Title: Breath and Bone
Author: Carol Berg
Series: Lighthouse #2
As the land of Navronne sinks deeper into civil war and perilous winter, everyone wants to get their hands on the rebellious sorcerer Valen -a murderous priestess, a prince who steals dead men’s eyes, and even the Danae guardians, whose magic nurtures the earth and whose attention could prove the most costly of all.
Addicted to an enchantment that turns pain into pleasure -and bound by oaths he refuses to abandon- Valen risks body and soul to rescue one child, seek justice for another, and bring the dying land its rightful king.
Yet no one is who they seem, and Valen’s search for healing grace leads him from Harrower dungeons to alien shores. Only at the heart of the world does he discover the glorious, terrible price of the land’s redemption-and his own.
Nothing was ever as simple as the fanatics believed.
The Lighthouse Duet does not reinvent the wheel. The question ‘Can you stay morally pure while fighting a totally immoral evil?’ has been asked before. But, where a lot of fantasy novels just answer this question with ‘no’ and then gleefully go on about the horrible things our heroes have to do Lighthouse follows it up with other questions. So how far can you go? If the bad guys have no rulebook and torture and murder children can you also throw out yours and start enslaving the souls of the dead? Or will you just end up as bad as the previous bad guys?
The characters don’t just touch upon these questions, shrug and move on. It’s a major source of conflict between the characters and it is done really well. But in the end, the resolution of this problem is perhaps a bit too convenient. Just like a lot of the problems get solved a bit too easily by the right magical power-upgrade at the right time, the right information coming along at just the right time etc. and perhaps it would have been better to have fewer problems with more complex solutions but in the end that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book (or binging the last third of it in a day...) A lot of it had to do with the great characters. I liked Valen and the other ‘good guys’ and felt with them over their moral dilemmas. And I despised the bad guys while also understanding their grievances and that they had some good points before it turned into Holy Disproportionate Retribution Batman.