The Black Prism (Lightbringer Series #1)

The Black Prism (Lightbringer Series #1)

by Brent Weeks

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316246279
Publisher: Orbit
Publication date: 07/23/2013
Series: Lightbringer Series , #1
Pages: 678
Sales rank: 20,000
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 2.00(d)

About the Author

Brent Weeks was born and raised in Montana. He wrote on bar napkins and lesson plans before landing his dream job years and thousands of pages later. Brent lives in Oregon with his wife, Kristi, and their daughters. Find out more about the author at www.brentweeks.com or on twitter @brentweeks.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Kip crawled toward the battlefield in the darkness, the mist pressing down, blotting out sound, scattering starlight. Though the adults shunned it, he'd played on the open field a hundred times-during the day. Tonight, his purpose was grimmer.

Reaching the top of the hill, Kip stood and hiked up his pants. The river behind him was muttering obscenities, or maybe that was the warriors beneath its surface, dead these sixteen years. Kip squared his shoulders, ignoring his imagination. The mists made it seem he was suspended, outside of time. But even if there was no evidence of it, the sun was coming. By the time it did, he had to get to the far side of the battlefield. Farther than he'd ever gone searching.

Even Ramir, wouldn't come out here at night. Everyone knew Sundered Rock was haunted. But Ram didn't have to feed his family; his mother didn't smoke her wages.

Gripping his little belt knife tightly, Kip started walking. It wasn't just the unquiet dead that might pull him down to the evernight. A pack of giant javelinas had been seen roaming the night, tusks cruel, hooves sharp. They were good eating if you had a matchlock, iron nerves, and good aim, but since the Prisms' War had wiped out all the town's men, there weren't many people who braved death for a little bacon. Rekton was already a shell of what it had once been. The alcaldesa wasn't eager for any of her townspeople to throw their lives away. Besides, Kip didn't have a matchlock.

Nor were javelinas the only creatures that roamed the night. A mountain lion or a golden bear would also probably enjoy a well-marbled Kip.

A low howl cut the mist and the darkness hundreds of paces deeper into the battlefield. Kip froze. Oh, there were wolves too. How'd he forget wolves?

Another wolf answered, farther out. A haunting sound, the very voice of the wilderness. You couldn't help but freeze when you heard it. It was the kind of beauty that made you shit your pants.

Wetting his lips, Kip got moving. He had the distinct sensation of being followed. Stalked. He looked behind himself. There was nothing there. Of course. His mother always said he had too much imagination. Just walk Kip. Places to be. Animals are more scared of you and all that. Besides, that was one of the tricks about a howl, it always sounded much closer than it really was. Those wolves were probably leagues away.

Before the Prisms' War, this had been excellent farmland. Right next to the Umber River, suitable for figs, grapes, pears, dewberries, asparagus-everything grew here. And it had been sixteen years since the final battle-a year before Kip was even born. But the plain was still torn and scarred. A few burnt timbers of old homes and barns poked out of the dirt. Deep furrows and craters remained from cannon shells. Filled now with swirling mist, those craters looked like lakes, tunnels, traps. Bottomless. Unfathomable.

Most of the magic used in the battle had dissolved sooner or later in the years of sun exposure, but here and there broken green luxin spears still glittered. Shards of solid yellow underfoot would cut through the toughest shoe leather.

Scavengers had long since taken all the valuable arms, mail, and luxin from the battlefield, but as the seasons passed and rains fell, more mysteries surfaced each year. That was what Kip was hoping for-and what he was seeking was most visible in the first rays of dawn.

The wolves stopped howling. Nothing was worse than hearing that chilling sound, but at least with the sound, he knew where they were. Now… Kip swallowed on the hard knot in his throat.

As he walked in the valley of the shadow of two great unnatural hills-the remnant of two of the great funeral pyres where tens of thousands had burned-Kip saw something in the mist. His heart leapt into his throat. The curve of a mail cowl. A glint of eyes searching the darkness.

Then it was swallowed up in the roiling mists.

A ghost. Dear Orholam. Some spirit keeping watch at its grave.

Look on the bright side. Maybe wolves are scared of ghosts.

