frustrating to read about. He's 15 years old, and acts like it! Which I guess is good writing but also makes him hard to root for, especially because he's not really rooting for himself through most of the book. He's also a bit of a male version of a Mary Sue. The magic system in this world is complex and challenging, with a school to teach it, and yet Kip can do a lot of it based on innate ability since he comes from a power family of these magic users. The book kind of tries to explain this by saying the "will" to do something is the most important, but honestly, he's doing some incredible things with no training at all and that challenged my suspension of disbelief.

Additionally, Kip is a fat character and wow is this book fat-phobic. I don't always notice when a book has fat phobic language or if I do, the scenes are minimal enough that it doesn't impact the story for me. Kip's weight is brought up throughout the story and painted as one of the reasons he's a "failure." Additionally, there are other side characters described throughout as fat in such an over the top way. One scene went on and on about a woman's fatness, her chin, her arms, that she was a whale, a leviathan... the book beat you over the head with how disgusting it found fatness. I have never read a book with this much focus on body size. It actually brought down the enjoyment for me because it was so prevalent. I also don't think the book likes it's female characters that much, although I've heard this improves as the series goes on. The women in this word as allegedly more magically powerful, but the way they are written frequently takes away their agency and doesn't really depict them as having much power, with a few exceptions. The writing of the women seemed to improve throughout even this book, so I hope that continues throughout the series.

Our other main character, Gavin, became someone that I really rooted for by the end of the book. He is facing a lot of interesting dilemmas and I enjoy the people he surrounds himself with as well. His relationships with others as well as his relationship with his past make him a very compelling person to read about.

As I mentioned earlier, this book set up a lot of things for the rest of the series that will be much more interesting than this book was for me. I do plan to continue with this series.

I will have a video review and discussion on my channel as well.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
May 6, 2020
What Brent Weeks has painted here is nothing short of marvellous.

It’s a beautifully rich fantasy universe with an awe-inspiring amount of world-building and colour behind it. There’s just so much detail that truly brought the world to life for me.

The Black Prism has a fantastic magic system. I thought Brandon Sanderson was the only writer of fantasy who could create such cool and intricate systems. I was wrong. Brent Weeks’ system based on colour and light can match anything Sanderson has put together. And that’s a real feat in and of itself because Sanderson is the best in the business. The magic is categorised into different subcategories and styles based on the colours wielded by the user. It’s straightforward and it’s very clever. The balance is perfect.

Kip is not your typical hero. He is fat, uneducated and quite ordinary but in his veins flows a power he has not quite come to terms with. So, it was great to see him grow as a character as he learnt the extent of his abilities and where they stem from. He still has a very long way to go, but I think his future will be certainly interesting and dramatic. How could it not be? He is the bastard of the Lord Prism, Gavin Guile, the most powerful magic user in the world. Gavin’s life is not quite as simple as it would seem, however. He harbours a secret that would shake the world if it was revealed. Secrets always have a way of being exposed though, so finding out how and when this will come out is one of the main reasons I want to carry on reading. It’s explosive stuff.

The plot is loaded with secrets and conspiracy all because of one man’s secret identity. And it really made the story intense. It won’t be long before Gavin’s greatest enemy, his brother Dazen, breaks free and shatters his world. He will want revenge, and I can’t say I blame him. He has been wronged and imprisoned and he will be out for blood. And so far, I have found his character far more dynamic than any others because he is shrouded in mystery. We have only seen glimpses of him and I’m looking forward to learning more about his story and exactly what happened. As I said, there’s lots of secrets here. There’s also something more at play, I just know it.

My reading experience with this one was largely positive; however, there were a few moments where the plot slowed down too much, as the characters pondered over their past and future decisions. I think, though, as time goes on the series will get a little sharper. I have a good feeling about where this is all going. The tone was still being set here and relationships being established. It’s only just getting started. So please be warned: this is a slow burner. It takes it’s time to build up to the conclusion and its careful in doing so. This is not a quick read; it’s loaded with history and detail despite the flashes of action that make it feel like a different sort of book at times.

One thing I want to mention here is Brent Weeks’ prose. I feel like I need to because one of the main criticisms levelled at this book is its apparently poor prose. Let me say that I have no problems with it. I loved the descriptions of colour and the narrative flowed smoothly. This is all very good so far, a strong opener, but I have a strong feeling it’s going to get much better as the plot and characters develop.

I’m reading this as part of the #LightbringerSeriesReread as organised by Orbit UK. Be sure to follow the hashtag on twitter for more updates from myself and other readers.

For now, though, I’m moving straight onto the second book, The Blinding Knife.



You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for Nicole.
732 reviews1,838 followers
September 7, 2021
2.5 stars

I've been wanting to read this book for the longest time and sadly, while I clearly see the potential, I'm disappointed. I was excited when it got picked as the book of the month in the book club I'm in because I finally had the motivation to read it. It checked all the marks yet the sexism, a good portion of the characters, and the inconsistent pace affected my reading experience negatively.

The best thing about this book is definitely the magic system. It's unique and well-developed. It deserves the praise because it's certainly one of the best I've come across. I love magic with rules. Nowadays, it simply something I expect every new fantasy release to have. Magic limits were vague before but this genre has evolved a lot that such a thing is no longer acceptable. It was very well executed here and imaginative. It also takes a toll on the person practicing it. I always appreciate that (even if I don't need it to be there in books).

Sadly though, I was also bored a lot during it and we had too many detailed descriptions for my liking. I found the pace inconsistent since I'd be enjoying a few chapters then it becomes so dull then a few interesting chapters but not for long.. on and on. This made me take longer than I should to finish. As for the details, I was never a fan for those thorough descriptions and they were abundant here. The technicalities were just a blur to me that sometimes I reread the page and yet I couldn’t focus at all. I eventually skimmed over those paragrahs..

I fail to understand the good reviews this book receives in the fantasy community. How can they turn a blind eye to the sexism? Or worse yet, ignore it completely in their reviews? I know women aren't best represented in high fantasy books especially because of the male-gazing but still, this book took it to another level with its sexist remarks and unnecessary details. To make it worse, girls and women here just agreed or even said something themselves. It was not condemned in way to make it okay. What shocked me even more was learning that his editor was a woman! How was she okay with all that? How did those comments make it through the many rounds of editing in year 2010 is beyond me. The crude humour and sexist jokes/descriptions disgusted me. It reminded of the fan service in anime.

Since I’m writing this review over a month after reading the book, I no longer remember the characters names except for a few. The character I liked best was Gavin. He certainly grew on me and while he still bored me sometimes, I still found his arc the most interesting. As for Kip, how anyone can like him is beyond me. Ironically, I pitied him at first but then he started getting on my nerves. He annoyed me a lot the more I read. The rest of the cast were meh/uninteresting except for D?? His characterisation was nice and he was a decent person. Liv’s ?? part however felt totally unnecessary to me since she didn’t add anything to the story.

Some things weren’t explained/too abrupt. For example, a character does something and thinks “I need to do this before tomorrow” but then doesn’t and the subject doesn’t come up again. The deaths of characters were superficial and I didn’t feel them, probably because the protagonists quickly moved on.

Overall, I’m glad I finally read this book since it’s one of the last few big fantasy titles left on my tbr. I can say other than the magic system, it certainly doesn’t deserve the praise. The idea behind this book is a good one but a lot of aspects of the book affected it negatively. I will probably be reading the sequel since I am still interested in knowing what’s going to happen next (after that ending which was the best part of the book). I’m still willing to give Weeks a chance since I mostly enjoyed the Way of Shadows. He does have a mind for fantasy storytelling but only once to see if his style has evolved since (but I doubt it).

Profile Image for Luna. ✨.
92 reviews1,215 followers
May 8, 2017
This book gets all the stars in the universe !


[image error]

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 this book was heading. After having the magic system explained to me by a friend and now have decided that I loved this book so much... Words can't even describe the feels I have for this book.
I will try my hardest to not spoil anymore people reading this review.

PLOT : full of twists, half the things that happened in this books did not see coming !
The action is fantastic! When you read about a war or a battle you want it to be descriptive so you imagine yourself there with the characters. This is exactly what you get from this book, the battles go on for chapters and are very descriptive (which is super important to me) Brent weeks also doesn't go easy on the details so if blood and guts isn't your thing, STAY AWAY !

This is definitely a 5 star book for me and has made it into my top three best books ever, you know your reading a great book when you can't stop crying because you don't want it to end :')

Seriously put whatever your reading down and read this now!!! You will not be disappointed !
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Celeste.
908 reviews2,342 followers
November 27, 2016
Well, Brent Weeks, you got me. You sucked me in to your polychromatic world, and now I’m going to have to read everything else you’ve written. The Black Prism is the first book in the Lightbringer series, an epic fantasy series with a color-based magic system. There was a truly varied and interesting cast of characters: Kip, a chubby, awkward teenager who has always been a bit of an outcast; Gavin Guile, the Prism and the Most Interesting Man in the World; and Karris, Gavin’s smoking hot bodyguard with mad skills and a bruised heart. There’s also a misguided student who has Kip drooling over her, a retired general, another Blackguard bodyguard who is as funny as he is immense, and a mysterious prisoner who is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

The characters made this story for me. I felt so much sympathy for poor, awkward Kip, but he also made me laugh and surprised me with his bravery. Gavin is just about one of the most attractive men I’ve ever read. He’s got sass and personality and kindness and determination oozing from his pores. Ironfist and Karris and Corvan were all fantastic, as well. Weeks did a great job crafting characters that I cared about. Also, I really appreciated that Weeks made warrior women so prevalent in his Blackguard and throughout his world that his central female-warrior character didn’t stand out just because she was a woman who could fight; she stood out because she was fierce and beautiful and was simply better and badder than many of her compatriots. That’s feminism, right there.

