The Black Prism marks a new series for fantasy writer Brent Weeks, this one called the Lightbringer series. In the first volume, Gavin Guile is a powerful and imposing emperor who is also the Prism, but he finds out that he has a son, and he has to protect him from his enemies. Weeks’ strength is definitely in world-building, and this book proves no exception, featuring a unique magic system that relies on colors and the perceptions of color to indicate the strength of a mage. Kip is the previously mentioned bastard son of Guile, and starts off with a unique voice in the narrative.
Description is another of Weeks’ strengths, and he integrates it well with the plot, characterization, and dialogue. For fans of epic fantasy that isn’t pseudo-medieval or sword and sorcery inspired, Weeks is another great writer to add to your TBR file. If you’ve enjoyed the books of Brandon Sanderson, Tad Williams, and Steven Erikson, you’ll enjoy this series. However, as with many epic fantasies of this scope and nature, the authors devotes a lot of time for “getting to know you” type of character scenes that serve as establishing why we should feel sympathy for a particular person. Although he starts out strongly, Kip is average in this regard. Although I felt for his plight and his situation, he didn’t grab me as much as I hoped he would.
Do you like historical fiction? Do you like fantasy novels? Are you looking for a book that makes you think? If you answered yes to all of these questions, then read on, because I have the perfect book for you.
Stealing Fire by Jo Graham tells the story of the chaos surrounding the death of Alexander the Great and its aftermath through the ever-loyal hero of the novel, Lydias of Miletus. Lydias who, although was once a slave boy, becomes one of Alexander’s soldiers. After the death of the king, Lydias chooses to follow Ptolemy, one of Alexander’s generals who made Egypt his territory. Ptolemy and Lydias, with the help of the Persian archer Artashir and the eunuch Bagoas, Alexander’s lover, must fight to save the fate of the new city of Alexandria and Alexander’s legacy.
I went into this book without many expectations having never read much about Alexander the Great or any of Jo Graham’s other novels beforehand. I loved the actions scenes, they were great and pretty frequent; however, at times, the novel moved too slowly for me. I also am not a fan of politics, so I had a bit of trouble keeping up when the characters discussed it. Reading the scenes with Ptolemy and Lydias’s flashbacks of Alexander transformed such distant historical icons into tangible people for me.