Posted: April 4, 2016 in Book Reviews


The Black Prism by Brent Weeks. Book 1 of Lightbringer

626 pages

The Black Prism is set in a world where magic light is the source of all magic. Divided into seven Satrapies and Seven colors of the spectrum. Drafters pull the essence of light, called luxin to perform their magical feats and creations. While some can Draft a single color, (called a monochrome) some can draft 2 making them Bichromes, or 3 or more called Polychromes. Only one however can draft all Colors and he is The Prism. He is not only the Political leader of the world but also the religious leader of the world. Set up as emperor Gavin Guile rules all seven Satrapies (similar to  countries).

Gavin Guile is head of the Chromeria, the central headquarters of the drafting world and religion. It is where Drafters go to train and learn to use their powers. The Chromeria has been set up as the only place where one can learn to draft. Drafters are worth a lot of money and are sponsored by their respective  governments and nobles to be trained and then employed and used at their direction and desire.

In Tyrea however a new king has risen to challenge the rule of The Prism. Every 2 years the other nations take turns ruling and occupying their lands. This king has had enough and is not taking action to take back his land and bring freedom to his people. Not all the towns in Tyrea however are ready to accept him. Kip is a young man, his village gets burned to the ground by the new king and Kip is the lone survivor.

The prism Gavin Guile was in the area hunting color wights, people who have gone crazy and insane from drafting. Learning Kip was his bastard son, he saves him from the new King Garadul. This is the start of a war against the forces of the Prism, and this new King.

I have to say I really like the magical system and concepts contained within this book. The idea of using the power and pure energy of light as a source of magic is just awesome! This combined with the Prism being the only one with the ability to control all the colors of the spectrum is intriguing. It is similar to the ways of organized religion. With a church leader having the ability and authority to control all and those under them having limited authority or abilities. Kind of like a priesthood of a church and different positions or levels within that priesthood.

One of the things I really liked about this book is the reality that there is no clearly defined good guy or bad guy. The Prism is not who he appears to be and the new King Garadul, at least on the surface seems to be fighting for honorable and good intentions. No one knows who is right and who is wrong in this conflict.

The Prism’s internal struggle is, personally one of the best things about this story. His relationship with his brother is a reflection of his own personal struggles. This story seems to be much more about him than Kip.

Kip is the character that lacks confidence in himself, and yet has that fierce streak and courage beyond even his own comprehension. That is something that I think we can all relate to.

I really liked that idea within this book of Religion being a means to control, manipulate and take advantage of its adherents for personal gain. It is something that is rampant in many organized religions.

This is most evident in this passage from page 564

“Some people can’t handle power. Some men seem decent until you give them a slave, and soon they’re a tyrant, beating and raping the slave in their charge. Power is a test, all power is a test”

“What if the Chromeria has perpetuated this monstrosity because this is how they kept themselves in power? By scarring the Satrapies, saying that only they can train the Drafters born among them – for a price, always for a price – and only they can restrain the Drafters who go mad, which is all of them. By doing that they make themselves forever useful, forever powerful, and by divvy out Drafters to the Satrapies, they make themselves the center of everything. When you judge the Chromeria by its fruits do you find it to be a place of love and peace and light – as one might expect from Orholam’s holy city?”

“It’s not right, It has to end. And since no one else will end it, we will”

As the common phrase says, Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I would certainly recommend this book to anyone. An enjoyable read and I am sure the sequel will be just as good.  I give this book 7/10 book worms.

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