Kip realized he'd stopped walking, peering into the darkness. Move, fat head.

He moved, keeping low. He might be big, but he prided himself on being light on his feet. He tore his eyes away from the hill-still no sign of the ghost or man or whatever it was. He had that feeling again that he was being stalked. He looked back. Nothing.

A quick click, like someone dropping a small stone. And something at the corner of his eye. Kip shot a look up the hill. A click, a spark, the striking of flint against steel.

Illuminated for that briefest moment, Kip saw few details. Not a ghost, a soldier striking a flint, trying to light a slow-match. The slow-match caught fire, casting a red glow on the soldier's face, making his eyes seem to glow. He affixed the slow-match to the match-holder of his matchlock, and spun, looking for targets in the darkness.

His night vision must have been ruined by staring at the brief flame on his match, now a smoldering red ember, because his eyes passed right over Kip.

The soldier turned again, sharply, paranoid. "The hell am I supposed to see out here, anyway? Swivin' wolves."

Very, very carefully, Kip started walking away. He had to get deeper into the mist and darkness before the soldier's night vision recovered, but if he made noise, the man might fire blindly.

Kip walked on the balls of his feet, his back itching, sure that a lead ball was going to tear through him at any moment.

But he made it. A hundred paces, more, and no one yelled. No shot cracked the night. Farther. Two hundred paces more, and he saw light off to his left, a campfire. It had burned so low it was barely more than coals now. Kip tried not to look directly at it to save his vision. There was no tent, no bedrolls nearby, just the fire.

Kip tried Master Danavis's trick for seeing in darkness. He let his focus relax and tried to view things from the periphery of his vision. Nothing but an irregularity, perhaps. He moved closer.

Two men lay on the cold ground. One was a soldier. Kip had seen his mother unconscious plenty of times; he knew instantly this man wasn't passed out. He was sprawled unnaturally, there were no blankets, and his mouth hung open, slack-jawed, eyes staring unblinking at the night. Next to the soldier lay another man, bound in chains but alive. He lay on his side, hands manacled behind his back, a black bag over his head and cinched tight around his neck.

The prisoner was alive, trembling. No, weeping. Kip looked around, there was no one else in sight.

"Why don't you just finish it, damn you?" the prisoner said.

Kip froze. He thought he'd approached silently.

"Coward," the prisoner said. "Just following your orders, I suppose? Orholam will smite you for what you're about to do to that little town."

Kip had no idea what the man was talking about.

Apparently his silence spoke for him.

"You're not one of them." For the first time, a note of hope entered the prisoner's voice. "Please, help me!"

Kip stepped forward to help. The man was suffering. Then he stopped. Looked at the dead soldier. The front of the soldier's shirt was soaked with blood. Had this prisoner killed him? How?

"Please, you can leave me chained if you must. Please, I don't want to die in darkness."

Kip stayed back, though it felt cruel. "You killed him?"

"I'm supposed to be executed at first light. I got away. He chased me down. He got the bag over my head before he died, though. If dawn's close, his replacement is going to come take his watch any time now. "

Kip still wasn't putting it together. No one in Rekton trusted the soldiers who came through, and the alcaldesa had told the town's young people to give any soldiers a wide berth for a while-apparently, the new satrap Garadul had declared himself free of the Chromeria's control. Now he was King Garadul, he said, but he wanted the usual levies from the town's young people. The alcaldesa had told his representative that if he wasn't the satrap anymore that he didn't have the right to raise levies. King or satrap, Garadul couldn't be happy with that, but Rekton was too small to bother with. Still, it would be wise to avoid his soldiers until this all blew over.

On the other hand, just because Rekton wasn't getting along with the satrap right now didn't make this man Kip's friend.

"So you are a criminal?" Kip asked.

"Of six shades to Sun Day," the man said. The hope leaked out of his voice. "Look, boy-you are a child, aren't you? You sound like one. I'm going to die today. I can't get away. Truth to tell, I don't want to. I've run enough. This time, I fight."

"I don't understand."

"You will. Take off my hood."

Though some vague doubt nagged Kip, he untied the half-knot around the man's neck and pulled off the hood.

