The Black Prism — book review

THE BLACK PRISM by Brent Weeks. Orbit £7.99

Reviewed by Karen Stevens

In a land where magic is divided by colour, the Prism is the most powerful man in the world. But the magic has a price: Gavin Guile, the current Prism, has only five more years to live. With divisions rife after the war that brought him to power almost twenty years ago, Guile has five great deeds to do before he dies. But when he discovers he has a bastard son in the distant country that fought against him his plans, the ties that hold the kingdoms together start unravelling.

After thoroughly enjoying Brent Weeks Night Angel trilogy, I was concerned that his latest novel might not match up to it. I needn’t have worried as The Black Prism is a brilliant book. The world-building is excellent; there’s a real feeling of depth and history, and the tricky issue of making magic different and unusual was accomplished effortlessly.

The characters are entirely credible and well-rounded individuals, neither good nor evil, but various shades of grey. There’s plenty of action and layers and layers of intrigue that kept me turning pages, eager to find out what happened next – and I don’t think it’ll give too much away to reveal that as the first in a trilogy it ends on a series of cliff-hangers. This is one of the best books I’ve read this year and I’m eagerly looking forward to the sequel. Highly recommended.