This was the second and final book in the Sanctuary duology. I’ve now read seven books by Carol Berg and I’ve loved every one of them. Why don’t people I know talk about her books more often?! I’ll definitely read more of them eventually, after I’ve made a dent in some of the other books on my list. There are still so many authors whose books I’ve never read.
These books are told from the first-person perspective of Lucian, a young pureblood man who gets caught up in a web of deception and scheming centering on the purebloods and their leaders. Purebloods are sorcerers, and they believe it's important to keep their bloodlines pure in order to preserve the gift of magic that they believe the gods have given them. The series starts off simply and grows more and more complex as things are revealed. There are many mysteries, and not everybody is who they appear to be. In this second book, Lucian is pulled in so many different directions with his many responsibilities and concerns that I felt stressed out on his behalf! The story, which was already good, really took off in this book. It became harder and harder to put it down.
As with the other books I’ve read by Berg, I really loved the characters and the story. I mentioned in my review of the first book that this duology is set in the same world and at around the same time as her Lighthouse duology. Both duologies feature different characters, but events in both books are at least partially influenced by some of the major events going on in the world. In particular, there is a war being fought by the recently-deceased king’s sons as they each strive to become the next king.
This series, Sanctuary, was written second, but it would stand fine on its own so I think people could read them in whichever order they wanted. Sanctuary ends chronologically before Lighthouse, and I don’t think it would at all spoil any of the major surprises from that series. On the other hand, knowing how things turned out in Lighthouse made it easier to see through some of the deception toward the end of Sanctuary. I did enjoy seeing the small connections and revelations related to the first series though, and they might have been easier to appreciate in publication order. Of the two, Lighthouse was my favorite. They were both great, but I became especially attached to some of the characters in that first series. I was also more surprised by some of the twists in Lighthouse, which may be odd because Sanctuary is arguably the more twisty of the two.