I downloaded a sample of this book a few years ago and didn’t buy and read the whole thing. I shouldn’t have done that. I really missed out.
This isn’t the first book I’ve read from Brent Weeks. I should have known I would love it. Weeks has built a world that nods to the modern epic fantasy tropes and sensibilities while at home with the post-modern cannon in terms of execution and character.
What I loved about this book is how all the characters commanded a certain level of intelligence that I don't see as often as I feel I should in this genre. I enjoyed living in the heads of fully realized characters.
The Black Prism primarily follows Kip, Gavin, and Karris. Kip’s insecurity and flippant tongue make him fun to read, though you may find yourself groaning at his lack of self-control. Gavin’s extreme competence and power are balanced by his secrets. Karris is our “strong female protagonist.” While I appreciate her character and strong will, I didn’t so much like her plot line.
The magic system of the book appears to be the same as Sanderson’s Warbreaker at first glance. However, Weeks proves that ideas are cheap and execution is king. His magic system and how his world is shaped around it is clearly distinct. And, unlike Warbreaker’s slow progression, The Black Prism’s pacing is quick and feels almost like a thriller as you’re compelled to keep the pages turning.
And the cliffhanger…
Let’s just say it’s a good thing you don’t have to wait several years for a follow-up.
If you're looking for a good epic fantasy and have yet to give this one a try, I’m giving it a green light.