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The Soul Mirror: A Novel of the Collegia Magica
     

The Soul Mirror: A Novel of the Collegia Magica

4.6 21
by Carol Berg
 

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With no magic talent of her own, Anne de Vernase must take on her sister's magical legacy to unravel the secrets behind the dark sorcery besieging the royal city of Merona-and to uncover the truth behind her sister's death.

Overview

With no magic talent of her own, Anne de Vernase must take on her sister's magical legacy to unravel the secrets behind the dark sorcery besieging the royal city of Merona-and to uncover the truth behind her sister's death.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This lavish quasi-Renaissance fantasy, a worthy sequel to 2010's The Spirit Lens, traces "plain, plodding, rational" Anne de Vernase's multipronged quest to discover her sister's killer, clear her beloved father's name, rescue her brother from unspeakable torment, and heal her mother's madness. Caught up in the swirling Machiavellian plots of Sabria's glittering court, in a land barely recovered from the fearful Blood Wars, Anne gradually learns whom to trust, only to discover her own latent magical talents and a strange, powerful romance. Berg's characters return to vivid life, especially Zorro-like Lord Ilario, a court fool turned dashing masked swordsman, and former librarian Portier, kin to Sabria's king and possible human sacrifice. Berg refreshes and reinvigorates the familiar trappings of epic fantasy, shaping a novel that rings true both linguistically and imaginatively. This is one to savor. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Magically untalented and happy for it, Anne de Venase finds herself in a royal dilemma when she discovers the king has slated her for a political marriage. The sudden death of her sister, a student of magic, plunges Anne into a maelstrom of intrigue and deadly sorcery as she must accept her sister's magical legacy to prevent a disaster of worldwide proportions. Berg's second series installment (after The Spirit Lens) tells a complex story of science versus magic and of one woman's determination to maintain her integrity while embracing an alien knowledge. VERDICT Berg brings life and grace to a story of magic and politics that should appeal to the author's fans as well as lovers of Renaissance-style fantasy.
Kirkus Reviews

The second installment in Berg's quasi-Renaissance fantasy trilogy, following the well-received The Spirit Lens (2010), with many of the characters carrying over from the previous volume.

In Berg's world, four years have passed. Practical, well-educated narrator Anne de Vernase, devastated to learn that her beloved sister Lianelle died in a magical accident, receives an unexpected summons to the court of Philippe, King of Sabria—unexpected since her vanished father purportedly masterminded a ghastly plot to assassinate the king in the prior adventure. Anne, skeptical that magic even exists, refuses to believe that her sister died accidentally. Her escort to the palace is the curiously solicitous royal librarian Portier de Savin-Duplais, her father's chief accuser, and she realizes that she cannot afford to trust anyone. Soon it becomes clear that the former regent, the viperous Lady Antonia, intends to marry her off. Queen Eugenie lies ill, enchanted or poisoned by Antonia, her only protectors seeming to be her brother, the clownish chevalier Ilario, dangerously volatile sorcerer Dante and stammering physician Roussel. Among the oddments left her by Lianelle, Anne finds a powder that turns her invisible and also casts her mind into the ether, full of raging souls—and one single, truthful voice who's astonished to learn that he's not the only one that can communicate thus. Methodically, Anne uncovers plots that go far beyond Antonia's murderous schemes, threatening not only the kingdom but reality itself. The fully realized characters and strongly visual, tactile prose help to offset the sheer length, weight and intensity of the narrative.

A compelling and altogether admirable work.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451463746
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/04/2011
Series:
Collegia Magica Series , #2
Pages:
528
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 8.82(h) x 1.16(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Carol Berg is an award-winning author and former software engineer.

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The Soul Mirror: A Novel of the Collegia Magica 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anzabel More than 1 year ago
There are really no words to describe The Soul Mirror. In reality, all of Carol Berg's novels leave me breathless and wanting more at the closing page, so I'm a little biased. But since this is the latest book I've read and I'm still floundering in the shock that comes with realizing it's over, I'm inclined to say it's the absolutely best she's ever written (mind you, I said that about pretty much every single book of hers). I was unsure about a new protagonist in the beginning. I was so attached to Portier (as well as Dante and that peacock Ilario!) that I didn't want to read about Anne de Vernase (daughter of Michel de Vernase), especially when she would display any anger or distrust toward Portier. She won me over, however. Her story is interesting and sad, and she does what she can to keep going. As always, there are twists and turns every which way; some you will see coming, others you won't. But it's hard to find anything disappointing about this book. Berg writes well and flawlessly (though there are quite a few ?????s instead of 's in the NOOKbook version), with perfectly chiseled characters and motives, and she wraps up the millions of questions you will be asking thoroughly (even if you have to wait until the very last page). Very satisfying and hihgly recommended
harstan More than 1 year ago
Anne de Vernase is traumatized with what has happened to her family. Her father committed treason using illegal sorcery when the natural sciences currently prevail at court; her mother unable to cope went insane; her brother lingers in prison; and her magical using sister was murdered. Although a believer in the natural sciences, she is unsure how she will survive the debacle but feels good about one thing that she lacks the magical ability that led to the destruction of her family. However, in the royal city of Merona, Anne is stunned when the Sabria King Philippe's secretary Duplais informs her that she will serve as a handmaid to the queen as she assumed the de Vernase name meant poison. She also concludes she must save her family, but not sure how. She hears her father whisper to her for help but she has never been trained in the use of sorcery. Still Anne knows she must start with her sister's homicide though the inquiry will take her to realms she preferred remained in her nightmares, but she cannot avoid it even though her world is collapsing into sink holes of sorcery. The sequel to The Spirit Lens is an enjoyable otherworld fantasy that has an Age of Reason historical feel to the story line. Anne is a super lead protagonist while Dante the queen's sorcerer is a grumbling cantankerous counterpart to the optimistic naturalist. Although the story line starts slow and remains as such for a third of the novel as Merona's war between science and magic is shaped for the reader, fans will want to accompany the reluctant heroine as she learns there is much more than science in the wonderful world of Carol Berg. Harriet Klausner
kproft More than 1 year ago
I would rate this highly, but having said that, I don't have a lot to compare it to. But it was good enough to hook me on the genre (it's not sic-fi, but strictly fantasy which is my preference)
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Carol Berg is an imaginative fantasy writer. Her concepts hold together well. Her characters are wonderful. Her books surprise and delight. Can't wait for another one.