The Black Prism (Lightbringer #1) by Brent Weeks
Rating: 5 stars
Rating: 5 stars
Rosie Thinks: I've just finished 'The Black Prism' for the second time, and it's still left me shaking and staring off into the distance as my mind races over that crazy-intense finale. This story is epic fantasy at its finest and I just can't get enough of it. From the beginning it was one thing after another, flying you through the storyline while still managing to set up incredible characterisation and one of the most unique magic systems I've ever read about.
I had to have a bit of calm-down time after finishing this novel, so I thought of what I liked most about the novel. It was difficult, because I absolutely loved everything. But thing that stood out to me the most was one of our protagonists, Kip Guile. He's the bastard son of the most powerful man in the world, Gavin Guile, though only finds this out at the beginning of the novel. Previously, he'd been living with his drug-addicted mother in a town that bullies and doesn't care about him. Honestly, I didn't like him at first. Not one bit. He's 15 with no self-confidence, used to a life of being unloved and spit on, fat, awkward, and yet still incredibly intuitive and brave. He's completely opposite to the usual strong, handsome and capable fantasy hero, and characterised so perfectly that he just resonated with me. I fell completely and utterly in love with him, and I can whole-heartedly say that he's one of my favourite characters of all time. I can't stand whiney characters, yet Kip didn't annoy me one bit - seeing his constant struggle with himself, and how much he grew into himself over the space of a few weeks in this first novel makes me excited to see how he will turn out.
Despite Kip not being our typical fantasy hero, we have the facade of that in Gavin Guile: charming, seemingly fearless, compassionate, powerful and good-looking. Beneath the surface, though, he's a man drive by his five impossible goals to achieve in five years, and is torn apart by the intricate web of lies he's had to weave. Learning about him from his own perspective was eye-opening, and Weeks crafted him with the perfect amount of fragility and strength to make him a truly admirable character, without getting unrealistic.
The only point that is not in this books favour is Weeks' characterisation of his women characters. I felt like Weeks gave Karris, the woman Gavin's in love with, the stereotypical characteristics of a Strong Female Character and didn't stray too far outside of it. In saying that, I did love her - she was totally badass and completely capable, and hopefully Weeks will give her more independence in the following novels.
This magic in this story would be in my top three Best Ever Magic Systems, without a doubt. It is based around light and colour, with an intricate set of rules that let Weeks' creativity explode and create some really cool inventions. The amount of research he must have put in to create something that is scientifically accurate would've been immense - somehow, a fantasy novel set in a fantasy world taught me more about the colour spectrum than high school science class! There were chunks were the information was dumped on the reader, but it was interspersed with breaks and I understood a lot of it from it being shown, rather than told.
One last thing I found truly commendable about this story is Weeks' writing style. It was direct and to the point, but the way he put you inside each character's heads was incredible. None of the characters' voices sounded anything like the other. Plus, I burst out laughing way too many times and couldn't really explain to my friends why I was almost wetting myself. Weeks honestly thinks of everything and I couldn't find one thing to fault in the storyline. I said it at the beginning, but I'll say it again: this is one of best epic fantasy novels out and I can't recommend it enough!