Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Breath and Bone by Carol Berg (5/5 stars)

This is the second book in the Lighthouse Duet by Carol Berg. As I mentioned in my review for the first book, Flesh and Spirit, the end of the first book left me needing to read the second book immediately. Unlike the first book I thought this was an amazing book. It continues right where the last book left off; except this time the fast pace of the end of the first book continues throughout the second book.

Valen has been contracted to serve The Bastard, Price Osriel. In service of the Bastard, Valen will come to find out many things about his heritage and about how all of the mysteries of the Brotherhood and the princes of the realm are tied together. He will also discover the truth of what is wrong with the land of Navronne and how it can be healed.

This book was much more like what I expect from a Carol Berg book. The characters are complex, the themes dealt with in the book bring up greater questions of life, of heaven and of hell. Valen really comes into his own in this book. In his effort to keep his vows he takes both a physical and mental journey that is at times heartbreaking and at other times very joyful. The transformation of Valen's character really is amazing. That is not to say that the other characters lack at all; Prince Osriel is intriguing, Valen's brother Max is also interesting, Price Osreil's healer is a delight, and Elene also has great character. The only character complaint I have is that Valen's sister seems to have fallen of the face of the earth in this book; I had hoped to spend more time learning about her.

Although Valen's journey is vast and very busy; at times the book was paced a bit slow. In this book that worked for me because those periods of slow pacing were filled with beautiful writing describing the trials that Valen undertook. I really loved this book. The beauty of the writing reminded me of Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series. The book ended well; although I was a bit sad when it was over. It makes me wonder if we will see more of this world. There are so many characters in this book, outside of Valen, that have interesting stories to tell. Where the first book was as dark a story as I have ever read, this book was full of light and hope and happiness.

Very good book, definitely redeemed the first book. I still think if some of Valen's time at the monestery had been cut from the first book that this duet could have made a wonderful single book.

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