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Carol Berg

Who would ever imagine that someone who majored in math so she wouldn’t have to write papers would produce fifteen epic fantasy novels? Carol Berg tells people that writing is “the hobby that ate my life.” She grew up in Texas in a family of teachers, musicians, and railroad men, taught math for a while, but worked as a software engineer for much longer. She has degrees in mathematics from Rice University and computer science from the University of Colorado. She lives, camps, hikes, and bikes with her husband in the Colorado Rockies. Her books have won the Prism Award, the Geffen Award, and multiple Colorado Book Awards. Her duology, Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone, was awarded the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature. Visit Carol Berg at


THE BRIDGE OF D’ARNATH: Carol Berg is a favorite


Carol Berg has been one of my favorite authors for years now, ever since I picked up Son of Avonar, having been intrigued by both the title and the cover. She’s an author who can handle first person point of view with skill (no, it’s not easier, trust me), weaves some truly fascinating plots with excellent twists, and creates interesting worlds peopled by races that feel unique in a genre full of elves, dwarves, and the like. Though she has her occasional disappointments, the quality of her writing is still above and beyond a lot of what can be found on the shelves next to her.

Son of Avonar is the first book in The Bridge of D'Arnath quartet. It introduces Seriana, and her twin journeys: Through the world she inhabits, yes, but also through memories of her past. Acc... Read More

Flesh and Spirit: Elegant, beautifully crafted

Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg

With the second book of The Lighthouse Duet, Breath and Bone, now out, I decided to refresh my memory, as it's been a full year since I last read this one. I can remember being distinctly disappointed with it. Yet after some of what I've read this year (some of it being absolutely awful) I'd have to say my mind has changed somewhat.

This year my poor eyes have suffered so much awkward prose and poorly placed punctuation that Carol Berg's elegant, beautifully crafted work was a real breath of fresh air. Poetic without being overwrought, her prose is just amazing. Even when her characters sound archaic it fits together seamlessly, without being tiresome or trite, because Berg's world and words are built so consistently. She never just sticks in Ye Olde English to show off her mad literary skillz ... Read More

Breath and Bone: Carol Berg has left me a spoiled fantasy reader

Breath and Bone by Carol Berg

Anyone who's read my review of Flesh and Spirit knows that I was a little bit disappointed in some aspects of the book (I maintain that this is due to the fact that Carol Berg has left me a spoiled, fussy fantasy reader). So how did Ms. Berg do this time around?

Okay, fair enough, Breath and Bone starts a little slow. This isn't a huge surprise, since the story is more like one book broken into two, than two separate books. Yet despite being a bit slow, it's not as though you're learning nothing. In fact you learn a great deal. Some of these things came as no surprise to me (likely because I had only just finished reading the first one) whereas others made my jaw hit the floor. And I simply love what Berg has done with Navronne. Things and people are just not what they first seem. It's difficult to get into without spoiling the plot,... Read More

Dust and Light: You call that an ending?

Dust and Light by Carol Berg

Really, Carol Berg?

I bought Dust and Light, your latest fantasy novel, because you wrote it, and because I loved the COLLEGIA MAGICA series. I had no idea you were going to do this to me.

I knew I was going to love your rich prose. In the first few pages, though, with great economy, you provided us with the big picture; a dead king, princes warring for a nation, a group of pureblood families who wield magic and go to extreme lengths to protect their bloodlines; rumors of an ancient, possibly mythical race called the Danae; and our narrator Lucien, who has failed his family and lost nearly everyone he loves. I liked his rebellious young sister Juli. I liked the way you showed us a character already in jeopardy, and then piled on more jeopardies, hard and fast. Just when I thought things could not get worse for Lucien, they got worse. Read More

Ash and Silver: A lushly written novel of transformation

Ash and Silver by Carol Berg

At the edge of the eastern sea, the Fortress Evenide holds the Order of the Knights of the Ash. Greenshank is a paratus, one level below a knight, and is working day and night to be deemed ready for promotion. Greenshank is completely loyal to the Knights of the Ash, in part because he has to be. He has no memory of any life before two years ago when he was brought to the citadel. Then one day, returning from an assignment, he is accosted by an otherworldly woman, a Danae, and she calls him Lucien de Remeni.

