17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2001
I have real mixed feelings about _Revelation_. On the one hand, it is just as beautifully written as its predecessor. On the other, I thought it had a number of...not flaws, precisely, but there were things about it that made it less interesting to me than _Transformation._
The book deals mainly with Seyonne's difficulty in returning to his people and his life after sixteen years of slavery -- years which, in the eyes of Seyonne's race, make him irretrievably corrupt. Once a certain incident proves this corruption, Seyonne once again leaves Ezzaria on a mission which eventually leads him to try to solve the mystery of his people and their origins.
Berg deftly portrays Seyonne's increasing frustration with the ritualistic ways of the Ezzarians, as she does his pain at being shut out of the world he loves, his confusion at finding things are not as he has always believed and his urgency in bringing about change. IN a way, this book is more introspective than _Transformation_, dealing more with Seyonne's inner world than with his actions and experiences. While this inner world is depicted skillfully and in immense detail, at places I found that it bogged the story down. I had a hard time retaining interest in the chapters that took place within the demons' realm, for example. They seemed overly slow and I wondered if spending all that time on that part of the story was strictly necessary. It often seemed to me that the first third of the book had set up events to proceed a certain way and then those story elements were simply ignored as Seyonne went off on his inner quest. I did not always feel the connection between the two, and the explanation that Seyonne was enchanted to forget what had gone before did not really do it for me.
I was extremely irritated by Aleksander's behavior in the early parts of the book. I do not think the schism between him and Seyonne was strictly necessary to the story and the way it came about seemed contrived. I would have thought that anyone of Aleksander's discernment and intelligence would understand that a person serving in the role of a spy might be forced to commit certain crimes in order not to blow his cover. It amazed me that no one in the book seemed to understand this.
The ending seemed anti-climactic and, I thought, did not satisfactorily tie up the loose ends. We're told the demons return to Kir'Navarrin, but not what that meant or how that affected anything. I think perhaps this may be a topic for another book, but I would have liked to have seen a bit more resolution here.
However, setting these objections against the extreme beauty of the writing, the deftness of characterization and the complexity of the plot still makes Berg one of the finest writers of fantasy that I've read in a very long time. I've come to expect a lot from her and she does not disappoint.
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
"Revelation" is Carol Berg's sequel to her marvelous first fantasy, "Transformation," and it continues the story of Seyonne, Ezzarian Warden against Demonkind. Readers of the initial novel may be surprised to learn that there is more than one type of demon, and not all of them are evil. Seyonne discovers one of these anomalous creatures upon entering a human soul to free it from demonic possession. He pursues his new theology of demons, even though it means alienating his best friend, losing his wife-Queen, collaborating with his worst (human) enemy, and giving himself up into the talons of his demonic foes.
"Revelation" is complex almost to the point of being over-plotted, although Seyonne's personality and moral convictions still drive the story. Lots of new characters (many of them demons) are introduced and their narratives are not concluded, which leads me to hope that there is going to be at least one more volume in this inventive and intelligent series (my favorite among all of the multi-volume fantasies currently in progress).
Carol Berg turns herself into the Poet Laureate of Demonland in "Revelation." Once away from the torture pits of the Gastai (the lowest, most brutal caste of demons), Seyonne finds an unexpectedly beautiful world:
"I blinked a hundred times to make sure I was not imagining it---a perfect frozen image of a butterfly. Not living, of course. Perfect only in shape and size and the detail of its patterned wings, for it was carved of the very stuff of winter, a fragile creature of frost. The coloration was quite faint, only a pale suggestion of the radiant reds and yellows and hard-edged black I knew were the reality. But there was such vivid truth in the shaping of it that I held my breath lest it startle, fly into the raging storm, and be shattered."
