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The Soul Mirror
Carol Berg
Roc, Jan 4 2011, $16.00, ISBN: 9780451463746
reviewed by Harriet Klausner

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.

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