The Black Prism by Brent Weeks || Fantasy Book Review

Spoiler Free

Oh, The Black Prism, how I’ve looked at you with trepidation. I knew this Lightbringer fantasy series was beloved by many, and harshly critiqued by reviewers I trust. So I went into this reading with caution, but optimism, because who doesn’t want to love every book they read?

I’ll start with the positives, and the main reason I picked up this book in the first place. The magic system that follows wielding colors (and the magical leader of said world being able to wield them all) was fascinating. I loved learning the ins and outs of these abilities just like I had when learning about allomancy in the Mistborn series.

But the people wielding that magic grated on my nerves. I had heard that some saw the perspective of Kip to be sexist, constantly looking at and thinking about women’s bodies. But I thought hey, if it’s just that one teen boy brain, then I can move past it. Sadly, it permeated the rest of this world too— while in male POVs and female ones. Slut shaming, girl-hate and fascination with breasts abound. While unsurprising and a “realistic” depiction of one possible make-up of a society, it’s annoying to live in for a 19 hour audiobook. (But narrator Simon Vance is *chefs kiss*).

But that’s not my biggest gripe. I found some storytelling decisions to sap the story of all intrigue. Several “reveals” and “twists” along the way were exposed way earlier in the story than you’d typically expect, or so heavily foreshadowed that any casual fantasy fan would be able to see them coming from a mile away. Why these reveals weren’t saved for later on in the story, or why certain scenes weren’t told from a different POV to maintain the secrecy, I cannot fathom. My one inkling of intrigue that’s pushing me to pick up the second book was told in interludes/as a tertiary storyline. Shouldn’t I care about what the main characters are doing?? It made reading this a slog at times.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

P.S. (post-review-writing) I’ll soldiered on and gave Weeks one more chance in this series (mainly because my BF who I buddy read with wanted to, despite his own quibbles with the writing). But after The Blinding Knife, I decided to stop following this series.

The Black Prism (Lightbringer #1) by Brent Weeks
Read on audio, narrated by Simon Vance

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