Ms. Berg if you are writing a sequel to "Revelation," please don't fall into the habit of impaling your hero into ever more hideous torture scenes. Grim reading though they were, Seyonne's beatings, brandings, and premature burial seemed to be a 'natural' part of his story in "Transformation." He was after all, a slave. However, some of his prolonged sufferings in "Revelation" seemed a tiny bit gratuitous. I'd be heart-broken if Seyonne's story degenerated into another S&M fantasy series, in the manner of Terry Goodkind's "Wizard's First Rule" (which was excellent but for a single prolonged torture scene), "Stone of Tears" (much more gratuitous ichor and bruising), et cetera, ad nauseum.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2001
This book is one of the best books I have ever read. I am so tired of overused fantasy plotlines and devices, and have recently stopped reading two other books in the middle because I couldn't stand the cliches for even one more agonizing page.
This book was not -at all- like those. I devoured this book over the course of three days; couldn't put it down. And it was not less than three days because I had to do things like work, and try not to annoy my wife as I waved her away so I could read some more.
The moral dilemmas that Seyonne encounters in this book are phenomenal. Carol Berg has a strong talent for weaving a masterful tale, this book surprised me more than once - there were times I had to put the book down for a little while just to get over the shock of some event or piece of information learned in the book.
Seyonne is forced to examine the very nature of his existence and the goodness of his people. Ironicly, he manages to alienate all his friends in his struggle to help them, and ends up in some very unlikely places. Watching Seyonne struggle with his belief system as he shifts his paradigms....awesome. Realistic. Engrossing. Were I as good a writer as Carol Berg, perhaps I could convey to you how powerful this book is.
A MUST read. I'm recommending it to all my friends.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2001
Carol Berg continues the story of Seyonne and ALeksander. In Revelation, Carol focuses on Seyonne and Aleksander fades into the background. Seyonne again lives in his homeland, but as an outcast. There are still some of his people who refuse to excuse his "corruption" from slavery.
Fighting demons has become an everyday occurance for Seyonne until he comes across something he thinks nobody has ever seen before: A demon that does not want to fight and does not hate.
Exiled from his homeland again, Seyonne must discover the origin of the demons and decend to their realm, and he discovers a terrible secret.
Carol Berg again spins a story of love, trust, friendship, and enchantments; an outstanding sequel to "Transformation." I recommend this book to Berg fans and first time fantasy readers.
The plot line is good with no unnecessarily confusing twists and turns. She uses clear and concise language that is easy to understand is enjoyable to read. I will be looking forward to Carol Bergs next book "Restoration."
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2005
Carol Berg really manages to suck you into this world--strangely, since she doesn't spend much time describing the world or its history. You nevertheless get the sense that she has built a full, detailed world that will be revealed someday--no matter how mysterious the subject is or how long it takes Seyonne to get there. There's enough good to hang onto to overcome many of the weaknesses, such as:
(1) The characters behave in sometimes very bizarre ways just, it seems, to fit with the direction of the story.
For example, one moment Aleksandar is in such perfect accord with Seyonne, that even though Seyonne suddenly acts like a madman--grabbing a sword and cutting the prince--Aleksander catches onto the scheme immediately and gives Seyonne the exact reaction he needs. But just a few weeks later, hearing of Seyonne's involvement in a bungled attempt to steal his horses, he has a complete hissy fit, acting as if nothing in the world will convince him to forgive Seyonne.
Sometimes the characters take into account what they know about Seyonne and the situation and draw the correct conclusions, but other times they jump to the worst possible explanation apparently just to isolate Seyonne again so his quests are more challenging. The off-again on-again nature of some of the characters' brains has started to irk me.
(2) On a related note, certain "phases" of the novels are drawn out too much. You get some information, some build-up, and perch at the edge of the climax cliff waiting for some major action or revelation........and then it takes FOREVER to find out anything else. It seems Berg didn't have enough ideas to pad out the plot so she just gives Seyonne amnesia or imprisons him for the 67th time instead.
