National best-selling author Carol Berg returns to the world of her award-winning Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone with an all-new tale of magic, mystery, and corruption....
How much must one pay for an hour of youthful folly? The Pureblood Registry accused Lucian de Remeni-Masson of "unseemly involvement with ordinaries", which meant only that he spoke with a young woman not of his own kind, allowed her to see his face unmasked, worked a bit of magic for her....
After that one mistake, Lucian's grandsire excised half his magic and savage Harrowers massacred his family. Now the Registry has contracted his art to a common coroner. His extraordinary gift for portraiture is restricted to dead ordinaries - beggars or starvelings hauled from the streets.
But sketching the truth of dead men's souls brings unforeseen consequences. Sensations not his own. Truths he cannot possibly know and dares not believe. The coroner calls him a cheat and says he is trying to weasel out of a humiliating contract. The Registry will call him mad - and mad sorcerers are very dangerous....
©2014 Carol Berg (P)2014 Audible Inc.
This wonderfully written, as are all Carol Berg’s books, combines a fine mystery and well-imagined fantasy. It tells the story of a young sorcerer’s growing awakening and realisation that all is not as it seems.
Lucian, the narrator is compelling and so is Bastien. I also loved Constance’s malapropisms.
This is my first time with MacLeod Andrews. He is perfect as the narrator and provides the right amount of profound sombreness demanded by the story as and when required.
As with Ms. Berg’s other books, we encounter pain and sorrow that is almost unbearable but there is also hope, love and yes, joy.
Eagerly awaiting book 2 which is in my pre-order list.
A fantastic start to a new trilogy! The plot is dynamic and new. The characters are a little... I'm not sure what the right description is. Wooden? Superficial? Both these words are too intense. It's only a vague sense of incompleteness that dogs them.Perhaps not fully realised is the best description of them. Good is good, bad is bad and evil is evil. They aren't particularly complex characters.
Quick synopsis: this is a world with a rigid caste structure. The main character finds himself an outcast with no clue of why. It becomes clear that there is a cabal that is willing to kill to ensure that the caste structure remains intact. Throw in civil war and murder and the resulting plot is exciting.
It ended on a fantastic cliffhanger - you'll be waiting for book 2 with bated breath!
"A 'JUST GET ON WITH IT' Book"
This is the first novel I've read/heard from Carol Berg. She can REALLY give BEAUTIFUL Prose, and great scene and character descriptions... She can make you "Connect with a character", however, this is also how I started getting lost, quickly uninterested, and dozing off in bed. 12 hours of this 20 hour book (don't get me wrong, I LOVE long books and series) were spent in "Character Development" and "Misunderstandings", which got mired down in wordy details.
It almost takes 3 days to tell about 3 days of the story line... At one point, Listening in bed, I woke my wife up and scared the dogs by suddenly (and unexpectedly) bursting out loud, "PLEASE! I GET IT! SEEN IT A THOUSAND TIMES! 'HIGHEST HEIGHTS, DEEPEST DEPTHS'! JUST MOVE IT ALONG!" My Wife rolled over without really waking up fully, and mumbled, "Which book? Need to delete it before I get to it". Meanwhile the dogs were ringed around the bed with their fur standing up, facing outward, growling, like, "HOOO-LEEE CRAP! WHAT DID WE MISS?!?!? MOUNTAIN LION?!?"
I usually say "I HATE Fantasy Novels", and I realize that THIS is why. I get sucked back into the Fantasy Gene by Brandon Sanderson, Rob J. Hayes, Brian McClellan, Joe Abercrombie, etc.. and think "Maybe The Fantasy genre has FINALLY Changed for the better?" and then you promptly hit a series like this (which is probably fantastic if there is an abridged version).
The Main Character usually doesn't seem to know if he's awake or asleep, Insane or Sane, and there's always some simple point of confusion that leads down LONG twisty paths to nowhere, because the character is always unable to respond to misunderstandings, or someone keeps a simple secret for a silly reason that would have saved HOURS of going nowhere.
First day of 7th grade English, our teacher said, "If you want to fail this class, turn in stories with any form of '...and then he woke up and it was all a dream'". I heard that again from a College English Lit Professor. Even being an Engineer, with our legendary poor writing and grammar skills, I know THAT lesson.
"Wheel Of Time" broke me from 'buying the next book in a series' simply because I keep thinking: "It has Rave reviews! It HAS to get better!" (..And it never does).
This book just didn't make my Bunny Hop.