The magic system in this book was really unique. When I first started reading, the magic seemed kind of cheesy to me, to be honest. Color doesn’t seem like the most brutal basis for magic, does it? But I was wrong! The differences between the luxin of each color, and the different personality traits exhibited by each color’s drafters, were really intriguing. And getting into the differences between monochromes, bichromes, polychromes, and a Prism gives a reader a lot of food for thought. Also, Big Jasper, the island-city that is home to the Chromeria school, sounds absolutely gorgeous. I think that Heaven might look a bit like Big Jasper.

All in all, this was a fantastic read. It is definitely not a stand-alone, though. Should you choose to read it, make sure you have access to the second volume. Because the end of the book definitely leaves you hanging. One of the few things I dislike about fantasy is the plethora of cliffhangers that dominates the genre, but that just means that there’s more for me to read! Overall, I would give this a 4.5 out of 5, and will round that up to 5 stars here on Goodreads. A fantastic start to what I hope will be a fantastic series.
Profile Image for Crys Harris.
270 reviews
January 8, 2011
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 care for the characters. Gavin Guile is the most interesting, but not enough to really carry the story. Kip is alternately boring and pitiful. His dual personality makes absolutely no sense. He is either mouthing off or quivering with fear. You can reconcile either quality with his awful upbringing, but both living in the same body is crazy. Abused kids either have a huge chip on their shoulder or they are quiet and self-effacing, even shy. Not both. Karris? Who cares? She inspires no sympathy at all. Carrying a torch for a powerful man for 15 years and still being so angry about it is ridiculous, childish, and irritating.

Lots of people have talked about the book's magic system. I can almost get it, especially as Weeks spends a lot of time trying to explain it. But manipulating light with will in order to manifest it in the physical word is a huge stretch. Light + plastic != bridge building

I continue to press-on, skimming when I get too annoyed.

I finished it. Eh. Not impressed.
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 47 books128k followers
September 6, 2010
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 kid lead, was that the magic system was super confusing at first, and I had to really work at figuring out what was going on and how to visualize the mechanics, which is weird because a magic system based on COLOR seems to be one that should be most easy to visualize.

I appreciate the way the author was trying to avoid the cliches and walk in the "grey" area of the fantasy genre, which is very popular right now, but I dunno if that might be the reason I didn't glom onto rooting for a character as much as I usually do. I will read the next, interesting thing were set up that I want to see play out.
Profile Image for Dana.
105 reviews18 followers
October 11, 2012
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 confusion or starbursts of inspiration. The Black Prism had me thinking and feeling to such extremes that medication was called for; valium, lithium, and aspirin in turn.

I had a love/hate, bipolar friendship with so many characters in this book that I would have finished it out of self defense even if it had been 1800+ pages. You don't purely love (or hate) real people, and the best book characters are the same. Gavin, Dazen, Karris, Liv, and especially Kip himself, had me either disgusted with one of their choices, or cheering for them like a fool.

* My only real complaint was that the 'simple-minded Kip' thing recieved one or two references too many. It bordered on annoying right before it stopped.*

The best thing to be said of this book is about the ending. This was one the the most inspired, creative, and HOLY $h!t!!! endings to a story that I have read in quite some time. Some authors con, wheedle, or seduce you at the end with just enough of the cliffhanger aspect to get you to pick up the next book. Good ol' Brent black-jacked me in the side of the head with the substantial weight of the hardcover of this book, kicked me in the ribs while I was down, and then jumped atop me and bellowed in my face, "You will buy the next installment of The Lightbringer Series, or suffer my wrath!"

**Warning: If you find that the sci-fi-ish basis for the luxin concept is confusing to you, you have only yourself to blame because you didn't listen to your chemistry teacher in high school. The premise of the magic in this world is really easy once you have read about 4 key pages out of a 100 level Chem book. Take the time to read it and you will feel like a genius! ;)**

On a side note:

I took some time and read a few of the reviews by others and I am really, Really, REALLY sick of everyone comparing this book to Weeks' Night Angel Trilogy! My friends, it is a new series; new characters, different flavor of writing, and in reality it is even a different sub-genre of fiction. Jeesh! If you liked Night Angel so much, read that again. Don't deduct stars just because it wasn't Night Angel. I'm almost sure you were aware of that when you read 'The Black Prism' on the cover. :)
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,819 followers
October 24, 2014
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 5 star category, where does it fall (a bit) short?

Well, first of all the worst thing about this book is....that the next (second) volume of this trilogy is nowhere in sight along the literary horizon. I know, I've searched. I put off reading this for a long time fearing exactly this situation. Having read the The Night Angel Trilogy and liked it, I suspected I'd like this one. However where I bought the entire Night Angel trilogy in an omnibus and read it straight through...I'm now into another series, at the mercy of a writer, his agent, editor, publisher and whoever else may be involved. How many series am I stuck in the middle of? I dare not think about it.

