Review: Dust and Light by Carol Berg

October 27, 2014 5 stars, Book Review 10 ★★★★★

Review: Dust and Light by Carol BergDust and Light by Carol Berg
Series: The Sanctuary Duet #1
Published by Roc on August 5, 2014
Genres: Adult SFF, Fantasy
Pages: 447
Source: Publisher

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

National bestselling author Carol Berg returns to the world of her award-winning Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone with an all-new tale of magic, mystery, and corruption....

How much must one pay for an hour of youthful folly? The Pureblood Registry accused Lucian de Remeni-Masson of “unseemly involvement with ordinaries,” which meant only that he spoke with a young woman not of his own kind, allowed her to see his face unmasked, worked a bit of magic for her....After that one mistake, Lucian’s grandsire excised half his magic and savage Harrowers massacred his family. Now the Registry has contracted his art to a common coroner. His extraordinary gift for portraiture is restricted to dead ordinaries—beggars or starvelings hauled from the streets.

But sketching the truth of dead men’s souls brings unforeseen consequences. Sensations not his own. Truths he cannot possibly know and dares not believe. The coroner calls him a cheat and says he is trying to weasel out of a humiliating contract. The Registry will call him mad—and mad sorcerers are very dangerous....

Dust and Light was fantastic! I selected this book mostly because I have read Carol Berg and liked some of her other work. When I went on Goodreads to look up the books I had read by her, I realized that I hadn’t actually read any of her other works. WHAT A SHAME! I am looking forward to delving into some of her other series. Particularly the Lighthouse series which is set in the same world as Dust and Light.

In Dust and Light our main character is Lucian de Remeni-Masson, a pureblood sorcerer in a society that separates and elevates that distinguished lineage. Lucian’s magical talent, or bent, is as a portraitist. He can touch somebody and utilizing his skill as an artist create a perfect image of the person on canvas. In a society where pictures of purebloods are required yearly for identification purposes, he should be set for life working for the registry of pure bloods (the Registry).

One day in the middle of his current contract making portraits for the registry, he is unexpectedly called before the curates (head honchos) and informed that his contract has been terminated early and his new contract would commence immediately. This contract, an insult to a pureblood, is with the city’s coroner and has Lucian painting the deceased for identification purposes. Working with Bastien, the coroner and lead murder investigator, they realize that Lucian’s power is more involved than they had originally believed and they open a pandoras box that may change the very fabric of their society.

Carol Berg did an excellent job making all of the characters feel real, and they are an organic balance of virtues and flaws. There are at least 3 storylines I crave to hear more about and the ending… wow. It leaves me panting for the second book. I fully plan on diving into Carol Berg’s other series set in the same world to fuel my need for more!


When not taking care of my two children, husband and mini doxy, rushing here and there on the go, I can always be found reading. Fantasy of course being my favorite genre, but not the only I'll read. Oh yes, and I throw bad books.

Latest posts by Maggie (see all)

10 Responses to “Review: Dust and Light by Carol Berg”

    • Maggie

      I didn’t really feel like the description did it justice at all, I was only vaguely excited to read this one. I thought it would be about an angsty teen who was angry for getting in trouble (for breaking a rule that made sense to me as an adult), but that is really a side note… and turns out to be a key event in his life that he was looking at in the wrong light. Figuring out the mystery of his continued problems with the small indiscretion turned the novel into more of an adult, interesting mystery. It’s good stuff!
      Maggie recently posted…Guest Review: Ghost House by Alexandra AdornettoMy Profile