I read both of these books (the Lightouse Duology) back-to-back during the Spring of 2010. They came highly recommended from a respected author-friend, who also suggested I read them together as if they were published as one book. I heartily agree with that suggestion.
Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg
4 of 5 stars
Read in February 2010
Superb storytelling, twisting plots, puzzles and mysteries, and an apocalyptic convergence made for an excellent and enjoyable read. If it weren’t for the press of other book club selections, I would immediately proceed to the second half of this duology, Breath and Bone.
Even though the story is told in the first person, by Valen, it flowed well. I struggled to connect with Valen, a fugitive from his family, constantly on the run and hiding for twelve long years. Magic is strictly registered and contracted among pureblood families and any offspring willful enough to escape the privilege are hunted down relentlessly.
Escaping a battle gone badly, set upon by his own comrade and left to die in a ditch, Valen wakes up in a monastery’s infirmary and claims two weeks sanctuary. Thinking he can hide out among the tonsured brothers, he resolves to join their ranks, vowing falsely to obey their Rule for the rest of his days.
Yet all is not prayer, singing, reading, scribing or toiling among these gentle quiet monks. Valen soon finds more than just the porridge is thickening in the unseasonable cold.
Highly recommended for lovers of fantasy, adventure and apocalyptic fiction.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Read in February 2010
Two worlds, symbiotically connected, only touching each other on the periphery of the senses, plagued by a scourge destroying the human realm which in turn shrinks and blinds the Danae realm. Can a cure be found? Can the world be healed?
But what sacrifice justifies the means? Does Osriel hold the answer in his pact with the ‘devil’? Does Silas’ goal to purge the world of all classes, races and knowledge, to reboot the world in her egalitarian vision offer the best hope? Or Valen, standing astride both worlds, perceiving the health just beyond his grasp, if only he can overcome his past and the obstacles and enemies in his present.
Beautiful world building, stunning prose, intriguing magic system (in both worlds), satisfyingly twisty plot and exceptionally well drawn, deep characters round out this remarkable conclusion to the Lighthouse series.
I highly recommend both Flesh and Spirit and this novel to all fantasy readers. I suggest they be read together, as one large volume.
One thought on “Book Review: Lighthouse Duology by Berg (4 stars)”
I just finished reading this duet this weekend. I agree that the two books have to be read as one, because the first one just doesn’t end. It took me about two hundred pages to get into the first one, because I thought Valen acted like a spoiled brat, but once his Danae roots came out it got a lot better. Overall, they’re pretty good.
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