At first, Kip had no idea what the prisoner was talking about. The man sat up, arms still bound behind his back. He was perhaps thirty years old, Tyrean like Kip but with a lighter-complexion, his hair wavy rather than kinky, his limbs thin and muscular. Then Kip saw his eyes.

Men and women who could harness light and make luxin-drafters-always had unusual eyes. A little residue of whatever color they drafted ended up in their eyes. Over the course their life, it would stain the entire iris red, or blue, or whatever their color was. The prisoner was a green drafter-or had been. Instead of the green being bound in a halo within the iris, it was shattered like crockery smashed to the floor. Little green fragments glowed even in the whites of his eyes. Kip gasped and shrank back.

"Please!" the man said. "Please, the madness isn't on me. I won't hurt you."

"You're a color wight."

"And now you know why I ran away from the Chromeria," the man said.

Because the Chromeria put down color wights like a farmer put down a beloved rabid dog.

Kip was on the verge of bolting, but the man wasn't making any threatening moves. And besides, it was still dark. Even color wights needed light to draft. The mist did seem lighter, though, gray beginning to touch horizon. It was crazy to talk to a madman, but maybe it wasn't too crazy. At least until dawn.

The color wight was looking at Kip oddly. "Blue eyes." He laughed.

Kip scowled. He hated his blue eyes. It was one thing when a foreigner like Master Danavis had blue eyes. They looked fine on him. Kip looked freakish.

"What's your name?" the color wight asked.

Kip swallowed, thinking he should probably run away.

"Oh, for Orholam's sake, you think I'm going to hex you with your name? How ignorant is this backwater? That isn't how magic-"

"Kip."

The color wight grinned. "Kip. Well, Kip, have you ever wondered you were stuck in such a small life? Have you ever gotten the feeling, Kip, that you're special?"

Kip said nothing. Yes, and yes.

"Do you know why you feel destined for something greater?"

"Why?" Kip asked, quiet, hopeful.

"Because you're an arrogant little shit." The color wight laughed.

Kip shouldn't have been taken off guard. His mother had said worse a hundred times. Still, it took him a moment. A small failure. "Burn in hell, coward," Kip said. "You're not even good at running away. Caught by ironfoot soldiers."

The color wight laughed louder. "Oh, they didn't catch me. They recruited me."

Who would recruit madmen to join them? "They didn't know you were a-"

"Oh, they knew."

Dread like a weight dropped into Kip's stomach. "You said something about my town. Before. What are they planning to do?"

"You know, Orholam's got a sense of humor. Never realized that 'til now. Orphan, aren't you?"

"No. I've got a mother," Kip said. He instantly regretted giving the color wight even that much.

"Would you believe me if I told you there's a prophecy about you?"

"It wasn't funny the first time," Kip said. "What's going to happen to my town?" Dawn was coming, and Kip wasn't going to stick around. Not only would the guard's replacement come then, but Kip had no idea what the wight would do once he had light.

"You know," the wight said, "you're the reason I'm here. Not here, here. Not like 'Why do I exist?' Not in Tyrea. In chains, I mean."

"What?" Kip asked.

"There's power in madness, Kip. Of course…" he trailed off, laughed at private thought. Recovered. "Look, that soldier has a key in his breast pocket. I fiddled for an hour, but couldn't get it out, not with-" He shook his hands, bound and manacled behind his back.

"And I would help you why?" Kip asked.

"For a few straight answers before dawn."

Crazy, and cunning. Perfect. "Give me one first," Kip said.

"Shoot."

"What's the plan for my village?"

"Fire."

"What?" Kip asked.

"Sorry, you said one answer."

"That was no answer!"

"They're going to wipe out your village. Make an example so no one else defies King Garadul. Other villages defied the king, too, of course. His rebellion against the Chromeria isn't popular everywhere. For every town burning to take vengeance on the Prism, there's another that wants nothing to do with war. Your village was chosen specially. Anyway, I had a little spasm of conscience and objected. Words were exchanged. I punched my superior. Not totally my fault. They know us greens don't do rules and hierarchy. Especially not once we've broken the halo." The color wight shrugged. "There, straight. I think that deserves the key, don't you?"