Ash and Silver is the second book in Carol Berg’s SANCTUARY series. I’m not sure what to say about it, except that if you have liked Berg’s other work, you will like this one. Everything she does well is here, against the backdrop, once again, of a plausib... Read More

The Spirit Lens: Berg gives us a hero who is a true courtier

The Spirit Lens by Carol Berg

Courtiers are figures of contempt and fun in most fiction. They are craven lickspittles and influence peddlers, usually without honor. In The Spirit Lens, Carol Berg gives us a hero who is a true courtier. He is diplomatic, disciplined, strategic and loyal to his king at all costs — and the costs are great.

The Spirit Lens is the first book in the Collegia Magica series. Portier de Savin-Duplais is the librarian at the Camarilla Magica. He is a failure. Despite his bloodline and all his studies, Portier cannot do magic. While this personal failure is deeply galling, it may not matter so much in the grand scheme of things, because Sabria, the kingdom that is Portier’s world, is changing, and magic is on the decline.

Portier is summoned by Philippe, the... Read More

The Soul Mirror: Challenges preconceptions

The Soul Mirror by Carol Berg

Carol Berg continues her Collegia Magica series with The Soul Mirror. The secret magical war being fought in the country of Sabria has left behind many victims: some dead, some maimed, some spiritually and psychologically damaged, and some intact in body and spirit but with reputation and honor destroyed. Anne de Vernase is one of these, the daughter of a traitor who not only betrayed country and king, but by betraying that king turned against his dearest and closest friend. Anne’s brother is held hostage by the king in an infamous prison known as the Spindle, and her strong, vibrant mother has catapulted into madness. Although Anne still lives on the estate she’s grown up on, it no longer belongs to the family, and a cordon of the king’s guards surrounds it at all times. Now Anne is informed that her younger sister Lian... Read More

The Daemon Prism: Berg competently wraps up the quest

The Daemon Prism by Carol Berg

The Daemon Prism
brings to a close the first three books in Carol Berg’s COLLEGIA MAGICA series. I say “the first three” because there are enough dangling threads — a new form of magic, a royal baby about to be born — to support more stories in this world if Berg wants to write them. The primary quest, however, is resolved.

Berg’s world is similar to medieval Europe. The first book, The Spirit Lens, my favorite, followed a royal investigator, Portier, as he explored charges of witchcraft leveled against the queen. Portier’s investigation required him to work closely with the brilliant, rebellious and arrogant sorcerer Dante. What I liked about The Spirit Lens was the concept of a world in transition, where magic is being viewed with a more academic and scientific eye in the wake of a catastrophic magic war called The Blood War. I also loved ... Read More

More fantasy novels by Carol Berg

The Books of the Rai-kirah — (2000-2002) Publisher: Seyonne is a man waiting to die. He has been a slave for sixteen years, almost half his life, and has lost everything of meaning to him: his dignity, the people and homeland he loves, and the Warden’s power he used to defend an unsuspecting world from the ravages of demons. Seyonne has made peace with his fate. With strict self-discipline he forces himself to exist only in the present moment and to avoid the pain of hope or caring about anyone. But from the moment he is sold to the arrogant, careless Prince Aleksander, the heir to the Derzhi Empire, Seyonne’s uneasy peace begins to crumble. And when he discovers a demon lurking in the Derzhi court, he must find hope and strength in a most unlikely place…

Transformation, Revelation, Restoration, Rai-KirahTransformation, Revelation, Restoration, Rai-KirahTransformation, Revelation, Restoration, Rai-Kirahfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Carol Berg Song of the BeastThe Song of the Beast — (2003) Publisher: Brutal imprisonment has broken Aidan McAllister. His voice is silent, his hands ruined, his music that once offered beauty and hope to war-torn Elyria destroyed. The god who nurtured his talent since boyhood has abandoned him. But no one ever told him his crime. To discover the truth, he must risk his hard-bought freedom to unlock the mind of his god and the heart of his enemy.