To get caught up on Reading Roundup posts, I'll do five books at a time for the Friday 5 feature. Although today I'm actually featuring six books, to take care of a couple of series. (Links go to Goodreads.) I'm not posting every book I read on these features, just the ones I especially enjoyed and am happy to recommend.
Hunted (Flash Gold Chronicles #2)
Peacemaker (Flash Gold Chronicles #3)
Claimed (Flash Gold Chronicles #4)
Liberty (Flash Gold Chronicles #5)
by Lindsay Buroker
The rest of the volumes in the Flash Gold steampunk series, set in an alternate version of the Yukon Gold Rush. Great characters, sinister bad guys, cool magic/steampunk technology, fun Kali/Cedar interaction, adventure, and blossoming romance. Quick but fun and satisfying reads.
Dust and Light (The Sanctuary Duet #1)
Ash and Silver (The Sanctuary Duet #2)
by Carol Berg
I adore Carol Berg's books, and the Lighthouse duology (Flesh and Spirit/Breath and Bone) are two of my favorite books ever, so I was delighted when I found out about these new novels set in the same world. I was a little disappointed that Valen, the rebellious ne'er-do-well drug-addicted but good-hearted protagonist of the Lighthouse books, wouldn't be in the new books (except in passing references to the infamous Cartamandua recondeur, or renegade), but the new characters and story made up for it. Lucian is another one of Ms. Berg's patented tortured young men; he's just lost his whole family, except his much-loved younger sister, in a terrible fire in the midst of a devastating civil war, and now his career as a magical portraitist for the Registry, the ruling body over the pureblood sorcerers, is being seriously sabotaged for reasons he can't begin to understand and that turn out to be extremely perilous not just to his career but to his sanity and even his survival.
Already familiar with the world, I slipped back into it in all its richly detailed, terrible glory. We get more information on the civil war that forms the backdrop of Flesh and Spirit/Breath and Bone and a look at what life is like for a non-renegade sorcerer. Lucian is a well-fleshed-out character who grows from his sheltered upbringing and upstanding, law-abiding character (except for an incident when he was severely chastised and disciplined for a brief love affair with an "ordinary" (non-magical) woman) to realizing how unfair, brutal, and ultimately corrupt sorcerous society and the Registry are. I enjoyed the other characters as well, especially Bastien, Lucian's new boss, the city coroner and cemetary manager.
Ash and Silver picks up with Lucien, now known as Greenshank, as a knight-in-training in the top-secret Knights of the Ashes, discovering his badass side as he trains to protect Navronne from evil. He finds himself the focus of two plots, one involving the disputed throne of Navronne (the object of the terrible civil war being fought the last several years), the other having to do with damage to the parallel world of the Danae and the fate of a massacred city. There's a lot going on, but it's all lots of fun, and as always beautifully written, and Lucien/Greenshank grows into a really unforgettable character. (full reviews: Dust and Light | Ash and Silver
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