Wednesday, October 16, 2013

review: the black prism

It's been awhile since I've had some new reads that I've been excited about, but thankfully (for my sanity) I seem to be back in the groove again. I really can't believe that the last book I was excited about was back in July. There had been a few stops and starts since then, and after which I just reverted to re-reading some trusty old favourites until I stumbled upon a copy of Brent Weeks' The Black Prism in the sale bin at Coles.

I'm so so glad I picked this baby up. My review can best be summed up with the fact that I stayed up till 3am last night reading partway through the sequel, and only crawled into bed because my eyes got bleary. This is page-turning fantasy at its finest.

The world Weeks builds is vibrant and well thought out, a big selling point for me in fantasy. He touches on every aspect: history, culture, government, religion, geography and winds it into a cohesive whole. His magic system, which is quite literally colour as magic, is brilliant. With all the thinking my quilting has me doing lately about colour theory this fits perfectly into my current headspace.

The Black Prism is the first in a planned series of four books, and focuses mainly on the brothers Gavin and Dazen Guile, and the aftermath of a world they had thrown into war in their struggle for power. At times I wondered if the book was itself a sequel, as Weeks so often referenced the recent past. The brothers are complex and morally challenging characters, who embody that slippery slope of grey between good an evil. The rest of the main cast of characters is equally compelling, from Kip the bastard child in a backwater village, to Karris the woman both brothers loved at one time, to Commander Ironfist of the Blackguard.

There's so much I'd like to say, but Weeks has so many big reveals throughout the book that I don't want to ruin anything. The best advice I can give you is to buy the sequel at the same time you pick this up. You'll save yourself a trip to the bookstore.

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