"The Sanctuary Duet" review


Title: The Sanctuary Duet

Author: Carol Berg

Subgenre: High fantasy

2022 Bingo squares:

Recommended if: you liked Lighthouse Duet and want to read more in the Navronne universe

Not recommended if: …you didn’t like Lighthouse Duet, I guess.

LGBTQ rep: A major character is briefly mentioned to be gay

Stars: 4.5/5


The Sanctuary Duet takes place at the same time as the Lighthouse Duet but should be read after Lighthouse. However, if you avoided the other duology because you didn’t want to read something quite so dark, but you still want to read something set in Navronne, it is possible to read Sanctuary Duet on its own; you just might be a bit more confused about the worldbuilding than you otherwise would be, because some things are explained less directly than they might otherwise be, assuming the reader already understands what’s going on from having read Lighthouse.

That said, I would like to propose something radical: You should read Ash and Silver (book 2) before Dust and Light (book 1). I accidentally read them out of order, and it was fantastic! (I didn’t look to check which one came first, and I kind of just thought that “Ash and Silver” sounded like it came first, this was a pretty stupid thing to do and I will never assume the order of books in a series without checking again, but it worked out astonishingly well this time.)

The reason that reading them out of order works so well contains a small spoiler for an event that happens at the end of Dust and Light (but is unrelated to the main plot of the novel) so I will put a break here.

Cover of Dust and Light

At the very end of Dust and Light, Lucian loses his memories, and the events of Ash and Silver involve him reconstructing his past. Therefore, if you read book 2 first, you are, along with Lucian, reconstructing what happened before…leading to an incredibly cool Memento-like experience. Then, once you get to the end of book 2, you get to go back to book 1, and find out in full detail, the entire play-by-play version of the events you were just trying to puzzle out for an entire book! It’s so cool!! Or you could read it in the intended order and be frustrated as you know what’s going on better than the protagonist does.

Moreover, since book 2 counts for /r/fantasy Bingo’s Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey square (hard mode), what could possibly be cooler than extra-hard-mode-ing the square and reading the series out of order?

You should definitely do this.

Cover of Ash and Silver

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River is a MediaWiki developer and admins Leaguepedia. This blog contains her fantasy novel reviews.