Flesh and Spirit (Lighthouse, #1)
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Flesh and Spirit (Lighthouse #1)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,724 ratings  ·  154 reviews
The rebellious son of a long line of pureblood cartographers and diviners, Valen has spent most of his life trying to escape what society -- and his family -- have ordained for him. His own mother has predicted that he will meet his doom in water, blood, and ice. Her divination seems fulfilled when a comrade abandons Valen in a rainy wilderness half-dead, addicted to an en...more
Paperback, 408 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Roc Trade (first published January 2nd 2007)
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This book is sort of a 3.5 I think. The author keeps making up weird words every few pages, but once you get into it Valen's story is interesting, and I feel a lot of sympathy over his desire for freedom and the ability to control his own fate.
Valen starts out as a magical drug addict and a bit of an opportunist hedonist, but when you realize what he's been through, you can't blame him. I wanted to take him out of the book and bake him some cookies, I felt so bad for him.

Oh, good. I added anot...more
Valen is a renegade socerer who's spent his whole life ignoring his past and heritage. He was born into a pureblood family of mapmakers, and his relationships with the members of his family have been bitter and violent. Pureblood families have magical talents; there are pureblood "bents" (abilities) for just about every skill imaginable, healing, music, divination...Valen's family are not only skilled mapmakers, but are able to track anyone or anything, and can detect routes and trails that no o...more
Feb 14, 2011 Sandra rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sandra by: Janny
Shelves: fantasy, ebook, favorites
This is the first Carol Berg book I've read and I am now a fan. The book was a little hard for me to get into, but it may have been a personal thing as I had just finished reading a terrible book that was poorly written and I was hesitant to plunge in again and be disappointed. The other part of my hesitation had to do with the strange terminology used, and the unfamiliar world I found myself in. Berg, however, weaves her world building into the story in such a subtle way that before long you fi...more
Dec 09, 2010 Ron rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy
You know, I hate books which do this: just stop in the middle of the story. No conclusion, no climax, certainly no resolution.

Carol Berg gets better and better. This is a really well-written book, perhaps her best yet.

The main character is both compelling and flawed. Valen is almost human. You are dropped crashing into his world as disoriented as Valen and you thrash around trying to make sense of what's happening, stumbling from one crisis to another. Who do you trust? Who do you follow? Who i...more
One of the hardest books to get through. At least the first half. It was incredibly slow, plodding... It's a narrative from a racondeur, a person who flees their pureblood lifestyle, which is a double crime to the King and God. So the reader's plonked down in this world where there is some magic, lots of political intrigue and a really complicated world to get used to.

It's kind of sad only halfway through the book the action picks up and there is more characters added instead of lots of descrip...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Valen is a recondeur, a spell-casting Pureblood with the bent for maps, paths, trails and directions who escaped his family and the Registry to live a free life. For twelve years he has done as he pleased, living precariously and not always honestly, a slave to the nivat seeds that ease the sickness in him. Now twenty-seven, Valen - a thief, drug addict, liar, womaniser, and untrustworthy coward even - literally can't read, and is unschooled in his magic because of his rebellious childhood. The...more
This was a difficult book to make it through for me. I kept looking around the corner expecting to find something that just was never there. That being said, I never did stop and I was glad that I saw it through. I found it tough to bond or identify with the protagonist Valen as he is such a broken fictional character. I found the prose to be beautiful, Melanie Rawn comes to my mind as I read through this first novel, only here the politics are that of the monks and pure bloods, not that of King...more
I'm very disappointed with this book; the first time ever I've been disappointed with a Carol Berg book. Flesh and Spirit is filled with sexist references to women, and very, very few female characters. The female characters involved are either 2-dimensional recepticles for male lust, or petty and vindictive. It's extremely hard to truly empathize with a male character who expresses himself in words such as "faster than a whore can raise her dress." I found myself feeling not just insulted on a...more
Jo Anne B
I really enjoyed this adventurous tale. It had an awesome main character, Valen, plenty of action, mystery, wars, royalty, fantasy, and magic. Valen was the rebellious bad guy who was really a good guy. He tried to flee his family’s hold (the Pureblood Registry) and exert free will but he eventually has to come to terms with who he is and his destiny. He was endearing, humorous, and a hero that we can relate to because he is not a saint and he does have flaws. He does undergo a change in this bo...more
I hate stories where the author plops you right into the middle of a world with made up words, made up religion, made up city/region/states?? and made up political issues that you have NO CLUE about whatsoever and just expects you to read along merrily without any idea about any of it.