Oh well. Let us move on.

The book starts out well jumping into the story and laying a bit ground work we will need for the "plot devices" and the magical system.

There are in this book a LOT of stereotypical characters and plot devices or points. But, don't let that statement mislead and give you a negative idea. It would be all but impossible (if not totally impossible) to come up with a genuinely brand new plot and or character. Most any you can think of have already been thought of and used before. The key is to use them in original ways and make it interesting. Mr. Weeks does that.

(I won't mention any of these "tropes" [I hate to use the word "trope", it's so over used and misused...however it's probably the best choice in this case]...tropes, here as that would entail spoilers.)

The magic system in this book is relatively original (I've seen magic systems based on color/colors before (Brandon Sanderson recently had one in a popular book). Still I'd say this is a direct magic system with enough logic to hold together while also having enough openendedness to be built on later. In other words the colors each have their own properties but there's room for some surprises later. (Note there are a few glitches in his spectrum use, but nothing to be upset about. I remember spotting one that niggled at me at the time, but I've forgotten the specifics now).

Moving on to plot and characters...well as I said you'll recognize some plot points from other (some well known) works. The characters are fairly well drawn and while maybe not as deep as some would like I find them to my taste and that they fit well into the book, it's world and it's situations. My one gripe might be with Kip, one of our main characters. Without giving details I'll simply say that he's a 15 year old youth of a peasant village who has had to fend for himself at least somewhat for years. Yet still for a long time he acts a bit spoiled and strikes me as acting more like a 12 or even 10 year old than a 15 year old. In a society of the type we find here a 15 year old would be a young man (at least).

The book does lay out a mildly intricate story with well drawn characters that will (I believe) draw you in and...quite probably hook you. Which means you will, like me, end it restraining yourself from the use of foul language (or in some of your cases possibly not restraining yourself) as you realize that there is now the wait for volume 2 and after that volume 3...

Uhhh....Mr. Weeks, I'm not a young man anymore. Try not to take too long, okay????

Good book, recommended, enjoy.

***************** Spoilers Below Line ******************

Again, I like it. I recommend it. Enjoy.
Profile Image for Mpauli.
157 reviews458 followers
January 26, 2016
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 Kip. Kip is an over-weight 15 year old who lives in a small town called Rekton in Tyrea. Tyrea is one of 7 satrapies that make up a huge nation.
The spiritual leader of this nation is Gavin, the Prism. He is the most powerful wizard of the land and can wield all different kinds of colors.
Colors? Yes, Brent Weeks uses a very interesting magic system based on 7 primary colors, each with slighly different attributes. Most mages can only use one or two colors and a few can use even more. I don't want to go into too much detail about the magic system, cause one of the fun things of the book is to learn that system during the novel.

In addition to the male main heroes Kip and Gavin, Weeks gives us two female heroines as well, but they are less prominent characters.
Karris White Oak is one of the Blackguard, an elite force of bodyguards charged with protecting the Prism. Her relationship to the prism is complicated, cause they were actually betrothed in the past.
Last, but not least we have Liv, who is a student at the Chromeria, the large spiritual center of the nation, where the Prism resides and the drafters, that's what mages are called here, are schooled. Originally she's from the same village Kip comes from.

As you might see from the setup with a teenage boy from a village and a powerful sorcerer, we tread on familiar Epic Fantasy ground, although the author tries to spin the usual tropes a bit.
The world-building and the magic system are intriguing and were some of my favorite parts of the book.
Unfortunately, the other parts weren't without flaws for me. My main complaint with the book is the actual writing style. When it's good it is very staright forward, but when it's bad, then it seems really clumsy.
Too often Weeks looses himself in endless descriptions of trivial things. A broom closet can be described in 3 pages, and the way he describes motion can be very tedious. There are outstretched arms that pull water away...thanks I know how swimming works. "He swam" would have been fine.
With over 600 pages this book is fairly long and for my taste a few less of these descriptions would have worked in favor of the novel.
A second thing is internal monologue. There are scenes like this: "Kip didn't want to stare at her chest now for the second time. Third time. Stop staring, maybe only a final fourth time. Oops five."
This is not an actual quote, but it's very close. Especially the word "Oops" is used a couple of times.
This all comes from one effort. Brent Weeks wants to use humor constantly. But he's not writing a parody (actually I think this could have been a great 350p parody, if he would have embraced it).
Where other authors use singular characters for comic relief, Weeks uses every single one of his main cast and thus hurts their credibility.
And it gets worse. Another thing he really likes is ultra-brutal over-the-top violence out of nowhere. The novel, especially with how silly, snarky and funny every character is, often reads like a very light-hearted PG 13 book. But then, all of a sudden, heads are rolling, limbs are chopped of and there is violence for a short amount of time...and then everything goes back to normal.
Kip sees a lot of violence in the beginning, but only 1-2 days after that female breasts and snarky one-liners are all he can think about. As a reader I never had the feeling that the violence really got to the characters, neither if they were on the receiving or giving end.
Imagine an episode of Grey's Anatomy where Meredith and Christina are chatting about boys, then an axe murderer runs into the hospital, kills and mutilates 50 people, is then killed brutally by Meredith with a scalpel and 5 minutes later while his entrails are still over her coat, she says to Christina: "This McDreamy guy is hot, isn't he?"

