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Publisher's Summary

The rebellious son of a long line of pureblood cartographers and diviners, Valen has spent most of his life trying to escape what society - and his family - have ordained for him. His own mother has predicted that he will meet his doom in water, blood, and ice. Her divination seems fulfilled when a comrade abandons Valen in a rainy wilderness half-dead, addicted to an enchantment that converts pain to pleasure, and possessing only a stolen book of maps.

Offered sanctuary in a nearby monastery, Valen discovers that his book - rumored to lead men into the realm of angels - gains him entry into a world of secret societies, doomsayers, monks, princes, and madmen, all seeking to unlock the mystery of a coming dark age. To his dismay, Valen must face what he fled so long ago, for the key to Navronne's doom is buried in half-forgotten myth and the secrets of his own past....

©2007 Carol Berg (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Almost unlistenable

I'm a big Carol Berg fan. I deeply enjoyed Dust and Light and was excited to learn that there were a couple of other books written in the same world at about the same time period.

In over ten years of subscribing to Audible I haven't heard a more poorly narrated novel. Berg's elegant prose is battered by having been read at too fast a pace and with with zero sense of the rhythm of the phrasing. What should be elegant is stilted and rushed. Character voices are poorly differentiated and I've noticed that several words are mispronounced. An audiobook that I had eagerly anticipated has been rendered too painful to finish. I should have previewed the book sample instead of expecting that it would equal Dust and Light.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • SPRINGFIELD, MO, United States
  • 01-02-14

Intricate, intriguing story; so-so narration

As for the story, Carol Berg has done a superb job. This dark fantasy will grip your imagination with its refreshingly multidimensional plot and compelling characters. A must-read for all fantasy fans. Word to the wise, you'll definitely want to check out this book's sequel, Breath and Bone.

The narration, however, is mediocre. The pacing is a bit awkward. There are many mispronunciations of words and hesitations that make it seem like the narrator doesn't understand the meaning of what he's reading. This isn't a glaring issue and many people may not even notice, but it did bother me. Having said that, I still wholeheartedly recommend this series on the strength of the story alone.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

FIGHTING TO ADD MORE WORDS TO THIS COLLECTION

ON NONSENSE.
Buried in the overly descriptive writing and the disjointed happenings, I believe there is possibly a good story here. I am sure there are those who love this style of writing, but since Carol Berg is not a household name, not a whole lot. I think Berg has lots of talent in storytelling and if she quits trying to be so poetic, the story would have a chance to shine.

I really did not care too much for the narrator. He reads in a sing song fashion and uses a lilt in his voice to show emotion. It reminded me of a junior high kid forced to read a poem in front of class.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Love the book. The narration is abysmal.

Ok, I've heard worse narrations. But this one sounds like he's running toward the end of the book as if promised eternal salvation if he finished as fast as possible. No particular inflection, no attempt to differentiate voices or narration. One of the worst narrations I've heard that didn't drive me so crazy that I didn't demand a refund.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Stellar book, quite strikingly bad reader...

Carol Berg is a wonderfully vivid and talented writer, and this dark fantasy is one of her best, and Valen’s journey toward the “end times” engaging. It is something of a cliffhanger, so if that’s something you don’t like, well—be warned. I read this book when it came out in print and really looked forward to the audiobook version, since I adore Carol’s writing and this book.

Unfortunately, the reader is one of the worst I have ever heard in my 16+ years and 800+ titles with Audible. Unsuited to the material, weird cadence, misplaced pauses, often too-fast reading, almost no difference in character presentation (women sound like men, everyone sounds almost the same!), and let’s not talk about the mispronunciation of common English words! Over and over and over. The repeated mispronunciation of such words nearly sent me into a rage-stroke. He even mispronounces—start to finish—the main character’s name! I finally gave up listening and pulled out the e-book to finish. I’ll re-read the second volume in print or the e-book. I just cannot even stand it anymore. Fortunately the reader for second set of books set in the same world have a much better reader! So there is hope there.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I love the story, but...

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

If the narrator would have read more slowly, using an appropriate accent and changing his voice for different characters, this would have most likely been a 4 or 5 star listening experience.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I love Valen, he's got an engaging personality that makes me want to get to know him better.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator's style of reading is very off-putting. He says the words really fast, with weird pauses and in this tone that doesn't fit the story at all. And he speaks with what sounds like an American accent, which really doesn't match at all with how I imagined the characters voices. I love this book, but unfortunately I'm very disappointed with the choice of narrator.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

takes a while to get going,

perseverance it's w o rth it. first have was a hard slog through half frozen mud.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • CeNedra Red
  • 05-04-16

Great Tale Ruined :-((

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

The book, I would most definitely recommend. I would definitely NOT recommend this audio book version to someone I considered a friend. The narrator spoke in a flat noninflected voice, which made it difficult to tell when one sentence ended and the next began, or distinguish between the various characters.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I didn't get far enough into the audio version to find a character I liked, and it would have been difficult to pick one out of the morass of atonal babble anyway.

What didn’t you like about Allen O'Reilly’s performance?

EVERYTHING!!

Was Flesh and Spirit worth the listening time?

NO! I only listened to the first three chapters, and I felt that I could have spent the time better. Watching paint dry, or the lawn growing, perhaps.

Any additional comments?

I am heart sick that yet another favorite book has been destroyed by a poor narrator. I would urge "Audible" to consider reworking those audio books that receive poor reviews due to the narrator's deplorable efforts. I will be returning this and its companion book (it is the first in a duology) and getting something better.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful