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Son of Avonar (The Bridge of D'Arnath #1)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  2,220 ratings  ·  86 reviews
Magic is forbidden throughout the Four Realms. For decades, sorcerers and those associating with them were hunted to near extinction.

But Seri, a Leiran noblewoman living in exile, is no stranger to defying the unjust laws of her land. She is sheltering a wanted fugitive who possesses unusual abilities-a fugitive with the fate of the realms in his hands...

Mass Market Paperback, 471 pages
Published February 3rd 2004 by Roc (first published 2004)
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A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinJ.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set by J.R.R. TolkienThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisThe Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
The Best Epic Fantasy
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Best Fantasy Series, Trilogies, and Duologies
250th out of 1,813 books — 7,557 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I have to give Carol Berg credit for her female protagonist. Seri is in no way your typical fantasy heroine. She's neither young nor blond, she's not virginal or a doormat. She's a middle-aged widow who's borne a child. She's cynical and she shows her age. I liked her because, unlike too many women in fantasy novels these days who are little more than cardboard cutouts, I could identify with Seri; she was *real*.

But on the other hand, there's D'Natheil. He's nothing more than a childish bully fo
Jemma Gutierrez
This book made me weep as I have never weep in all 16 years of my existence.

For yet another time, I realized what a great talent and a pen could do to twist and weave words until they become as painful and as vivid as reality itself. This book is soo good i want to yell HALLELUIAH!!! everytime it's mentioned.

The Son of Avonar was the reason why I was still awake at dawn, my eyes red and puffy and mountains of used tissue paper lay on the side of my bed. Never have I read greater love and lo
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
This is the first Carol Berg book I've read, but after finishing this last night I know it won't be the last. First I have to finish this quartet!

The Lady Seriana has exiled herself from all she knows and all she is accustomed to, though with good reason and no hesitation. Her husband Karon was brutally tortured and murdered for being a sorceror, and all their friends too. The only reason she was not also burnt at the stake was because her brother Tomas, the best friend and Champion of King Evar
I can't say how much I loved this book! Carol Berg's writing style is fantastic, and you can't help but fall in love with Seri and Karon. The author establishes the reader's interest in the "present" then cuts back to Seri's past and develops her changes and growth from a young woman, through love and tragedy, intercut with the "present" and the mysterious new sorcerer in her life. Carol Berg cleverly reminds you of the years as they pass through the past, giving a countdown to the inevitable tr ...more
I actually read this a couple of years ago, but I just did a reread/relisten in preparation for finishing the series.

I always love Berg's characters and emotions -- they are vivid and engaging -- and the general atmosphere she creates. OTOH, with every book I find plot holes or plot points that I simply don't "buy". So I think plotting is her weakness, but since I care more about character than plot I am willing to overlook them.

The narrator of this first book in the series, Angele Masters, is v
When I first picked up Son of Avonar I couldn't put it down, but about halfway through I began to lose interest. There was a lot of unnecessary exposition, and several opportunities where Berg could have chosen to *show* the reader some relevant background information through action instead of just *telling* them, but didn't. Though much of the flashback story is relevant to the ultimate thread of the novel, it is a bit tedious since you learn very early on what is going to happen to the charact ...more
Son of Avonar is an amazing fantasy, written in a Lord of the Rings style but with its own special twist. The descriptions are amazing, and the characters are detailed enough that you want to stay with them for another three or four books. It is a little hard to get into at first, but once you pass the first couple of chapters it's more than worth it. The way Carol Berg combines two storylines about the same person while keeping the reader gripped on both is marvelous, and she flows smoothly fro ...more
I have mixed feelings about this book. I have some criticisms. That I still give it three stars despite those criticisms should tell you something about the book’s strengths. After finishing book one there is no doubt that I will read book two. I give Son of Avonar three stars because I want to see what happens next.

Our protagonist is very human. Seri is smart, stubborn, cynical and proud, but she has kindness in her as well. I like how sharp her tongue is and how she uses logic and reason as a
Catherine Ford
I really enjoyed this book. It was unusual, in that it was a fantasy book written from a first person point of view. I enjoyed the detail and texture that the first person narrator brings to the story. All the characters are rich in personality, revealing many different layers through out the story. I must admit that I did not like the ending, but that I think is personal choice and not a writing flaw.
Jul 16, 2008 Sue rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like non-traditional fantasy (no elves, orks or trolls)
I love well-written fantasy that has it's own twist, and Carol Berg does an excellent job of building believable worlds with people you want to follow through three or four books. The first two are the best in the series, with the third one requiring a bit of commitment to get into it, but ultimately worth the read, as you've come to love the characters. I'm working on the 4th one now.
Picked this up at my favorite hole-in-the-wall used book story, near my house. I remembered reading Berg's trilogy Rai-Kirah and liking it.

A couple unusual approaches here for the fantasy genre... first perspective, as told by a female protagonist. Also appreciated the sorcerer-as-persecuted-minority here, some parallels to the persecution of Jews or the Gypsies through our own history: attempts to exterminate them, using them as scape-goats for whatever problems the ruling class had.

I lost inte
Here's the start of another great series by Carol Berg. One thing I like about her is that she is not afraid to make her characters suffer. Their lives are not always nice. Not that these are books that end with you dispirited and unsatisfied. Good things happen to the characters too, but by the time they do, they're really well deserved. Premise in brief: We've got our main lady Seri who was a happily married noblewoman until it was discovered that her much-loved husband was able to use magic, ...more
My favorite thing about Carol Berg's fantasy is her characters. She is wonderful at creating complex, multi-dimensional personalities that never feel fake or forced. They act in ways that make sense with the situations they are in, and while they may not always be likable they are always realistic. The plot of Son of Avonar is intriguing and keeps just the right pace - never a dull moment but never feeling rushed. Berg provides just enough clues in the build-up to lead readers along in big revea ...more
Apr 12, 2010 Bookwatcher rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sci-fi readers
Shelves: witchcraft
This was the second Carol Berg book that I read (I read and commented The Song of the Beast).
Son of Avonar is a great book. Her story is so beautiful and you can fell the love of the main characters leave the pages and reach your heart. I start a fantasy book thinking that was another story of magic and fantastic worlds… well this is a fantasy book, but also a unexpected romantic book.
I’ll certainly read the book 2 of The Bridge of D'Arnath serie.
High point of the book: the journey of Seriana
One thing that sets this series apart from other fantasy series is how the books are written. Son of Avonar could very well sit as a stand alone book, tragic and heart breaking, but complete if you know nothing about the following books. The story jumps around a bit, chronologically, but it all makes sense is the end. It may not be the conclusion that we *want*, but, it works.

The following books change that by giving us multiple point of view characters throughout the series. We learn that where
David Phipps
Decent start of a 4 book fantasy series. I really like the 35 year old female protagonist and how she is portrayed as a tough, independent, educated, fairly normal person that makes mistakes and is not some sort of gifted fighter or magic user. Flashbacks of her past are interwoven with present day chapters to show how she got to where she is now. Overall the book held my interest well and I will continue with the series.
Skimmed through most the last third just to be done with it.
So many problems. A hero with amnesia. The church mistrusting sorcery, when sorcery is needed to save their world! (eyeroll). Flashbacks, flashbacks, flashbacks.
So many characters saying they felt frustrated, confused, etc instead of actually acting like it.

The fact that the entire plot is nearly summarized on the back cover, and said plot doesn't really begin until about 150 pages in should have been a warning for me to stop right ther
Petra Eriksson
This book like any other of Carol Berg, has the deep insigt in human emotions that I love her for. The charcters are deep and interesting and the story moves ahead in an amazing speed. She always seems to be able to write things exactly the way I like it. The endings, the realtionships with love in, and now also female main-charatcers. I usully dislike reading from a female point a view for even the strongest females alwasy seems to end up depend on someone och do everything becuase of love or s ...more
The last 1/3rd of this book really is awesome...the first 2/3rds are a bit torturous to get through. The author sets up this exciting story in the NOW and then has a million flashbacks that are super long and break up the momentum of the plot she set up. Everything is beautifully written don't get me wrong..the flashbacks are great but if they were linear in the plot i think i would be better. I kept wanting to get back to the real story and was really tempted to skim and skip through them. Im g ...more
The Son of Avonar takes some time to start running , and just when it has you going it will stop and take you back to the start of something new. A different style of writing and really appreciate Carol Berg in introducing me to this kind of POV. I enjoyed the read and suggest it for those who are already couple of books completed under their fantasy belt.
This book is a long one but I read it straight through in two days--during which I should probably have benn doing something else. Although the plot is pleasingly exciting, the strength of this book is in its characters. Even the villians and minor characters are three-dimensional, and the heroes are very likable but realistically flawed. The world building is very robust as well--the world described in this book feels real, without the author having given a lot of needless details.

The one criti
Dec 24, 2008 Kristi is currently reading it
I usually am completely in love with Carol Berg, but this book isn't doing it for me. The characters are sharp and interesting, the plot is full of adventure and spicy twists and turns, the setting is full of danger and intrigue....but the story itself starts ten years after a big occurence and then spends more than half of the book explaining the background. It's really awesome that the author spent the time to come up with a detailed history for this world, but I don't necessarily want to read ...more
It was such an enjoyable read that I devoured the story in just a couple of days. A definite must read!
Not as good as her more recent Lighthouse books, but it was a good solid fantasy with an interesting protagonist. Kept me sufficiently distracted from annoying people on the daily bus commute and from this wretched sniffing sneezing cold. I'll agree with another reviewer that names are a problem in this series; excessive Z's, V's and apostrophes in the foreign names and a typical French root for domestic aristocracy and Italian root for peasantry. Not saying I could come up with anything better, ...more
Michael Wilbur
Just interesting enough to keep me reading, not interesting enough to know whether I liked it or not.

Stylistically, the author writes well; complex, visual and evocative. But the story took a long time to get into, and once I got into it, I found it to be somewhat predictable. "Oh, the plot is turning in this direction, I bet that will happen...*20 pages later*...yup...ooh, but another twist, maybe this will happen...yup..."

Generally speaking, a good fantasy novel with a strong, if not overly st
3.5 stars honestly. It was a good story and I fully intend to read the rest of the series. It just seemed like I had to wade through so much text to get to the point. I loved Seri and how atypical she was for a fantasy heroine, though.
Abby Miller
May 19, 2013 Abby Miller rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fantasy Readers
Nice Carol Berg fantasy, a wonderful thick, and political plot, although I thought the magic a bit thin. Her story lines, however never fail to please. Seri is not your typical Fantasy heroine, and I found her a breath of fresh air. She is resourceful, older, and has suffered greatly. She makes mistakes and suffers for them, nothing is easy. Her supporting characters are fully developed, and have pasts that could become novels of their own (I am thinking of Graeme Rowan...or even the boy Paulo.. ...more
I'll keep reading the series as I find them, but more because I don't like to quit in the middle than because I am overwhelmed with the first book. Seri (& D'Natheil, really) take turns being phenomenally stupid. I don't mind characters without an unrealistic sense of overarching knowledge, but honestly - if you are being hunted, wouldn't you think of SOMETHING better than hanging out in the market completely undisguised? I think you can have a sense of self-preservation even if you don't kn ...more
I needed a break from my usual PNR/ urban fantasy selections and Son of Avonar didn't disappoint. Something that eternally annoys me about UF is that the heroines are always special in someway. They can't just be normal people. Seri is a normalish person that happens upon extraordinary people. I enjoyed the characters and their flaws along with Berg's hopping between past and present writing style. At the time I was annoyed by it because I wanted to find out was was happening between Seri and Ae ...more
This is one of my all time favorite fantasy novels...seriously.
Berg has a way with creating settings--a time and a place--that is completely believable and unique. The whole series, captured my attention from start to finish. I thought that this was the slowest of the four novels, and yet the pace was still dynamic. I read this text in two days I think...I wish I'd stretched it out a little bit more!

There is little in her texts that I find wanting, however, I will say that she does rely a bit he
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Carol Berg is the author of the epic fantasy
The Books of the Rai-kirah, The Bridge of D'Arnath Quartet, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award winning Lighthouse Duet - Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone - the standalone novel Song of the Beast , and the three novels of the Collegia Magica.

Berg holds a degree in mathematics from Rice University, and a degree in computer science from the University of Co
More about Carol Berg...

Other Books in the Series

The Bridge of D'Arnath (4 books)
  • Guardians of the Keep (The Bridge of D'Arnath, #2)
  • The Soul Weaver (The Bridge of D'arnath, #3)
  • Daughter of Ancients (The Bridge of D'Arnath, #4)
Transformation (Rai-Kirah, #1) Restoration (Rai-Kirah, #3) Revelation (Rai-Kirah, #2) Flesh and Spirit (Lighthouse, #1) Breath and Bone (Lighthouse, #2)

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