So, overall the book lacks decisiveness in my opinion. The balance between description and plot doesn't work well, the decision if it is humorous or serious is often answered with "Whatever the author was in the mood for" and therefore the characters lack focus as well and are torn between roles.
I think Weeks had good intentions and wanted to play with tropes, but for me his execution doesn't work.
I haven't read his first series, so if you are a fan of the Night Angel books and don't have so many stylistic issues as I have, then I think you will enjoy this book, cause -as I said- your enjoyment will highly depend on how much you like the author's style.
It isn't a hopeless case and the plot is solid, the world-building is very good and although this read was only okay for me, I'm going to continue with the series, but not just right away.
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews603 followers
February 13, 2018
This book is so slow at the beginning, almost nothing happened for the first 200 pages, before things picked up and revelations started blowing my mind. I didn’t like the way the author explains the magic system, when you’re reading a very interesting part of the book and one of the characters starts drafting(i.e the magic), the author will stop the dialogue and start explaining the magic, that was done throughout the book, I still don’t know the limits of the magic. The battle scenes in this book are astounding, I love even single one of them, especially that of Karris.

Magic System
This is very complex, its a bit complex than that of Brandon Sanderson, it was not well explained which made some parts quite confusing, I understand most parts of how the magic works apart from the transportation, that part is still unclear to me. The magic is use for everything, buildings, clothings' weapons and transportation. The magic caste is divided into four, someone that can draft one colour is known as a monochrome, two biochrome, three polychrome and all seven colours a Prism. Colours are used for magic like Biochroma in Warbreaker but colours are used more here.

World building and Writing
The author did an amazing job with the world, especially the Chrometia, I really like the way the author depicted that, Garriston, Rekton and the rest are not bad either. The book is written in third person multiple POVs of very interesting characters, its comprehensible with amazing dialogues.

The Guile brothers: Gavin Guile is the emperor and priest of the seven Satraps, he is also a Prism, he had ruled for 16 years so far and is almost at the end of his reign. Gavin is quite a jovial guy, knows his way with politics and battles. Dazen is Gavin’s younger brother, and also the better brother in my opinion, despite his past.

Kip is a 15 year old, whose life got turned upside down after a major revelation and an ordeal. Even at that he still weathered it and came out a stronger and better person. Kip has a very low self esteem partly cause he is fat and also cause of his mother.

Karris is the badass female character, despite her being 32, everyone talks about her beautiful she is, I love her so much. She is neither bitchy nor annoying, she is confident without being rude and kind.

Liv, I loathe her, I want her to just die, from the first time she was introduced in the book, I knew she was going to be a problem, just another self righteous, know it all bitch.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,947 reviews3,404 followers
July 29, 2021
All power is a test.

I wouldn't have picked this series up if it wasn't for my friend and buddy-reader, Brad, being a fanboy. To put it in his words: this isn't reinventing the wheel (aka doing something completely new) but it's one of the best popcorn-fiction (fantasy) out there.

This world has a weird magic system. Colours mean magical power. There are drafters who can manipulate a colour or two, shape tools or weapons with them. Every colour means something different (green being wild, red mostly full of temperament, blue being cooly calculating etc). Some are even able to draft more than one colour. And then there is the Prism. One who can control all the colours. Gavin Guile is the Prism.
But he harbours quite the secret. Truth be told, I figured it out very early on in the book. But that didn't diminish the payoff when it was actually revealed to the reader.
There's been a war between Gavin and his younger brother, Dazen. The Prism's War. Afterwards, the Prism has been stripped of his political powers and has been demoted to the post of councellor, a ceremonial showpony (albeit with one hell of a lot of power). He still commands the respect of many simply because he is a good man. Not a perfect man, that would be entirely unrealistic, but one who cares about the people he's responsible for.
Moreover, his job is to keep the balance between the colours. You see, if one colour is drafted (used) too much and another not enough, all hell breaks loose in this world. But, soon enough, all colours are indeed used aplenty when a self-appointed king starts moving against the powers that be (the Chromeria) and the Prism himself since "his kingdom" had originally been on the side of the other Guile brother.

