Brent Weeks

Lightbringer, book 1

Orbit (2011 )

ISBN: 978-1-84149-905-5

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely

The Night Angel trilogy were some of my favourite books read in 2009 (released overseas late 2008). I received a copy of the first book, The Way of Shadows to review, and I loved it so much that I immediately bought books two and three myself. This doesn’t often happen with review books, so is a good recommendation! That trilogy combined dark characters with action-packed narrative, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Black Prism, the start of Weeks’ new trilogy, doesn’t pack quite the same punch, but was still a really interesting addition to the dark side of fantasy.

Gavin Guile is the Prism, whose magical powers make him the most powerful man in his world. But the peace he has created is fragile at best – warring factions and remnants of past conflict threaten at every pass, and Gavin’s own life is not destined to be long. His aim is to achieve five more goals before his death, anticipated in just five years. But those five goals are worldchangers – is it even possible?

I don’t want to say too much about the actual plot, because it’s very twisty-turny. Not everything in Guile’s world is as it seems, and the discovery of a son born after the war fifteen years earlier throws more than one spanner into the works of his carefully laid plans. I’m a fan of a plot twist or two, but I actually got a bit tired of the “But wait! There’s a twist!” in the story – it seemed a little overused throughout the book, and this is only the first novel of the series.

However, that was my main complaint about the book, which was otherwise very readable and even somewhat fun despite the sometimes dark tone. The magic system Weeks has created for his world is fascinating, with devastating consequences for its users, which means that every action must be considered – it’s not absolute power, which makes a nice change. In all, while I didn’t love The Black Prism as I did Weeks’ Night Angel books, I certainly enjoyed it and will look out for book two.