It was too much information to soak up at once-broken the halo?-but it was a straight answer. Kip walked over to the dead man. His skin was pallid in the rising light. Pull it together, Kip. Ask whatever you need to ask.

Kip's eyes had fully adjusted to the darkness now, and he could tell that dawn was coming. Eerie shapes were emerging from the night. The great, twin looming masses of Sundered Rock itself were visible mostly as a place where stars were blotted out of the sky.

What do I need to ask?

He was hesitating, not wanting to touch the dead man. He knelt. "Why my town?" He poked through the dead man's pocket, careful not to touch skin. It was there, two keys.

"They think you have something that belongs to the king. I don't know what. I only picked up that much by eavesdropping."

"What would Rekton have that the king wants?" Kip asked.

"Not Rekton you. You you."

It took Kip a second. He touched his own chest. "Me? Me personally? I don't even own anything!"

The color wight gave a crazy grin, but Kip thought it was a pretense."Tragic mistake then. Their mistake, your tragedy."

"What, you think I'm lying?!" Kip asked. "You think I'd be out here scavenging luxin if I had any other choice?"

"I don't really care one way or the other. You going to bring that key over here, or do I need ask real nice?"

It was a mistake to bring the keys over. Kip knew it. The color wight wasn't stable. He was dangerous. He'd admitted as much. But he had kept his word to Kip.

Kip walked over and unlocked the man's manacles, and then the padlock on the chains. He backed away carefully, as one would from a wild animal. The color wight pretended not to notice, simply rubbing his arms and stretching back and forth. He walked over to the guard and poked through his pockets again. His hand emerged with a pair of green spectacles with one cracked lens.

"You could come with me," Kip said. "If you what you said is true-"

"How close do you think I'd get to your town before someone came running with a musket? Besides, once the sun comes up… I'm ready for it to be done." The color wight took a deep breath, staring at the horizon. "Tell me, Kip, if you've done bad things for your whole life, but you die doing something good, do you think that makes up for all the bad?"

"No," Kip said, honestly, before he could stop himself.

"Me neither."

"But it's better than nothing. Orholam's merciful."

"Wonder if you'll say that after they're done with your village."

There were other questions Kip wanted to ask, but everything had happened in such a rush that he couldn't put things together.

In the rising light Kip saw what had been hidden in the fog and the darkness. Hundreds of tents were laid out in military precision. Soldiers. Lots of soldiers. And even as Kip stood, not two hundred paces from the nearest tent, the plain began winking. Glimmers sparkled on the ground, as broken luxin gleamed, like stars scattered on the ground, answering their brethren in the sky.

It was what Kip had come for. Usually when a drafter released luxin, it simply dissolved, no matter color it was. But in battle, there had so much chaos, so many drafters, some sealed magic had been buried and protected from the sunlight that would break it down. The recent rain had uncovered more.

But Kip's eyes were pulled from the winking luxin by four soldiers and a man with a stark red cloak and red spectacles walking toward them from the camp.

"My name is Gaspar, by the by. Gaspar Elos." The color wight didn't look at Kip.

"What?"

"I'm not just some drafter. My father loved me. I had plans. A girl. A life."

"I don't-"

"You will." The color wight put the green spectacles on; they fit perfectly, tight to his face, lenses sweeping to either side so wherever he looked, he would be looking through a green filter. "Now get out of here."

As the sun touched the horizon, Gaspar sighed. It was as if Kip had ceased to exist. It was like watching his mother take that first deep breath of haze. Between the sparkling spars of green, the whites of Gaspar's eyes swirled like droplets of green blood hitting water, first dispersing, then staining the whole. The emerald green of luxin ballooned through his eyes, thickened until it was solid, and then spread. Through his cheeks, up to his hairline, then down his neck, standing out starkly when it finally filled his lighter fingernails as if they'd been painted in radiant jade.

Gaspar started laughing. It was a low, unreasoning cackle, unrelenting. Mad. Not a pretense this time.

Kip ran.

He reached the funerary hill where the sentry had been, taking care to stay on the far side from the army. He had to get to Master Danavis. Master Danavis always knew what to do.

