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The Spirit Lens

por Carol Berg

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Collegia Magica (1)

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4651452,454 (3.75)43
Fantasy. Fiction. Thriller. Historical Fiction. HTML:

Reduced to tending the library at Sabria's last collegia magica, Portier de Savin-Duplais, failed student of magic, fights off despair with scholarship. But when the King of Sabria charges him to investigate an attempted murder that has disturbing magical resonances, Portier believes his dreams of a greater destiny might at last be fulfilled.

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Mostrando 1-5 de 14 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
I am pleased to report that I managed to finish this book, where many others quit (for good reasons.) Carol Berg took a decent them of science versus magic, but did not write a good story. A middling librarian at Collegia Magica is recruited his distant relative (the King) to see who is trying to kill him; everyone suspects the Queen so some political intrigue. Sadly, the characters are all very dull and the story development is ungodly slow. And the piece de resistance is no decent magic. Skip this one. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
My first impression of this book was that it would be a simple Fantasy adventure romp, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a murder mystery with suspenseful elements all around the edges. Throughout both the action and the more contemplative aspects of the investigation the motives, actions, and character of all the principle players (even the protagonist) are brought into question and their moral shades of gray are closely examined.
( )
  wishanem | May 27, 2021 |
Portier de Savin-Duplais used to dream of being a great sorcerer, but reality has an unfortunate habit of failing to meet expectation. Instead, he has become the librarian of the great magical college that teaches other, more successful mages: a sober, scholarly, slightly unfulfilled man past thirty and wondering what more life has to offer. And then, one day, he receives a message from his distant cousin, the King of Sabria, asking for help. Someone has attempted to assassinate the king, leaving behind terrifying proof of a power that breaches the bounds of magical heresy. The King fears a second attempt and needs an agent: someone who understands magic; and someone he can trust. So, Portier finds himself thrust into a web of intrigue, danger and sorcery of the darkest kind...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2017/11/26/the-spirit-lens-carol-berg/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Nov 26, 2017 |
In this fantasy Renaissance kingdom, magic falters as scientific discoveries begin to be made. Portier's only dream was to be a sorcerer, but although he can sense magic he cannot perform it himself. Instead, he becomes the magical college's librarian. After long years spent among dusty books, he is summoned to the king's side to investigate repeated attempts on the king's life. Every piece of evidence points at the queen, but the king refuses to believe the worst of her without definitive proof. Portier enlists the help of the queen's foppish brother Ilario and a hedge-mage, Dante, in his quest for answers.

This is basically the most boring, anti-climictic, unengaging book I have read in a long time. The world building is pretty good (Blood Wars! exposing the blood line sigil on your hand at every meeting! secret heirs!) but the plot is sooooooooooooo slow, and the characters haphazard. Even worse, the few bits of plot Berg does grant the reader are either buried and given no emphasis, or are so obvious that every reader knew it from page 1. It takes nearly 300 pages to discover that Ilario, who twitters comically about his hats, is secretly a dashing and courageous blade? FUCKING DUH. Or that Michel and mage Orviene are evil? ALSO duh. It's hard to buy that Portier is an intelligent man--or even conscious--when he misses such incredibly obvious clues. And to add insult to injury, after slogging through ~500 pages of Portier stumbling upon clues and witnesses randomly blurting out the truth, there is no ending to the plot! Berg abruptly seems to have realized that her book is about to end, has an OFF SCREEN climactic trial, then drops a half dozen hamfisted clues and foreshadowing about Portier getting magic, Michel being just one cog in a larger conspiracy, and Dante supposedly going mad with a quest for power.

Reading this book was an exercise in frustration. I do not recommend it, and I do not intend to read anything else by this author. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
I feel a little weird about giving this book (and its sequel) 5 stars, because they are not, and do not aim to be, Great Literature. This book certainly does not have the depth and layers of Eco's 'The Name of the Rose,' although it shares a similar atmosphere. However, for sheer entertainment value - I just love Berg's writing, and this is definitely one of her best.
It's a well-crafted genre mystery, with wizards.
Intrigue and plot twists abound, and there a lots of clues to put together and figure out.
The atmosphere is an enjoyable pseudo-Renaissance fantasy world, and the protagonist is a librarian (yay librarian heroes, even if my one quibble is that there could have been a bit more actual librarianship in the book!)
The librarian in question is a distant cousin of the king, and is summoned to court to secretly investigate a failed attempt on the king's life. The queen is suspected; the king believes her innocent... but will the investigation clear her name, or uncover layers of conspiracy and shady dealings?
( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 14 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Carol Bergautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Crabb, GordonArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Legato, GingerDesignerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lundgren, RayDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Philosophers claimed the Blood Wars had irredeemably corrupted magic.
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Fantasy. Fiction. Thriller. Historical Fiction. HTML:

Reduced to tending the library at Sabria's last collegia magica, Portier de Savin-Duplais, failed student of magic, fights off despair with scholarship. But when the King of Sabria charges him to investigate an attempted murder that has disturbing magical resonances, Portier believes his dreams of a greater destiny might at last be fulfilled.

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