Since this would all be far too easy, there are also the personal stories of a number of characters:
- The Prism with his former fiancée, Karris, who is a badass Black Guard with quite the mouth on her. I loved how she wasn't just beautiful, not just talented, not just had a very colourful backstory (see what I just did there? ;P) - she had as many facets as the rainbow, could be vulnerable as well as brave and I was so here for that (I'm tired of those fake-as-fuck female heroes who never make any mistakes and are only allowed to ever feel awesome and confident and shit and never make any mistakes).
- Gavin's bastard son, Kip, coming from an affair during his betrothal to Karris. There were many things obvious about him as well, but I still liked that he was a little atypical in many situations and yet, simultaneously, the typical teenager. I can only repeat myself: I like my characters realistic.
- Liv and her father. (Yes, there is a reason why I don't talk more about them. Just this much: Liv is an idiot.)
- Andros Guile and his wife (the Prism's parents). One a cold-blooded asshole, the other an extremely intelligent woman who had lost at least one son too many.
- The wights. (Can't give away too much about them, either, but the magic principle behind them is awesome; as is how they come to be and what it could mean.)

Layer upon layer upon layer of lies and half-truths and betrayals, politics, people trying to manipulate others, some with money and power, some (supposedly) for love ... I swear, as is so often the case, too many things would have been more easily resolved if people had just talked to one another! That's actually the only complaint I have because this trope is a pet peeve of mine (in real life too).

The writing, while not being extraordinarily beautiful or special, was very good and the author definitely knows how to weave a complex tale full of twists and turns. Moreover, the action was just as breathtaking as our tour through parts of this world was fascinating (like the school where Liv was instructed). I like it when the worldbuilding and the action balance each other out and this author pulled it off very well. So I can't agree with those who claim this has a slow start because every world needs an introduction and this is definitely not a bad or boring one.

Story: great. Writing: great. I'm curious to see where all the different light beams threads will lead.
Sometimes, you need to squish a motherfucker.
Profile Image for Lema.
191 reviews82 followers
November 20, 2016
Wow just wow... So many great fantasy novels I've been stumbling upon lately. I usually reserve the high expectations for any Brandon Sanderson novel, but I was amazed by the beauty and fluidity in Brian McClellan books, and now this evil genius Brent Weeks comes along... Sure, he needs to work on his description capabilities, since several of my friends and I had the exact same comments about the exact same parts then I doubt that we all lack the imagination. Other than that, pure evil genius..Brava!


So let's dissect this, first of all The PLOT :
Now that I think about it, I don't believe the synopsis here has done the real plot any justice (which is a mark of a successful synopsis for me since I HATE unnecessary plot reveals), Gavin Guile discovering that he has a bastard son is only a tiny fraction of the beginning of a highly complex, wide-reaching cascade of events. There is no clear quest and no clear villain to fight off, but everything was so fast-paced with so many little hells breaking loose all over, it'll just sucks you right in and never lets you go. Not to mention the plot twists..no no not plot twists, more like existential crises that makes you want to reread everything and revise your values.


As for the WORLD BUILDING I kinda had a love/hate relationship with it the first part of the book because boy can Brent Weeks go on and on describing modes of transportation, bridges and walls that after finishing the first book still resemble shapeless blobs of color in my head.
Not to mention the sizable info dump that was thrust upon us, I was quite disoriented for like 200 pages and that was me basically..
However, it was still enjoyable to read about the world in general because it was simply amazing. It oozes Assassin's Creed vibes, and I absolutely loved the whole concept of the Chromeria and Chromaturgy school setting, and I believe in that instance, the author has done an amazing job in describing the Jaspers isles.

Now to my favorite part... CHARACTERS: we have two main POVs:
Gavin Guile you sneaky bastard! you thoroughly stole my heart.
That guy is the epitome of a most interesting character, to put it briefly: he's a charismatic asshole, with a hidden agenda and a heart of gold. His personality is so layered that that I still feel like I know everything and nothing about him, and I can't wait to read more and find out about every dirty little secret he's hiding.

Kip at first he comes across as the lovable doofus and the comic relief of the series. I was ok with him at first and found him to be a hilarious version of Neville Longbottom. But again, as I read more about him and discovered more about his past I couldn't but love him and want to protect him at all cost. I actually liked how damaged he is, because usually we read about these protagonists who had a horrible upbringing but have this stellar generic personality with absolutely no scratches whatsoever..Not Kip no, and it was awesome reading about his journey fighting his demons.

We also have three minor POVs:
Karris: I just love her sections, typical independent ass-kicking woman in her thirties who takes shit from no one and least of all from Gavin. Her past is so turbulent adding more mystery to her and I feel her personality still have so much more room for future development.

The prisoner: Definitely the highlight of the book, I'll say no more other than make sure that you are not eating or drinking while reading these sections.

Liv: she's interesting, and I really sympathize with her and appreciate the inner-conflicts she's going through. No feels avalanche though..yet.

Of course there are many other minor characters that are the cherry on top of this mouthwatering cake, like Ironfist: the blackguard commander, and Corvan Danavis: the brilliant general in exile and Liv's father.

In conclusion, amazing characters, unique world and magical system, hilarious conversations, heart-wrenching scenes, mystery, secrets, intrigue, dark pasts, slow start but absolutely totally WORTH IT!

Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,551 reviews2,937 followers
July 23, 2019
This is a re-read for me, but I am oh so happy to be back in this world which I first encountered in 2015. As the series draws to its close (book #5 is due out later this year) I decided to do a #LightbringerSeriesReread to re-familiarise myself with the world, characters and magic. It turns out I still remembered the majority of the magic, and yet going back to the series I found it so much easier from the start to actually 'get' what was happening because I had that bit more familiarity. I think at first this series throws you in at the deep end, but once you get to know what's what you start to understand the differences in the magic and see the start of the alliances and politics which later come into play.

I had forgotten exactly what point certain things got revealed in this series, and it turns out that some of the biggest things happen right in book #1 where I was happy to rediscover the same amazement and awe at the brashness and bold defiance of some of these characters. I still felt like Kip was a bit of a wuss to start out, but I know there is a lot of growing to be done over the course of the books, and I look forward to following his adventure.

Karys (spellings may be wrong as I audiobooked) is one of the characters I liked the most in book #1 as she is feisty and doesn't take anything from anyone. She's not afraid to slap the Prism or defy gender stereotypes and she does so with style. I still think her plotline works really well as a counter to some of the others, and I am glad we get to see her inner emotions as a viewpoint.

I think Liv is a character who I like at first, but as the book goes further her ideals started to bother me a little more and I remembered her a little more fondly than I now think of her. She's certainly not a character who I would have thought had as much involvement when thinking back, but actually in this story she is very much central to seeing how Kip's storyline develops.

Kip and Gavin are super powerful and both have the wit and snark which I remember this book for. They have charisma and charm and they can work their way out of crazy situations, but they also have a knack for getting into terrible situations. I must admit to liking both, but finding both so silly too :D

I enjoyed seeing Corbin and Ironfist a little in this plot as they feel like more minor characters but they have a major impact on our main characters quite often. I really enjoyed their stories and the way that they were integrated.

Overall, the pacing and plot were fantastic and I definitely felt like there was a lot to love about this series on the re-read. It's definitely a series I 100% recommend and as long as you're prepared to learn a new magic system and wrap your head around politics and lots of characters then I think you will love it. 5*s on the re-read.
Profile Image for Zoe Stewart (Zoe's All Booked).
296 reviews1,462 followers
September 5, 2022
I'm in love with this book. No seriously. The magic used isn't something I've ever seen before, and while I've seen some reviews saying it's hard to follow exactly how the magic is used and the idea behind it, I found it easy enough to follow. That, and there's an appendix at the back explaining everything. Some of the characters annoyed me at times, but it wasn't enough for me to lower my rating. This book is absolutely massive which is a bonus for me! I'm so excited to start the next one!
Profile Image for David Sven.
288 reviews445 followers
December 23, 2012
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, which I thought was the Bomb as far as magic systems go. Chromaturgy involves the harnessing of light energy and converting it to matter, a substance called Luxin, which manifests in different forms depending on what colour you “draft.” Interesting combinations can be used in constructing building materials or for combat for devastating effect.

Most “drafters” are “Monochromes” ie born with the ability to draft a specific colour, some can draft two colours (Bichromes) and rarer again are those who can draft several colours (Polychromes). Each colour also has an associated personality trait/attribute which manifests while drafting eg Red = anger, blue=cool logic, yellow =clarity of thought etc. Only one person has the ability to draft every colour – The Prism.

Having recently read Sanderson’s Mistborn, the comparison of the two magic systems seems inevitable given that there are some striking similarities between Chromaturgy and Allomancy. Chromaturgy uses a spectrum of 7 colours and uses light to fuel its magic – while Mistborn’s Allomancy uses 14(+2 unknown) metals to fuel its magic users. Both systems have well defined rules and limitations eg with Chromaturgy, drafting light will eventually send the drafter insane (referred to as “breaking the halo”) turning them into a “colour wight.” Drafter’s who “break the halo” are euthanized. But whereas Sanderson meticulously lays out the rules through the narration using constant repetition, Weeks allows the reader to discover the various rules and applications of Chromaturgy through inference from the action, and dialogue, which I think is a lot more fun. So which is better? I’m undecided as yet.

Religion plays a large role in the book as well and I found the Theology and how it ties into the magic system and politics quite interesting. The Satrapies worship the god Orholom as part of a monotheistic religion. So there are a lot of similarities and parallels to Catholicism. The Prism is like the Pope(albeit not a very believing one). They have a parallel to the sign of the cross but involving seven parts instead of three. Detractors are referred to as pagans or worshipping pagan gods. The major plot element involving Gavin and Dazen also has parallels to the Biblical story of I'm not sure if it was deliberate, but the similarities are so striking I found it hard to ignore. Especially when once I saw it I started seeing a lot of other religious parallels clicking into place and it really added to the depth of the world building.