There was no sentry on the hill now. Kip turned around in time to see Gaspar change, transform. Green luxin spilled out of his hands onto his body, covering every part of him like a shell, like an enormous suit of armor. Kip couldn't see the soldiers or the red drafter approaching Gaspar, but he did see a fireball the size of his head streak toward the color wight, hit his chest and burst apart, throwing flames everywhere.

Gaspar rammed through it, flaming red luxin sticking to his green armor. He was magnificent, terrible, powerful. He ran toward the soldiers, screaming defiance, and disappeared from Kip's view.

Kip fled, the vermillion sun setting fire to the mists.

Interviews

With every book I write, I try something harder. The Way of Shadows had a simple challenge: Can I write a page-turner? Shadow's Edge: Can I make you root for a character who murders one of your favorite characters? Beyond the Shadows: Can I wrap up a trilogy successfully and make you hold onto a character as he becomes evil without whitewashing the evil he does?

With The Black Prism, I've taken the challenges to a new level.

First, one of the oldest tropes in fantasy is to follow a plucky orphan as he or she grows in power. It works because everyone empathizes with the beaten down loser (Peter Parker, Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker), and can triumph vicariously as the hero grows. It's harder to empathize with the rich and powerful.

Second, in my Night Angel trilogy, I made mages as rare as professional athletes in our world. Why? Because readers are smarter than authors, so magic screws up everything. "Wait, she's a fire mage, why is she shivering in the cold forest?" "Wait, why doesn't Dumbledore use the amulet to be in two places at once when he fights Voldemort?" "Wait…wait…wait…" More magic, more plot holes.

Third, I love fantasy set in alternate medieval Europes. It's easy to get your bearings quickly and get on with the story. Because we've all been there and done that, the plot and characters can become the focus.

With The Black Prism, I tackled something more ambitious. The central character is the most powerful man in the world. The world is early 1600's Mediterranean. And the magic is everywhere. But on the fun, I totally cheated. Guns, swords, and magic together? Oh hell yeah. And the magic? Chromaturgy is going to blow your mind. I think it's a great read, and I hope you love it.

(Alternately, last time I wrote about ninjas, so this time I had to write about pirates.Yes, there are pirates. No, it's not a pirate book. Arr.)

