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June 6, 2013 / minusbar

Book Review: The Black Prism, by Brent Weeks

Book Review: “The Black Prism” by Brent Weeks

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 him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.


In all honesty, I was the tiniest bit reluctant to read this book. I had just finished three or four substantial ones, and my brain was fried. I think the book and I had a staring contest for maybe fifteen minutes before I gave in (you just can’t win staring contests with books). I have never been so happy in my life to lose! The Black Prism, by Brent Weeks, was an amazing read that I would quickly read it again. And again…


The magic system Weeks has set up is impressive and intriguing. Basically, some people are able to control colors (sub-red, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and super-violet). Most are able to control one color, a few two, and very rarely three. Except the Prism, who has control of the entire spectrum. This is all very interesting, but what really made my day was the problems the author threw in. Using colors causes a ring around the iris of the eye, and the more one makes luxin (the physical manifestation of a color) the wider the ring grows. If it breaks beyond the iris the user goes mad. I was happy to see that no one was infallible. It’s hard to identify with a perfect person, after all.


What really drew me into the book was the writing. In many books the plot is better than the actual writing. This is not the case for The Black Prism. Somehow Weeks managed to give a colorful (hah) and accurate image of the scene without boring me to death. The dialogue was just as good, if not better. Witty sarcasm abounds! Once I started the book I could not stop reading it.


The story is told from the viewpoints of several main characters, mostly Gavin Guile, the Prism, and Kip, a new magic user. Although there is one part in the middle of the book that the point-of-view becomes confusing, it seems it is mostly for dramatic effect. I can’t say more without giving something vital away.


Brent Weeks, I salute you for your incredible plot-twist. I completely did not see that coming. I shall be silent now.

In summary, I have already recommended this book to several people, and will continue to do so. It is now one of my favorites, for reasons that my review cannot accurately convey. Go read it for yourself to find out!

Available everywhere now, but here’s a link to help you find it faster!


Molly Chenault


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