The Black Prism  - Brent Weeks I finally got around to reading this book after seeing Amazon advertise "The Blinding Knife" at me for several months. It finally wore me down and I decided to see what it was all about.

I have to recommend this book to a number of people, if for nothing else, the elaborate, well-structured explanation for how and why magic works. The author had it fully thought out and explained down to a science. In fact, magic basically IS science in this book, I would say.

I was surprised by a revelation that came out about a third of the way through, which may not have surprised me if I'd read the grossly inaccurate and spoilerific description posted on amazon. I'll give you a hint. It mentions twins. There are no twins in this book whatsoever. The description doesn't do the book justice, and I think could easily ruin some things for people. So, if you haven't read that yet, I highly advise you not to.

The main character, Gavin Guile, is enigmatic. I wasn't sure I liked him initially. I just couldn't decide. I was leaning toward dislike, at first. But as more of the history between Gavin, his brother Dazen, and Karris White Oak was gradually revealed, I grew to like the main character more and his brother less and less. It was perhaps a cheap tactic, the way the author kept some of the history from the reader until later points at the book, but it did result in genuine surprise on my part, more than once, and I honestly really enjoy being surprised by books. Too often, I can see where a story is going these days. Perhaps because I just read so much of this genre. It's a rare author who brings out truly unexpected revelations and turns of events.

This book did hit upon one of my biggest pet peeves. I almost reduced the rating by a star for it, but in the end I decided not to, because he may wind up doing something with it that makes it worth it in the end, so I'm not going to hold it against him yet. That pet peeve is when a plot revolves around a character misinterpreting something crucial. I can't stand that. It drives me fracking nuts. But a great deal of the book's theme is deception and misdirection. The main character is named Guile for a reason. I also have the impression, because the main character essentially told me, there is still a great deal I don't know.

There is slavery in this book. And it isn't entirely reviled, which makes me a little bit uncomfortable while being perhaps a somewhat different take on it than I'm used to seeing. There are people who treat slaves well, and who have true loyalty from their slaves. There is etiquette with regard to slaves, such as it being considered rude to address a slave by his or her name without the slave's permission. This was interesting. It is something that may make many readers uncomfortable, so I am putting it out there in case this is not the book for you. It won't be for everyone.

Some modern concepts are touched upon in here. Again this is something I appreciate. Those fantasy readers who are big on historical accuracy won't care for that. Personally, I think fantasy is not history and thus has no obligation to be historically accurate. There is a character who thinks back on an incident that is really a rape. The character doesn't think of it as this, but looks back on it with shame and guilt that is pretty common for women who have had this experience. I found it all really believable. My hope is that at some point in the future, this will be discussed and the assertion will be made that it really was rape. This is another incidence that will be off-putting for some readers, so I mention it in case this, again, is not the book for you.

Other concepts that were touched upon, which I appreciated, were class differences. I thought this was handled quite well.

As I said, this book would not be for everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next one.