The Black Prism is the first book of the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks, which will span four books in total. I got this one for my birthday (along with James Barclay‘s Beyond the Mists of Katura, David Gemmell‘s The Hawk Eternal, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s The Complete Sherlock Holmes and Steven Erikson‘s The Forge of Darkness).
Kip is the son of an addicted single mother in a small village. He’s nothing special – just a fat kid that can take a punch. But when his village is attacked and its people horribly slaughtered, Kip discovers something about himself he never knew before. And that will change his life and the lives of all around him for good.
I read Brent Weeks’ The Night Angel trilogy, so I was expecting a lot of darkness and grittiness. And yes, in some ways The Black Prism is dark and gritty: a village getting slaughtered, kids hunted down and killed, a nation torn by war and politics muddying the water. But it wasn’t as gritty as The Night Angel trilogy. It’s a different kind of gritty, a different kind of dark.
Kip (whose name gave me the chuckles as ‘kip’ means ‘chicken’ in Dutch, which is in a way both a right and a wrong description of Kip) is such a nice boy, with a lashing tongue – but then again he needed it seeing he was bullied a village boy named Ram because of his size – but so full of self-loathing. He seems himself as no one, nothing. And all because of his drug-addled mother who both physically and emotionally abused him ever since he was born. She was the one making him think he was worthless (of course at the end of the book, we get to know why, though that only complicated things) and it never really stops.
Gavin Guile, the Prism and the most powerful man of the nation, is leading a very interesting life. I can’t go into it because it’s a bit of a plot twist (and boy! I didn’t see that coming), but believe me, it’s awesome. He’s a charming man and his heart certainly seems to be in the right place. He wants to bring peace to his people, everywhere. And he only has seven more years to make things right, to clean up after the aftermath of the war instigated by him and his brother Dazen.
Chromaturgy – a magic system based on colours – took my breath away. It was such a great addition and such a great invention. I’ve never seen any kind of magic system like it. And I really really like it. It’s ingenious and totally believable!
There are a lot more interesting characters and – damn I can’t really talk about plot twists and stuff – characters that will annoy the crap out of you. Characters shrouded in mystery and characters who wear their heart on their sleeves. I recommend the book to everyone and anyone. And I’m so excited about where everything and everyone is heading! I can’t wait to read the other books!
8.5/10 (took away 0.5 points, mainly because the end of the story ends in a way that gave me a feeling of unavoidable doom. Though I’m sure that will pass as soon as I get the next books…. I hope…)