Category Archives: Carol Berg

Review: The Daemon Prism by Carol Berg



4 out of 5

The Daemon Prism is the final installment in Carol Berg’s Collegia Magica series. This novel gives the reader a deeper account of the Mage Dante’s life, thoughts and abilities. As the concluding novel the story line pulls in all of major characters and adds several more. Starting two years after the end of the last novel, Dante has been teaching Anne how to control her magic while Portier has head to parts unknown to learn more of the Veil between the living and the dead. Dante gets pulled into a series of events that lead to answers about what has happened to the souls of the dead since the end of the Blood Wars and the creation of Ixtador, and even further into just how humans received the gift of magic. It is very interesting to watch how the original events were twisted into beliefs held centuries later. One small thread that has run throughout all of the novels is the difference between Dante’s magic and that of the Collegia. This becomes a much bigger theme by the end of this novel. The conclusion is satisfying if a little awkward feeling. My only complaint is that again the cover is misleading and doesn’t represent the image the book gives us of Dante. All in all I definitely recommend this series.


Review: The Soul Mirror by Carol Berg

4 out of 5

This second novel in the Collegia Magica series continues the story begun in The Spirit Lens. It is four years later and despite Duplais and his accomplices efforts in the first book things are not going well. Told from the perspective of Anne de Vernase, daughter of the great traitor, we find that someone is changing the rules of the natural world. Her sister dead, her mother mad, her brother locked away, her father nowhere to be found, Anne has spent the last four years keeping the families home and lands running. Now she is forced to leave her home to become a lady in waiting for the Queen. As with the first book it is difficult to figure out who is worthy of trust and who is not. The mystery takes many twists and turns before coming to a satisfactory ending. As I have said many times before I dislike series that do not allow each novel to have some type of conclusion. This series gives the reader just that. Only two complaints, there is a changing in the known rules of magic that was hinted at in the first book and realized in this one and it feels to convenient. I will not give away more as that would contain spoilers. Second is, again, the cover which is closer to the story this time but still doesn’t really represent the main character. I believe it is the use of real models, not common in fantasy, that gives the impression of a romance novel. I am looking forward to reading the third novel.

Review: The Spirit Lens by Carol Berg

4 out of 5

I have picked up this book several times at the library but never actually managed to start reading it. The cover  combined with the name of the series, Collegia Magica, kept making me skeptical. . Finally I decided to take the plunge and am very glad I did. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover and this cover has nothing to do with the story or the characters. The Spirit Lens is a wonderful fantasy mystery. The main character, Portier de Savin-Duplais, is well rounded and well thought out. He has experienced failure as a mage and resigned himself to life as a librarian at the Collegia. His life is completely changed when he receives a message from his very distant cousin, the King. Asked to solve a mystery involving magic, he sets out with the Queen’s half brother, Lord Ilario, a fop considered an idiot by pretty much everyone, to figure out who is behind several assassination attempts on the King. The two enlist the help of the Master mage Dante, a gruff and dislikable character, who is also one of the few to ever pass the master test without being “of the blood.” Berg has created a compelling magical system where only those from certain bloodlines carry the ability to perform magic. Dante opens Portier’s eyes to a completely different type of magic outside of the Collegia’s approved magical forms. Add to this the political intrigues of the Court, including the waning political and popular power of the mages and she has created a very believable world. The mystery itself is well done with twists and turns throughout. I dislike mysteries that I can figure out by the middle of the book and that does not happen here. All in all it is a great start to this series.