Seriously, how about a map? Or a glossary if you insist on making up words. Or hell, how about a little backstory and explain things a tiny smidge. I'm like 100 pages in and I only have the vaguest concept about th...more
4.5 really - I’m waiting to finish my review until I read the second book since they are a duology. I want to be able to consider the work as a whole. However, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Well-written with great characters – I really connected with her characters on many levels. Also, Berg does not hold back in plot / character twists. It was enjoyable and painful at the same time. I don’t want to give anything away but I was pretty shocked at the end of this first book. Look...more
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
I got about a third of the way through this book. It is dark and dreary to me. It is defintely written for an audience. There is innuendo on adult situations without actually describing them. ( At least in the first third part.)

I do not know if I will pick this one up again.

I gave it two rather than one because the author writes well. I just don't think it is the book for me.
Nov 07, 2009 Andreea rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
Shelves: 11th-grade, reviewed
One of my favorite Barnes and Noble rituals is walking up and down random aisles and picking up any book that sounds interesting. I often sit down with five books at once to skim. Usually, once I get through a chapter or two (or the first few lines even) I have put it back. But once in a blue moon, I pick up a book so amazing and powerful I wonder how I made it through my life so far without raeding it. Cal Leandros was one of these books. This book and its sequal are two others.

I picked up the...more
Barbara Galler-Smith
This book is loaded with exceptionally well-drawn characters. Valen is a mage who has never fit into his pureblood magical family. He's rough and rowdy, loves the ladies, and has a very bad secret of which he is ashamed. When circumstances force him to take refuge in a monastery where everyone eschews all the things Valen likes best, he discovers a new world which is both heartening and frightening.

This is the first of two books. The second, "Breath and Bone" completes Valen's story.

This duolog...more
If I had any doubts that Carol Berg can write superb characters (see Rai-Kirah series), Flesh and Spirit completely erased those. In Flesh and Spirit, the main character Valen seems to be made of actual flesh and spirit (and breath and bone, following the name of book 2), and has become one of my favourite characters.

He is a pureblood, which would mean privilege and magic, but a recoudeur, which is the worse offence possible for a pureblood. A recoudeur is pureblood who does not answer to family...more
Love this book. There's a lot of depth here, as well as some unforgettable characters and a unique story. I can hardly wait to start the next, and concluding, volume of The Lighthouse series, Breath and Bone. This is my first Carol Berg book and I'm pleased she has a large list to choose from, as I will undoubtedly continue reading her well written work.
Joy H.
Jul 10, 2012 Joy H. marked it as keep-in-mind
Added 7/10/12.
There were some good elements to this story, but other things let it down.

The main protagonist is essentially on the run having escaped a life of magical enslavement. He's a drug addict hiding in a monastery to avoid detection, where he becomes embroiled in events much larger than his own problems.

The author has created an interesting world of religion and magic, with alternate realities and ominous foes. However, the pace of this first book is quite slow and any momentum lost in a lot travelli

Fran Jacobs
Valen is on the run. He has been for 12 years, avoiding his cruel and oppresive family and the life they, and the pure blood registry to whom he basically belongs because he happens to have been born pure blood, haved dictated for him. At the start of the book he is wounded, taken in by a monastry that happens to be nearby and then everything snowballs. He finds himself caught between the dead king's three sons, his family, the men of the monastry and their mysterious lighthouse, the harrowers w...more
Quick Word:I adored Carol Berg’s previous novels and I have devoured every one. Yet, I spent a month attempting to read this one. The characterization and world building was decent, even solid. Yet my pleasure in a good novel must come from either brilliant plotting or enjoyable characterization. Valen was miserable to read about; he was a survivor (I’ll give him that) but he was also a compulsive liar, a drug addict, and lacking morals. There was a certain sense of… hopelessness… in his situati...more
S.A. Bolich
I discovered Carol Berg's books last year, and have been pleasantly impressed. I confess that this one started a bit slow for me, after the killer first chapter, and it hung around on the back of my couch until I was sufficiently in the mood to stick with it. Oh, how glad I am. Valen is the most interesting character I think I have ever read, in many ways. Berg took such a huge chance on this rogue, who is unrepentantly selfish yet good-hearted, obsessed with his own survival and yet unable to w...more
The story of Magnus Valentia Cartamandua-Celestine begins so horrifically slow I almost threw it away. Then he begins recalling events between his dry, lengthy observations of the abbey in which he has taken refuge, and I stayed my hand, for which I am grateful. Sometime around page 150 or so, everything begins to fall into place and the story begins.

