Well, Brent Weeks, you got me. You sucked me in to your polychromatic world, and now I’m going to have to read everything else you’ve written. The Black Prism is the first book in the Lightbringer series, an epic fantasy series with a color-based magic system. There was a truly varied and interesting cast of characters: Kip, a chubby, awkward teenager who has always been a bit of an outcast; Gavin Guile, the Prism and the Most Interesting Man in the World; and Karris, Gavin’s smoking hot bodyguard with mad skills and a bruised heart. There’s also a misguided student who has Kip drooling over her, a retired general, another Blackguard bodyguard who is as funny as he is immense, and a mysterious prisoner who is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.
The characters made this story for me. I felt so much sympathy for poor, awkward Kip, but he also made me laugh and surprised me with his bravery. Gavin is just about one of the most attractive men I’ve ever read. He’s got sass and personality and kindness and determination oozing from his pores. Ironfist and Karris and Corvan were all fantastic, as well. Weeks did a great job crafting characters that I cared about. Also, I really appreciated that Weeks made warrior women so prevalent in his Blackguard and throughout his world that his central female-warrior character didn’t stand out just because she was a woman who could fight; she stood out because she was fierce and beautiful and was simply better and badder than many of her compatriots. That’s feminism, right there.
The magic system in this book was really unique. When I first started reading, the magic seemed kind of cheesy to me, to be honest. Color doesn’t seem like the most brutal basis for magic, does it? But I was wrong! The differences between the luxin of each color, and the different personality traits exhibited by each color’s drafters, were really intriguing. And getting into the differences between monochromes, bichromes, polychromes, and a Prism gives a reader a lot of food for thought. Also, Big Jasper, the island-city that is home to the Chromeria school, sounds absolutely gorgeous. I think that Heaven might look a bit like Big Jasper.
All in all, this was a fantastic read. It is definitely not a stand-alone, though. Should you choose to read it, make sure you have access to the second volume. Because the end of the book definitely leaves you hanging. One of the few things I dislike about fantasy is the plethora of cliffhangers that dominates the genre, but that just means that there’s more for me to read! Overall, I would give this a 4.5 out of 5, and will round that up to 5 stars here on Goodreads. A fantastic start to what I hope will be a fantastic series.