Monday, April 18, 2016

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

Weeks is not a beloved fantasy author in my eyes. He tends to have weak female characters and all of his male characters are immature.  But damn it if he doesn't know how to create a setting and a political environment.  In this book, the first in a four book series, certain individuals have the ability to use light energy to create a substance called "luxin," which changes properties depending on which color your talent is aligned with.  But there's supposed to be one guy, The Prism, who can actually work with all the colors, and he's a political leader, but we learn fairly early on that there were actually TWO brothers who had this ability and their squabbling led to a war.  And chaos ensues.

I thought this was a neat bit of world building. I like that there are different properties of luxin, although I'll admit to having to repeatedly go back to the descriptions (blue is strong - use it to make armor! yellow is a liquid and hard to work with!) to keep things clear in my mind, but I thought it was a fun use of something everyone can kind of picture in your head. I even liked the political structure. It's always interesting to think about what an authoritarian government would look like if the autocrat in charge was somehow meritorious.  But then again, I guess it's not really that much different than hereditary monarchs in terms of being lucky to be born as Prism, but it somehow seems different in my head.

Anyway.

I decided to order the second book in the tetralogy from the library. Juvenile characters and weak women be damned.  I want to know more about this world.  Plus, I am holding out hope that the women situation will be fixed in future books. There's a plot point about "superchromates," who can see very fine gradations in color and they're mostly women. I have a sneaking suspicion that small plot point is going to be important in subsequent books.

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