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The Black Prism 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 485 reviews.
Ruthven More than 1 year ago
This book is perfect evidence that Brent weeks is an ever improving master of his trade. The Black Prism, the opening novel for the Light Bringer series, might just be Weeks' finest work yet. This looks to be even better than the Night Angel Trilogy (which is possibly the greatest modern fantasy series out there). Weeks creates a unique and imaginative world. His characters will be loved or hated, but never forgotten. His plot is a roller coaster full of twists, turns, and shocking revelations. This is a book you will not want to miss. ps: If you have not read the Night Angel trilogy, GO READ IT NOW!!!
hungryturnip More than 1 year ago
Ok first off, this is a good book, original and compelling. Really the only reason why I don't give this five starts is that I just finished reading the Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks, which I absolutely loved. Because this book is slower and the action less frequent, it seemed pretty slow at first, and even debated not finishing. But the pace picked up toward the latter quarter of the book, and when I finished it I decided I liked it. I think this may be the first in a multi-book series, and Weeks spent a lot of time setting up the world in this book, hence my reaction of it being slow at first. I do recommend reading this, but not after reading a fast-paced action series like I did.
Threasa Bronson More than 1 year ago
I was a little apprehensive about this one as it sounded a little to mystical for my tastes but it had the perfect balance between lore and action. Also if you've read other books by Weeks then you know what to expect. In my case that was getting into one charcters story line then having it switch on me. Endlessly frustrating at the beginning but the story it weaves by doing it is more than worth it.
Ludwigvan1952 More than 1 year ago
I read the Night Angel books and enjoyed them (apart from a touch of preachiness which I am gladly finding missing in this book). Mr Weeks goes from strength to strength in this new milieu he has created. The world is well thought-out and the plot twists are quite satisfying and dismaying at the same time. I find myself fully involved with the characters and the story. As a very long-time fantasy reader (I read the Lord of the Rings in 1970 as a college student), I think Mr. Weeks has drilled into the source of all good fantasy fiction writing and I am looking forward to reading his work for years to come.
DarlingAMES More than 1 year ago
I picked this up b/c i loved the night angel trilogy and though i will admit it took a couple of pages to get into all the rainbow colors and understand this new world it was well worth it.. the characters are great and a great story is coming through. I can't wait for the next one.
TDA More than 1 year ago
Original concept and character development that ropes you in emotionally while still keeping you guessing on who to root for and against. PGDeFreese
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Took me awile to get into it at the start. But thats probably because i was reading a lot of others at the time. But once it hooked me i couldnt set it down without having to pick it up and read more. Again Weeks has brought me something i will be reading for a very long time
Dlbtexas More than 1 year ago
Didn't want to put the book down. Interesting concept and in-depth characters. I thoroughly enjoy reading The fascinating worlds that Brent Weeks create.
Frederick-Charles More than 1 year ago
karris More than 1 year ago
This book was an amazing read. Definitly worth the read.
nmbsurfer11 More than 1 year ago
Story was great, but a little complicated ecspecialy figuring out what colors were what and really enjoyed the twist at the end
kimba88 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love the world Weeks has created in Black Prism. This book is pure fantasy and the saga (part of a trilogy) looks to be exquisite. The magic used in this realm is based on light and color. It is quite unique and different. I was a little confused at first, but quickly figured out how this power was used. I like the way Weeks was a little vague leaving plenty of room for surprises and tweaks. The plot is brilliant and the battles are epic. The book is over 600 pages long, but don't let that scare you. It is seamlessly written and captivating; a gripping story that will leave you begging for more. Weeks characters were complex and I felt engaged and connected with them. Our young protagonist Kip is fifteen and the bastard child of Gavin Guile, the Prism. He is a chubby, quick to temper, loyal, winey, courageous and loveable hero. I was entranced by so many of the characters in this book especially, Gavin, Dazen, Liv, Kallis, Corvan, Ironfist and the White. The political games and the way Weeks describes this world and its history brought the pages to life. Just when I thought I knew the direction the story was going and who was who, Weeks turned everything inside out. It made me crazy, it made me mad and I want more. There were a few sub-plots which made the story more fascinating. While this is the first in a trilogy, I wasn't able to find even the hint of a release date. Mr. Weeks.I do not like waiting!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this man Brent weeks can do no wrong he exploded his great night angel trilogy in the world and became known now he enters into the writing world the black prism that has amazing characters, great story,a bit of romance and to top it off great magic system with the color spectrum.i look forward to the next. if its anywhere near as good as this one then it official Brent weeks is the man
Matt Brown More than 1 year ago
Usually, i'll read a book or series and be done with it, but Weeks's style manages to reel me back in to reread (Especially Shadow's Edge [if you hant ead the Night Angel tril, do it!]), and this one was no exception! A little slow to start, but well dveloped characters and a world and plot to boot! Also, i found this view of magic to be refreshing and intriguing and was continually drawn to keep reading when I should have slept. I can't wait for book 2 to come out x.x