The bland, slow beginning is not the only fault in this book. The Narrator, Valen, seems to have Attention Deficit Disorder, for, even at the heigh...more
Sep 12, 2011 Kay rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Traditional fantasy readers
Shelves: fantasy
I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time deciding if I was going to rate it 4 or 5 stars. I would probably give it 4.5 stars if that was an option. I loved the main character of Valen. He was easy to like and relate to and I immediately wanted to learn more about his story and background. Pieces of his background were revealed slowly as I continued reading and this felt very natural and just made me want to read more. I also liked the supporting characters and found them interesting and so...more
This is the first Carol Berg book I've read, and I'm heavily disappointed. The first two-thirds of the book is about as interesting as a brick wall: an unmoving setting that reminds me of movies like Phone Booth and Panic Room. Once the action starts, lots of potentially interesting details are glossed over and tons of action is crammed into the space of just a page or two. It seems Berg is far more interested in spending her time and ours on the mundane and stagnating instead of action, plot, a...more
The Lighthouse Duet (Flesh and Spirit & Breath and Bone) by Carol Berg is on my shelf of favorites. I find myself immersed and completely invested in Berg's characters and world - not to mention the writing itself - with her luscious usage of words and refreshingly original characters and plot.
Flesh and Spirit feels more like the set up for the second part, its companion book Breath and Bone however that does not mean that the book does not have themes that give the book its own credit as i...more
Harper Kingsley
I devoured this book and its sequel the day I got them. I've always had a fondness for Carol Berg's writings, though there have been several of her books that I simply could not add to my favorites shelves.

This is not one of them.

It takes a little while to get into the story and there are a few points that I was left confused on, but for the most part this was an excellent read. A strict world where people with magic are kept firmly under wraps. (view spoiler)...more
This is a very interesting fantasy world and Valen is a protagonist I connected with. I was a little bored with the plot line until about half-way through where there's a big reveal, but for the most part the story carries along at a steady pace. I didn't at first think I'd want to finish the series, but after we meet Valen's sister I decided I definitely am going to read the second, and last, book in this duet!

Now for the problems: It's a book about a man who can sense places and has a magic bo...more
Cherry Mischievous
I picked up this book because I've read this author's work before and she has one of the most compelling, colorful and wonderful "voice" I've ever encountered. She has a way of stringing words together which paints a vivid world in my head and seemingly makes the world of Valen come to life in technicolor for me. Character development is so good that I feel for Valen. Such that I got depressed during that really low moment in Valen's lowly existence about two thirds into the book. However this b...more
Mar 10, 2013 Jaya rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: yes
Recommended to Jaya by: had previously read this author
Shelves: good, series, slashreaders
I slowly read this book over the past month and a bit. I would've read it much faster but real life happened. Carol Berg, is one of those authors that I have a hard time getting into but once I'm there... I can't put down and I've never quite figured out why.

I didn't have some of the same complaints with this book as I had with the last Berg series that I read. This one kept up its fast pace and didn't dilly dally around as much. At least not for me I think there is opportunity for some to argue...more
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Book recommendations? 9 38 May 29, 2012 04:57PM  
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  • Corambis (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #4)
  • Traitor's Moon (Nightrunner, #3)
  • The First Betrayal (The Chronicles of Josan, #1)
  • Wheel of the Infinite
  • Lord of Snow and Shadows (Tears of Artamon, #1)
  • The Fire's Stone
  • Night's Master (Flat Earth, #1)
  • Lifelode
  • The Gaslight Dogs (Middle Light, #1)
  • Feast of Souls (The Magister Trilogy, #1)
  • Cards Of Grief
  • Shadows Past (Borderlands, #3)
  • Fortress in the Eye of Time (Fortress, #1)
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 Col...more
More about Carol Berg...
Transformation (Rai-Kirah, #1) Restoration (Rai-Kirah, #3) Revelation (Rai-Kirah, #2) Son of Avonar (The Bridge of D'Arnath, #1) Breath and Bone (Lighthouse, #2)

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“On my seventh birthday, my father swore, for the first of many times, that I would die facedown in a cesspool. On that same occasion, my mother, with all the accompanying mystery and elevated language appropriate for a prominent diviner, turned her cards, screamed delicately, and proclaimed that my doom was written in water and blood and ice. As for me, from about that time and for twenty years since, I had spat on my middle finger and slapped the rump of every aingerou I noticed, murmuring the sincerest, devoutest prayer that I might prove my parents' predictions wrong. Not so much that I feared the doom itself - doom is just the hind end of living, after all - but to see the two who birthed me confounded.” 6 likes
“Loyalty never put blood back in a man's veins.” 2 likes
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