The story takes place in “The Seven Satrapies” seven countries ruled from the Chromeria by a council called “The Spectrum” which is headed by “The White” with “The Prism,” Gavin Guile as the figurehead Head of state. As the story unfolds we learn the history of the Seven Satrapies, the politics and intrigue of the court, and a dark secret kept for sixteen years by the reigning Prism. A secret so damning that if discovered, Gavin Guile could upset a delicate balance that has kept the realm at an uneasy peace since he deposed his brother Dazen Guile in The False Prism War. The politics and intrigue and twists just keep coming as we slowly unravel the truth about the past and what really happened at the famous battle of Sundered Rock.

The story ends well – or as well as a “to be continued” can. We are left with a mystery and with a sense of foreboding that things are about to change drastically for our Prism. The book left me thinking on the various elements when I was finished. Even the title of the book left me with the question, What or who is “The Black Prism” referring to? Is it a false Prism? Or an evil Prism? Or a morally flawed Prism? Or a dark skinned Prism? Its that sort of cryptic approach to the story that really adds to the enjoyment.

I’d like to give this a 7 for the 7 colours – but goodreads only has 5 stars. I will be most definitely continuing the series with The Blinding Knife
Profile Image for Jody .
201 reviews134 followers
September 27, 2019
"Light cannot be chained."

To say the Lightbringer series has been on my TBR list for a while would be a huge understatement. A few months ago I noticed the last book in the series was coming out this year, and I knew it was time to finally delve into this once and for all.

The setting of this story is a land called The Seven Satrapies. A satrapy is basically a province that is governed by a person known as a satrap. The Chromeria is the ruling body of the Seven Satrapies, and also where all of the drafters, magical users, are trained.

The magic in this series is quite unique. It is called drafting and requires the magic user to take a specific color of light from the color spectrum and transform it into magic. A drafter may able to draft only one color, or they can draft multiple colors. The more colors, the more useful you are to the Chromeria. Not to mention being more powerful. The magic system took me a while to get used to. It is very detailed and I really didn't get the feel for it until I was near the end. It is really cool stuff though once you figure it out.

Monochrome - Can only draft one color.
Bichrome - Can draft two colors.
Polychrome - Can draft more than two colors.
Full spectrum Polychrome - Can draft all colors in the visual color spectrum.

If the world building and characters in The Black Prism are any indication of what is to come, then this is going to be a really good series. The story so far is mainly focused on the after effects of an event that happened 15 years before known as The Prism's War. Secrets are being revealed and old alliances are forming again. But 15 years is a good amount of time. There are new players in the game now. Not to mention, those that would do anything for revenge.

"At some point, you have to decide not merely what you're going to believe, but how you're going to believe. Are you going to believe in people, or in ideas? With your heart, or with your head? Will you believe what's in fornt of you, or in what you think you know? There are some things you think you know that are lies. I can't tell you what those are, and I'm sorry for that."

These characters are fleshed out very well and each has their own distinct voice. So much so, that it was hard for me to pick a favorite. The chapters are very short, and you're constantly bouncing back and forth between story lines. So, the usual just one more chapter turns into 5 or 6. At least it did for me. Gavin Guile (The Prism) and Kip get the most page time. Kip was easy to route for from the beginning. I thought Gavin was a bit of a bastard at the beginning, but he started to grown on me throughout the story. There is also Alviana, Karris, and Dazen just to name a few more that get there own chapters. It is a good size cast of characters, but most of them are side characters. It's not hard to keep up with them at all.

The Black Prism was a fantastic start to this series. The magic system takes a while to figure out, but it's so cool once it clicks. The world building focuses on the history of this world as much as the present, and that really won me over. Well rounded characters that have their own identity and are not without fault. I can't wait to see where this story goes. If you haven't read the available books in this series so far, I strongly urge you to remedy that as fast as possible.

"The Philosopher said that a man alone is either a god or a monster......I'm no god."

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars ****

Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,090 reviews2,956 followers
July 15, 2022
4.0 Stars
Spoiler-Free Series Review Video: https://youtu.be/OosD4rbJJEs

This was an enjoyable first book in an exciting high fantasy series. My favourite aspect was easily the magic system, which was complex and well developed. The author slowly revealed the intricate rules over the course of the novel so that I felt rewarded when I came to a good understanding of the magic system mechanics.

The characters were well rounded and well developed. Often morally grey, there were no righteous heroes, but rather imperfect, realistic individuals. My largest criticism would be the lack of sensitivity to body image in the way the characters were described. The women’s breasts were constantly the focal of attention, while one male character’s weight was overemphasized, which just felt unnecessary to the story..

Overall, the narrative was engaging, moving along a good pace despite the length of the novel. There were some political aspects to the plot, yet they were balanced out with enough action to keep the story moving forward. While not perfect, I would still recommend this novel to any fantasy readers looking for a new epic story with an incredible magic system. I plan to continue on with this series as soon as possible.
Profile Image for Tim.
2,133 reviews200 followers
March 14, 2020
A long winded story that resolves around an abused soldier. Hard to understand the point. 1 of 10 stars
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,966 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.