Friday, November 21, 2008

Transformation by Carol Berg (Rai Kirah Trilogy: Book 1)

Mulluane | 11:40 PM | 2 Comments so far

Seyonne is a man waiting to die. He has been a slave for sixteen years, almost half his life, and has lost everything of meaning to him: his dignity, the people and homeland he loves, and the Warden's power he used to defend an unsuspecting world from the ravages of demons.

Seyonne has made peace with his fate. With strict self-discipline he forces himself to exist only in the present moment and to avoid the pain of hope or caring about anyone. But from the moment he is sold to the arrogant, careless Prince Aleksander, the heir to the Derzhi Empire, Seyonne's uneasy peace begins to crumble. And when he discovers a demon lurking in the Derzhi court, he must find hope and strength in a most unlikely place...

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Fantasy book review of Transformation by Carol Berg (Rai Kirah Trilogy: Book 1)

| Author: Carol Berg
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| ISBN-10: 0451457951
| ISBN-13: 9780451457950
| Publisher:Roc (August 8, 2000)
| Transformation cover art by Kevin Murphy
| Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
| Content: Hero, Sorcerers, Adult
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 5 Stars
| Affiliate Link
Amazon Affiliate Link
Transformation (Rai-Kirah, #1)

Epic Fantasy Book Review by Mulluane

♦ The Story. Seyonne finds himself on the auction block once again, this time he becomes the writing slave of a Derzhi prince. Not that it matters to Seyonne, he has been a slave for the past 16 years, one master is just as good, or bad as another is. Prince Aleksander is exactly what you would expect the heir to a conquering race to be, arrogant, cocky, cruel, and vindictive. Typical fare you would think, but Carol Berg has some surprises in store. Neither Seyonne nor Prince Aleksander is exactly what they seem. Seyonne is an Ezzarian; a proud people whose sole purpose in life is to fight demons and save people from demonic possession. Imagine Seyonne's surprise when he discovers that within Prince Aleksander there is a spark of greatness; a light of destiny that requires that Seyonne become both his guide and his protector. Talk about an improbable task! How can a slave befriend the future heir of the empire that enslaved, killed, and destroyed the magic of his people? However, protect Aleksander he must for one part of Seyonne's abilities was not destroyed, his ability to see demons and there are those close to the Prince that are possessed and determined to make the Prince one of their own.

♦ My Thoughts. This is a great story with excellent characterization, an interesting system of magic and beliefs, plus just the right amount of world building. It only has one major flaw that I could find - it flew by too fast! From page one I was feeling a sympathetic connection to Seyonne followed by a true distaste for Aleksander, followed by amazement as Aleksander begins showing signs of compassion. I even got the impression that Seyonne and Aleksander were just as surprised by this as I was! Now that shows you how real the characters are, they are so well crafted that you feel like you are a part of the unfolding story. I even love the atypical treatment of demons. The Ezzarians believe that demons are not inherently evil but simply are what they are, creatures that feed on pain and fear in order to survive. They try not to actually kill one, believing it will upset the universal balance. Instead, once the demon has been defeated - a fight that takes place within the soul of a demon's victim - they give the demon a choice of banishment or death.

The relationship between Aleksander and Seyonne develops at a very believable pace. There are no painful info dumps. Details about the world, the cultures and the traditions occur naturally and only when needed to advance the plot. Another thing that contributed to my enjoyment of this book was all of the unforeseen surprises and twists. This is one of those stories where just when you think you know what is going to happen, you are proven wrong. I hate predictable plots and this book does not have that problem. Nothing in this story is black or white, good or evil, or even right or wrong, everything happens for a reason, very little is what it seems and there are understandable motives behind nearly every action and reaction. This is a thoroughly complex and enjoyable tale.

♦ Content. This is a harsh world. Slaves are treated badly, torture, punishment, and neglect run rampant, people possessed by demons do horrible, depraved things, and even Seyonne's people are cruel in some ways. There are no love scenes but the protagonists are both adults, Aleksander is in his 20s while Seyonne is in his 30s. By definition, this makes the series an adult read but I saw very little content that would preclude older teens from enjoying it also. Basically, I feel that as long as you are not offended or made uncomfortable by violence and torture, enjoy reading about deep complex characters, then you will love this story. This is also a complete story. It could easily stand on its own. If you hate cliffhangers then this is another reason to love this book.

♦ Conclusion. I have an added treat with this series. I was able to find interviews with Carol Berg that took place around the same time that each book was released. I will be including those in the footnotes of each review so you can read for yourself what her thoughts were on each individual book. Now I am off to read book two!

Read the interview Orbit Books did with Carol Berg following the publication of Transformation

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books, Affiliate Links

Librarything Rating 4.18/5

Amazon Rating 4.06 out of 5 stars
(106 Customer Reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Transformation (RAI KIRAH)Transformation

Audible: Here

Buy Book: AbeBooks - BAM

Book Depository

Amazon: USTransformation - CanadaTransformation - UKTransformation

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Epic Fantasy Review of Transformation (Rai Kirah Trilogy: Book 1) by Carol Berg
Reviewed by Mulluane on November, 21 2008
Rating: 5 of 5

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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  1. Great review! I'm glad you liked this one - it's one of my favorite books of all time.

  2. I've had my eye on this book for a while, and I think I'll definitely have to take the plunge and buy it the next time I'm at the store. Great review! there anything better than discovering a series that already has numerous volumes published? I think not :p


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