Emblems: Mouse Over for Details

Author: Brent Weeks
Lightbringer #1
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Pages: 763
Published: August 25th 2010
Source: Personal Copy
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First Sentence

“Kip crawled toward the battlefield in the darkness, the mist pressing down, blotting out sound, scattering starlight.”


Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals.

But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.


It took me a little while to warm up to The Black Prism.

Partly, this is because I was still experiencing a case of Post Awesome Book/Series Depression from having finished Brent Week’s original series. I wasn’t ready for it to be over and so even though, reading this one, I could recognise that the writing craft was strong, the story good and the main antagonist somewhat unique…

Well, I just didn’t care. Heck, it’s my reading time and I can pout if I want to!

Despite myself, I ended up quite thoroughly engrossed in the story by the end. And desperately wanting the next book. ((Which thankfully comes out later this year.))

The magic system which requires invoking colours — similar and yet so different from that of Warbreaker — was exciting and not without its rules and restrictions. Over use or over time, wielders of Chromaturgy have more and more of their colours reflected in their eyes. In their irises to be more precise. Overuse is known as ‘breaking the halo’ as the colour spills into the whites of their eyes.

It is expected that a Chromaturgist will end their life before they break the halo, but some few choose not to and instead — arguably — go insane. Of these, some few become Colour Wights, reforging their very bodies by the nature of the magics they’ve indulged.

I found this to add quite a weight to the use of magic not present in many other stories. As awesome as some of the uses of magic were, particularly during the book’s intense battle scenes, you have this information riding in the back of your mind giving cause for concern for your favourite characters and the consequences of what may happen even if they win.

Besides the action, there is plenty of intrigue as well. One particular reveal — which I shan’t spoil, of course — came as such a surprise and had extreme significance for the entire story. It added an exceptional layer of depth to the narrative from that point on, it had so many consequences on all you knew — thought you knew — it was somewhat mind blowing.

Each and every time you heard something about the characters involved you had to consider and reconsider exactly what it meant, and I loved it.

And that ending… Hoo-boy. It adequately resolved the main arc of this first book, wrapping back around to the beginning even in a neat way, but the hook placed for the second book. Oi. Let’s just say that I am exceptionally glad it is scheduled to be released soon!