Saturday, 5 July 2014

Creative Colors

Every once in a while, you need to read a good fantasy novel. Something with a crazy concept that no one would think of, but something that doesn't necessarily need elves and dwarves to say "This is fantasy." After years of passing it on book shelves, I finally picked up a copy of Brent Weeks' The Black Prism, the first in his Lightbringer series. I don't really know what I was expecting with this book, except that it was unlike anything else I'd ever read. The idea is completely original and highly creative, filled with every sort of character you can imagine, and packed with action.

What girl doesn't like sexy guys with knives on their cover?
The story centers around Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world due to his ability to 'draft' any color he needs and use it to either build or destroy. He's loved by virtually everyone for his charm and power, but a cruel King is bent on destroying the world Gavin is trying to protect. 

To make matters even more complicated, Gavin discovers he has a son who is completely unfamiliar to the world but who holds incredible power. Now Gavin must protect him, while keeping an enormous secret that could threaten everyone if it ever escapes...

There isn't much to say about the story without giving some of it away, like the huge plot twist about halfway through that I definitely never saw coming. Weeks has built up an incredible reputation with fantasy novels, so you don't need me to tell you that his work is excellent. The depth to his mythology is extremely impressive and creative. The drafters (magicians) using various colors for magic and what it does to them after a while is unlike anything I've read before.

One of my favorite aspects are the characters. My favorite is Karris, a highborn girl turned renowned warrior who may or may not have started the previous war. But the main characters, Gavin and his son Kip, are unquestionably the strongest. Gavin is clearly a powerful person who likes doing things his way, and who can be utterly ruthless when he needs to be. He only gets better when you find out his secret. He's about as deep as the Mariana Trench, and just as absorbing. Kip on the other hand, is the last person anyone would pick to be a hero. He's fat, awkward, and completely lacking in self-respect and dignity. But he's more than he seems. He knows his strengths, and isn't nearly as weak as he thinks he is. I enjoyed his growth in The Black Prism, and am interested in seeing where he goes later in the series.

The action is also mind-blowing. There's a huge battle at the end that I was eager to read through, not sure who would survive and who would be killed. It kept me turning page after page, after page, eager to see how it all ended.

Anyone who's a hardcore fantasy reader has probably come across Brent Weeks and read some of his work. For those of you who haven't, give it a shot. I guarantee it's not like any other fantasy novel you'll read, and it will be one you remember for a long time.


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