Eric Nuckolls More than 1 year ago
Once again Brent Weeks has done it. He's managed to keep me up all night reading his book and all i can say is thank you. If you havent read his Night Angel trilogy, stop right now and go pick it up or download it. Seriously right now! Brent weeks is my now my favorite author i will forever read anything he writes, he's that damn good! Everything from the plot, to the battles, to the romance, to the double crosses, to the humor, i mean everything is so good it's hard to believe it's one person writing so many different things so incredibly well. Read this book, you will enjoy it i promise. Give Brent Weeks a few pages and he'll give you a helluva ride! And why are you still reading this go read the Night Angel trilogy and then pre-order Perfect Shadow!
Anjel_Without_Wyngz More than 1 year ago
I loved the Night Angel Trilogy and now I'm sure I'll love the lightbringer series. My main problem with black prism is that the series protagonist "Kip" suffers from what i call WBS (Whiny Female canine Syndrome). Some people find Kip relatable, I on the other hand find that Kip's constant second guessing and detestably low self esteem to be annoying. I also found the fact that kip was fat and out of shape of particular irritance; call me old fashioned but i think hero's should be at least in some semblance of physical health. All the other characters i throughly enjoyed reading. All in all its a great book the only drawback is the aforementioned problems with the protagonist.
RobinLythgoe on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I find myself waffling over whether I really like this book or not¿ The familial political intrigue was wonderfully dark and twisted. The magic system was interesting and vivid ¿ until it started to feel cartoony (though my opinion may have been influenced by illness). It became unnecessarily complicated and was all-too-often bogged down in long-winded lectures and technical details about how it functions. I kept visualizing everything in brightly colored plastic. The emphasis seemed to be on the magic rather than the characters, and the three viewpoint characters (Kip, Gavin/Dazen Guile, and Karris) share an unfortunate tendency toward the same flavor of sarcasm in their 'self talk', which I found made them less and less individual and/or believable ¿ or even likable. 15 y.o. Kip is raised in a backwater village but says and does things more suitable to someone better educated and older (unless he's whining about things, which also happens a lot). Gavin seems to try (very hard) to be likable and good, but he is also extremely arrogant. I like the idea of him, but he doesn't seem to fulfill the potential. Karris's character suffers for the slow uncovering of her relationship with the Guile brothers, leaving her feeling, at best, unfinished.The writing style tended toward the awkward and repetitious. The story itself is engaging, but not enough to make me want to pick up the second in the series.And¿ if there was any reference to a "Black Prism" anywhere, I missed it. I'm still wondering what the title has to do with the book.
jeff123321 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I really enjoyed this book. Its magic system is imaginative and unique. The world created was good also. I wish a little more work went into the characters though. But a really good book.
majkia on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Kip is running for his life. His entire village is being razed to the ground and his friends are dying around him. He's backed into a corner when he suddenly discovers he can draft green. He wins free and runs for it.Meanwhile we meet the Prism. The most powerful drafter of color magic (all the colors) in the world, and leader of the Chromeria, the college for drafters. He's got his problems too. The fellow razing Kip's town has declared himself King and is beginning a rebellion, not only of the people, but of the magic drafters from that land as well.The Black Prism is a beautifully crafted novel. The characters are all complex and deeply drawn, each with flaws and failures, each conflicted and insecure deep down. Even the bad guys are complex and interesting. The magic is imaginative and creative, wtih magical workers 'drafting' colors of magic each with its own properties and limitations.I cared deeply about the characters, laughed and worried and cheered. Highly recommended! Can't wait for the next book!
Lavinient on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I liked this one. Some of the dialogue was awkward or too silly, and the magic system was a little hard for me to imagine at times. But I liked the world building and the characters. I was surprised how much I enjoyed Kip. He is a clumsy, always saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, overweight teenager, but I found him endearing and hope his character gets a chance to grow in this series. I also enjoyed Gavin's scheming and plotting character, and I wonder how he will handle the circumstances the author left him at the end of this book.The plot surprised me in a few places, and I love being surprised, so another positive for me. As I said the magic system was a little hard to imagine at times, but I still thought it very creative and refreshing. So I am giving it a solid 4 stars and look forward to the next book in this series.
stefferoo on LibraryThing 25 days ago
