Saturday, January 12, 2013

Book Review: The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

I remember when I first read Brent Weeks' "Night Angel Trilogy" a couple years ago. My fantasy-loving friend (the one who recommended "The Name of the Wind" to me a while back!) lent me the first book of the trilogy, "The Way of Shadows", and I devoured the entire series in a couple of weeks--even downloading the PDF file (I know, I know, it's illegal...oops) because I just couldn't wait to read the next book! When I found out that Mr. Weeks had written another series, however, I don't know why I didn't immediately grab the first book and begin another journey when I'd loved his first trilogy. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you're so accustomed to the first world and its characters that moving onto another totally different world is something of a betrayal. Or maybe I had some sort of premonition that it just wasn't going to be as good. Unfortunately, I think I was right...

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.

I hardly ever not finish a book. I hate it. Never knowing what ends up happening in the world or how the characters develop is akin to treachery. That's doing the book an injustice. But I don't know what just didn't do it for me in "The Black Prism". It just didn't pull me through its pages. I think it could do with the fact that the chapters jumped around different characters' viewpoints a little too much. It was hard to really become invested in the characters despite the fact that they were interesting and had their own backstories that unfurled as the book progressed, and, to me, a compelling narrative is a must for any book. It's disappointing because I think that the characters all have potential to be great, interesting people who change and do amazing things throughout the story, but I just never became interested in them, at least in the first half of the book that I did read.

Another thing that didn't quite cinch it for me was the slow pace of the plot. Maybe it again has to do with the fact that we jumped around too much from one point of view to the next, but too many things happened one after another, and the things that did happen didn't interest me much. Even now I'm not 100% sure what the overarching storyline is, without which the plot falls flat.

Don't get me wrong. "The Black Prism" does have a lot of potential, but I just never got hooked in the first half of the book, which is dangerous for any story. Who knows? Maybe it really does get better and super fun in the last half! I just felt like I was on this book for too long and wanted to move onto the huge stack of books that were recently released (on my birthday, no less!). I've read some good reviews on "The Black Prism", though, so maybe this is just me. My friend also remarked that this book is just "okay", but I'd check it out for myself and read the first few chapters--it just didn't really do it for me!

Rating: 1.5/5

*Please remember that I have really shamefully not finished the book! This is a review of only the first half--I've heard great things about the book overall, like the intense plot twist towards the end. This should not be read as a wholesome review!!

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