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Flesh and Spirit (Lighthouse #1)

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3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,432 Ratings  ·  195 Reviews
The rebellious son of a long line of pureblood cartographers and diviners, Valen has spent years trying to escape the life ordained for him. His own mother predicted how he would meet his doom-and her divination is nearly fulfilled when he winds up half-dead, addicted to an enchantment that converts pain to pleasure and possessing only a stolen book of maps. Offered sanctu ...more
Paperback, 408 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Roc Trade (first published January 2nd 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Spider the Doof Warrior
Dec 18, 2012 Spider the Doof Warrior rated it really liked it
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
YouKneeK
Jun 05, 2016 YouKneeK rated it it was amazing
I thought the first half of this book was four-star material. I was interested in it, I liked the characters, and I found myself thinking about the story when I wasn’t reading it and speculating what might happen next. Somewhere around the halfway point, fortunately during the weekend, this turned into a five-star book and I couldn’t put it down.

This fantasy story is told completely from the first-person perspective of Valen, a twenty-seven year old man who’s on the run for a variety of reasons
...more
Kathryn
Mar 30, 2008 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Sandra
Feb 14, 2011 Sandra rated it it was amazing
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
Ron
Dec 09, 2010 Ron rated it really liked it
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
Alissa
Nov 03, 2015 Alissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
“The delight of power is not commanding an army of sycophants, but rather bending one resilient mind beyond its comfortable boundaries.”
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Apr 09, 2008 Shannon (Giraffe Days) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2008
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
Izlinda
Jun 24, 2008 Izlinda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jason
Aug 19, 2010 Jason rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, read-2010
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
Danielle
May 25, 2007 Danielle rated it it was ok
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
Jane
Jun 03, 2015 Jane rated it did not like it
This is one novel where I was seduced and fooled by the blurb. I got about 1/3 through then bailed. The premise was good, but I never liked Valen. His dependence on the nivat seeds and his addiction to the doulon finally put me off. The author tried very hard to make us see this was a fantasy by her overuse of made-up words; I just used two in the previous sentence. There was no map of the imaginary countries and their relationship to each other and no glossary of her coinages. Quellae I did fig ...more
Jo Anne B
Apr 10, 2012 Jo Anne B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
MissM
Sep 09, 2010 MissM rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2010
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
Libby
Apr 20, 2010 Libby rated it really liked it
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.
Andreea
Nov 07, 2009 Andreea rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
Shelves: reviewed, 11th-grade
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
May 19, 2013 Barbara Galler-Smith rated it it was amazing
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
Quigui
May 05, 2012 Quigui rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jinjre
May 18, 2016 Jinjre rated it really liked it
This duet takes place shortly after the Dust & Light/Ash & silver duet. It does not have the same characters, with the exception of King Eodward's children.

Fabulously written, tight story, and fast paced. Pure fantasy for those who like such things.

Read these books!
Lorena
Aug 28, 2012 Lorena rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fairies
Really wonderful. I thought that this book got off to a slow start, at first...the main character mostly seemed arrogant and unlikeable, and the setting (while beautifully described) didn't seem all that new or interesting to me. However, as the book went on, it became obvious that this was intentional, and the gradual revelations about the characters, their world, and the mystery at the heart of it were masterfully done. The end result is something very special. Highly recommended for all fanta ...more
Lynne Cantwell
Aug 16, 2015 Lynne Cantwell rated it really liked it
Flesh and Spirit (Lighthouse 1) - Carol Berg Flesh and Spiritis the first book of a duology that concludes with Breath and Bone.The main character is Valen, a man running from his destiny. He is a pureblood, which means he has magical ability, and he is also the youngest son of a family of famous mapmakers. But he was unable to learn to read, and rebelled against the family business, finally fleeing to join the military. Dreadfully wounded in battle, he and a buddy named Boreas desert and turn t ...more
Jeffrey Grant
Jan 06, 2015 Jeffrey Grant rated it liked it
Getting through a character-focused novel is hard when you’re not keen on the main character.

Flesh and Spirit’s main character is Valen, a rogue in all senses; his noble family despises him, he has joined and left a number of armies, and makes his living off of cons and theft. He also has a magical heritage, something tightly regulated and controlled in his world, but has renounced it and all of its requirements, using his minor talent to mostly feed an addiction to an illicit and dangerous subs
...more
Beth
Dec 14, 2015 Beth rated it really liked it
I have found a new favorite fantasy author.
Jackie
Jun 30, 2012 Jackie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, epic
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.
Tristenkozinski
Jul 28, 2015 Tristenkozinski rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed reading Flesh and Spirit, it combines interesting, and varied characters, a well constructed world that is fully in balance with itself, strong prose, and a plot that is deep enough for you immerse yourself in. The pacing is admittedly slower than more fare nowadays, but that is something I personally like; its gives you the chance to learn about the characters on your own, to actually begin to know them beyond what the Author has told you. Its a rare thing to be able to just ...more
Karinloos
Apr 25, 2016 Karinloos rated it really liked it
This book is difficult to review.

I found the first half of the book extremely boring, I even got to the DNF stage, but decided to stick with it because hell not all the reviewers who loved it could be wrong. I cant say that the 2nd half was a huge hit either, BUT the book did pick up enough for me to keep reading, so much so that once I got to the end of the book I just had to know what the hell happens to Valen and the crowd.

Being almost finished with the 2nd book (which by the way is way more
...more
Brian Bergstrom
Aug 23, 2014 Brian Bergstrom rated it liked it
I was very disappointed with this book. It has my favorite fantasy artist, so I figured the quality would match. I first was introduced to Navronne in Carol Berg's newest book Dust and Light which I thought was much better, and more developed. Both stories seem to involve King Eodwood's rightful heir, and I liked the way Dust and Light focused on other things, and seemed to stress the societal norms. While reading Flesh and Spirit, I felt very lost as to why certain things were happening. I knew ...more
Tracie Murphy
Oct 25, 2014 Tracie Murphy rated it it was amazing
I revisited this book in anticipation of the release of Dust and Light, and was amazed once more at the world that Carol Berg has created. Her books have always been filled with wonderfully rich stories, in both character and world building, but this series in particular was my first foray into her books, and will always hold a special place in my heart. I am so glad that she is continuing in this saga, and cannot wait until I finish Breath and Bone again so that I can read Dust and Light. I thi ...more
Kerry Schafer
Oct 13, 2015 Kerry Schafer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
As soon as I read the first page I felt like I was coming home after a long absence. I like a lot of books. But the ones that grab me and pull me into their world, willy nilly, are few and far between. Carol Berg's books do this for me, and Flesh and Spirit did not disappoint. If you love big, fat, fantasy novels with incredible world building, characters you love (and hate) with passion, magic, betrayal, narrow escapes and failed escapes, plot and intrigue, you totally need to read this. Just b ...more
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Book recommendations? 9 43 May 29, 2012 04:57PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: Flesh and Spirit 1 2 Jan 21, 2012 12:17PM  
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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
More about Carol Berg...

Other Books in the Series

Lighthouse (3 books)
  • Breath and Bone (Lighthouse, #2)
  • Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues

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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.” 3 likes
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