The Black Prism
by Brent Weeks
Jakob’s Goodreads Rating: (5) of 5 Stars – “It was Amazing”
Recommended for: Fantasy Readers
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.
Shane over at Novelnaut received this book in for review. It has been on my “to-read” list for a while, so it was hard to not run over at steal it from him when he wasn’t looking. Brent Weeks is a fairly recent discovery to me, having picked up his first book The Way of Shadows (The Night Angel Trilogy) just last year in August of 2009. I enjoyed it so much that I got through it in a couple of days and returned to the book store and purchases the second two books of The Night Angel Trilogy.
That being said, it is obvious I had high hopes for this book. After just reviewing Out of the Dark by another favorite author that didn’t turn out quite as well as I hoped, I was really crossing my fingers that this wouldn’t be the case here. It wasn’t. I quite simply loved this book.
The Black Prism is a fairly fast paced book, but not overly so. What kept me engrossed in this book wasn’t necessarily the world building or the unique magic system, but the just plain great storytelling that goes on. Brent does a very good job at keeping the reader engaged by giving them secrets that are hidden from some of the characters and a really great job at surprising the reader.
I had giving away spoilers, as Shane also mentioned in his review, but around page 200 or so a BIG surprise happens that impacts perceptions of characters we have gotten to know. (Or think we know!) Between trying to re-evaluate everything, Brent’s short chapters (which make me think… oh just one more chapter) this novel caused me to lose sleep. Shane also mentioned he noticed grammatical errors and whatnot, but if I noticed them I was so engrossed in the story I blew right past them and forgot them.
Those who hate finishing a book and not having the sequel out, or starting something that will end up being a trilogy or a series, certainly should wait. The ending leaves questions that are clearly going to impact/contribute/be addressed in subsequent books. Personally I love the experience of reading a book that other fans and myself have been waiting for. More importantly, I feel I might miss great authors because I didn’t pick up their initial book.
All in all, I would recommend The Black Prism to any fantasy reader. It is standalone from his original debut trilogy, so no need to worry about trying that first. (Though after reading this, I highly recommend you pick that up as well.)