I find myself waffling over whether I really like this book or not… The familial political intrigue was wonderfully dark and twisted. The magic system was interesting and vivid – until it started to feel cartoony (though my opinion may have been influenced by illness). It became unnecessarily complicated and was all-too-often bogged down in long-winded lectures and technical details about how it functions. I kept visualizing everything in brightly colored plastic. The emphasis seemed to be on the magic rather than the characters, and the three viewpoint characters (Kip, Gavin/Dazen Guile, and Karris) share an unfortunate tendency toward the same flavor of sarcasm in their 'self talk', which I found made them less and less individual and/or believable — or even likable. 15 y.o. Kip is raised in a backwater village but says and does things more suitable to someone better educated and older (unless he's whining about things, which also happens a lot). Gavin seems to try (very hard) to be likable and good, but he is also extremely arrogant. I like the idea of him, but he doesn't seem to fulfill the potential. Karris's character suffers for the slow uncovering of her relationship with the Guile brothers, leaving her feeling, at best, unfinished.
The writing style tended toward the awkward and repetitious. The story itself is engaging, but not enough to make me want to pick up the second in the series.
And… if there was any reference to a "Black Prism" anywhere, I missed it. I'm still wondering what the title has to do with the book.