My first Brent Weeks novel and I have to say it wasn't really what I expected. The Black Prism wasn't a bad book by any means, but there were still several things about it that kept me from getting into it completely.First of all, the magic system. Based on chromaturgy, it's one of the more interesting and unique magic systems I've ever encountered in fantasy novels. The people who can harness light, called drafters, can create a substance from it called luxin which can take on different colors of their spectrum. Each color has unique properties, like blue is hard and strong, green is flexible and springy, orange is slick and slippery etc, so drafters can create many different things out of luxin.As unique as this system is, it was also very difficult for me to visualize. I can't help but picture these luxin constructions as pieces of plastic, transparent and looking quite tacky in this world. When I read about the tall buildings made of luxin in the Chromeria city and the characters walking around in it, all I could think about was those colorful plastic hamster cages you can buy at petstores with all those tubes you can add to it to make it a funhouse. It's not the book, it's me. But that kinda ruined the effect it was going for, to say the least.I also didn't really like the way Weeks jumped from point-of-view to point-of-view at the beginning of the novel. I'm normally okay with authors switching between characters, but he did it in a distracting way, sometimes cutting off chapters right in the middle of a scene in a way that doesn't really make sense to me. To illustrate how I felt, it was like watching someone start to take a jump, then having the scene change mid-jump to follow the actions of another character, only to return after a while to the original character to watch them land. It didn't happen to me so much near the end, but usually pacing at the beginning of a novel is critical for me, and so that took a bit away from my initial enjoyment.What ultimately kept me from being being truly absorbed into the story, however, was the difficult time I had trying to connect to the characters. For one, I just don't understand Kip at all. I know he's supposed to be an awkward boy, given his life and what happens to him in the novel, but I felt uncomfortable about him on a whole other level. His awkwardness felt forced and superficial; one moment he's scared and meek, and another he's full of sass and sarcasm. I get how that whole saying-the-wrong-thing-at-the-wrong-time is supposed to work for him, but unfortunately that always seems to come at the most inopportune times in the novel in a way I don't think was intended. Several times I felt myself getting really into the action and events of the book, only to have that atmosphere completely shattered by something totally inappropriate Kip says to try to be funny...and fails.The other characters are a little bit better, even though I noticed Weeks has a habit of making everyone "grin" a lot -- a habit I've notice from several other authors, which can get really maddening. I like Gavin and am intrigued by what his big secret will mean for his character and his future. Liv was another character that I wish had had more depth, but by the end of the novel she had chosen a path I didn't expect so I'm looking forward to see how things turn out for her. Kariss has some secrets herself, and I'm interested in where those will lead.
kylenapoli on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Took me a few chapters to get oriented to the world Weeks has created here, but once I did -- damn, this guy is good.
elf2060 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Imaginative tale that combines manipulation of colors with a kingdom in turmoil. Each color has its own characteristics and gives a particular wielder specific abilities. The melding of colors give individuality to powers but the Prism is able to utilize all of the colors of the spectrum. There are a remarkable number of twists and one is kept guessing about hidden motives and unusual allies and it is difficult to determine who to truly root for as more and more is revealed. A highly entertaining introduction to a very creative series.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing 25 days ago
In a world where colour is the root of magic, there was a war. The winners and losers aren't obvious and some of the things that are done aren't exactly obviously good things. In this world Gavin Guile is one of the most powerful people. He's fickle and entertaining and he's trying hard to do his best. When you work with magic you have a limited life, eventually the magic will burn you out and Gavin will hunt you down. Into his life comes a boy who is supposed to be his son. Some of his plots start to unravel.It did feel like I was reading book 2 of a series and I sometimes wanted to know more about the world sooner, but it's an interesting concept and I do like Gavin.
Kassilem on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This is the first book I completed in the new year 2011, and what a book to start the year off. I've only ever read one other book that used color with the magic and that was Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, so it was a with great joy that I realized The Black Prism was going to be a uniquely different fantasy novel from those I've read in the past.I love fantasy of all kinds, but it's refreshing when you come across one that has something never seen before. This is the first of Brent Week's books that I have read so his style of writing caught me off guard at first. He doesn't give you his world's history all in the first few chapters but rather unravels it with the story. It makes sense, since the characters already know what happened. By holding off on dropping it all on you at once, Week's allows the characters voices be heard and not just a narrator. There is also subtle humor embedded throughout the story. It's not often laugh out loud humor, but I sometimes think Week's style of humor is the best. It's simple and not forced. The story itself is engaging with twists and turns I never expected. That said; I believe lots of reviewers over-analyze the books they read. Maybe I just don't read that critically. I like to read the books for the story not necessarily for the writing. For me, I either love it, like it, or don't like it. The books I love are usual books that in my opinion are well written with amazing stories. They are oftentimes books I would read again and/or buy. Most everything else I like. Only a select few make it on my "don't like" list. Sometimes the loves drop to likes months later after the initial wow-ness fades, but generally they stay. In this case, I loved this book. Depending on how much I like the next book I may even buy it. I recommend it to any fantasy lover looking for something uniquely new.