This and the 2nd book are fantastic. I can easily understand why Brandon Sanderson says that Carol Berg is one of the people who influenced his writing. She has quite an imagination. When I first started listening to these books I thought I knew where they were going, but much to my satisfaction I was wrong. These books are full of surprises, which sent my imagination flying, and left me hungering for more, and yet satisfied at the time the story ends. The magic system is really cool and it really develops in the 2nd book. MacLeod Andrews does an Excellant job too. I've only listened to one other series narrated by MacLeod before and he just did a so-so job on it. Now that I know how good a narrator he can be I'll be looking for other books that he narrates. I highly recommend this series to anyone that likes epic fantasy and novel, interesting magic systems!
"Set "During" the Lighthouse Series"
I was not the biggest fan of the Lighthouse series - the foundation for this world. Something seemed off about the plot and the pace. I can wholeheartedly say the Sanctuary series is a better series. It helps if you have some of the mythology background from the prior work, however.
Also note that this was originally advertised as a Duet - my assumption was Duet meant the entire series was 2 books. I really hate starting a partially completed story not knowing when or even if it will get completed. After just finishing book 2, Ashes and Silver, it does not appear the series will end at that book. There's nothing like a cliffhanger, just obvious that more should coming.
What I enjoyed about the series was it held to the main character. Too many authors today spin off narration to a dozen or more characters whether those characters are interesting, integral or not.
The Sanctuary series expands on the world built in Lighthouse and through the use of the "hero," crafts a very entertaining story that initially seems like it might be semi-detective story in nature, but uses that device just to setup the continuing plot and is mostly the 1st have of book 1.
My only complaint in the story is the "Sanctuary" plot resolution seems rushed and a little "oh-by-the-way" in favor of other plot lines. As mentioned in the review title, much of what happens is in parallel to the events in the Lighthouse series, but almost no crossover occurs. This was one of those series that I found myself listening to in the car, at home, before bed etc...
"Lovely, engaging and well performed."
Another great work from Carol Berg, and a laudable performance by McLeod Andrews. The story was truly engaging and developed in directions I was often surprised by. No cookie cutter effort here, although I know I scarcely need to state that about Berg. The narration was superb. I can't say I found every accent beautiful, but that would be unfair to demand in a work of this type. I merely state it to note my honest reaction.
"Not up to Carol Berg's standards"
The book reads more like the outline of the book Ms Berg set out to write. It is slow starting and then jumps along at full swing with occasional elaboration of detail. It is a complex and promising plot, but the rough edges are showing. It is not as good as her other books but the reader can hope that the next books in the series are better polished.
For instance, she kills off almost all his large, extended family in a terrible fire. I'm not counting that as a spoiler because it happens before the first chapter. Even though it happened just 3 months before the opening of the book, he is not as depressed as you would expect. This seems to be a detail that needed more work.
For my own tastes, I do wish she refrained from torturing the characters as much as she does. We want the villains to be despicable but If you take it to heart, you might find it too unpleasant.
"Good but not for everybody."
Depends on the kind of reader they are. Yes, if they match the genre of this type of book. Not going to recommend this book to people who really only read Epic Fantasy. The book is in first person.
Lucien hard not to like. He is the main character when your reading a 1st person book.
When Lucien gets his day and calls out the murder of the little girl... Plus a whole bunch more then that.
To be honest.. I fell asleep during this book a whole bunch of times. I would have to go back chapters because I fell asleep so much. Do not get me wrong the book is not boring, its just not really exciting. I almost gave it a 3 star to be honest. But I thought some of the Robin Hobb fans might like this book.
Over all this book is written well and the magic system is fun, along with the world building. This book has many things to offer. I kind of felt some of the battle scenes were a tad weak.
And the book ends in a cliff hanger ... If you like Lucien at all your going to want to find out what happens to him in book two.
"Excellent story excellently narrated. "
I love every Carol Berg I've ever read. The last audiobook of hers I got was so disappointing because of the awful narration. This made up for it. I can't wait for the next one.
MacLeod Andrews is my favorite performer. He could read a menu and make it intriguing. The story is good. Slow at times. The twists and turns are well executed. The world is interesting.
Good Story excellent narrative looking forward to next book which I just bought! hopefully second book just as good or even better
loved it! The narrator is one of my favorite, he's actually the reason I found this book and I'm glad I did. Very good read! I'd say more, but I HAVE to go start the next one .....'nuf said!
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.