(3) Which reminds me of another problem with some of the characters. Fairly important, reappearing characters are completely flat. Take Ysanne! She is a major part of incredibly pivotal events in the novels. And yet we NEVER hear from Ysanne about her motives for anything she does or about her own feelings for Seyonne. Though we hear plenty about his for her. I have no idea who Ysanne is except a beautiful queen. Which means she can behave in any crazy way required for the plot without breaking character. From which perspective the woman is a bundle of crazy.
Notice the book still gets 4 stars...I'm loving them, but I have encountered some irritations. But it's still a good story and Seyonne is a memorable character. I just wish the guy could catch a break once in a while. He's always struggling, always isolated, always misunderstood, always losing his magic, always being tortured, etc.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
When the Derzhi conquered the homeland of the Ezzaria, they sold the losers into slavery or forced them to flee into the woods. Seyonne, a master of powerful sorcery, won the freedom of the Derzhi by defeating, with the help of his master, Prince Aleeksander, the lord of the demons. The master returned home only to be met with suspicion because they think he is demon tainted. Nevertheless, he resumes his job as warden, freeing humans who are possessed by demons.
The elders do not trust him and haves someone be with him at all times. Seyonne realizes his years of captivity have changed him. He questions traditions and laws that do not make any sense to him. When he is on the hunt, he finds a demon who is not evil and allows him to live. For this act, he is stripped of his rank and leaves his homeland, but soon learns the truth about the so-called demon. He enters the demon homeland so he can learn why the Erzzarians and the Demons are at war. The truth will change the world and its rigid beliefs for all time.
REVELATION is an epic fantasy on a gigantic scale. The worlds of the Ezzaria and the demons are meticulously detailed so that the reader can believe they actually exist and visualize them in the mind�s eye. The hero is reminiscent of Hercules who does feats of daring do knowing that he can be killed at any time. Carol Berg lights up the sky with a wondrous world that exists in every fantasy fan�s imagination.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2003
This has got to be some of the best writing I've seen in quite a while. Berg is a masterful writer. The worlds and people created are so vivid and strong. Each and every character is unique. Their attitudes, demeander, and how they handle situations are completely different from others. Plus they hold their character throughout the entire story--series. I've read so many novels where every character was a carbon copy of how the arthur feels and sees the world. Not so with Berg's novel. There are characters with major flaws, and yet the reader can't help but relate to them. What is most compelling is that not everything works out to the main characters advantage. Bad things happen and they happen in this book.
In the second installment of this series, Seyonnne's life is not perfect in his homeland of Ezzaria. Despite all he has gone through in fighting and defeating the Deamons in the first novel, Transformation, many of his people do not trust him. He is now their only Warden, until he has completed training the younger boys, and fights sometimes even two to three battles a day. Instead of his wife, Ysanne, acting as Aife in these battles, the elders have chosen another, Fiona, as his Aife. Only Fiona is really there to watch and monitor Seyonne to make sure he is not contaminated.
When Seyonne discovers a Demon, who is not evil, in a body and decides to not destroy or remove him, Fiona is quick to report this to the elders and Seyonne finds himself banned from Ezzaria. This is not the end, of course, but only the beginning. Seyonne has his own problems to solve and takes on many for friends. He has his abandon son (yes, son) to find, his long time friend and once master has problems in the kingdom Seyonne vows to help with, and we meet a new character, Blaise who's very life depends on what Seyonne can discover in the world of demons.
You will find it hard to put this novel down and if you are like me, will find yourself caught up in the lives of the characters. I admit, I even cried at some points.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2004
For me this book missed being anywhere near as good as the first. Berg is a great writer and her storylines are different and intersting. However, it was very difficult for me to get involved in this story. I kind of forced fed it a chapter at a time.
First off, the characters in this book lack a lot of dimension. You get a pretty good perspective of maybe two characters, but everyone else is a shadow of a person. I like to feel something coming from the other players, but I can honestly say that they had no personality whatsoever, just actions and no face to acompany them. The plot was good, but I didn't feel that it connected very well with the first. I would have like her to have explored relationships between the characters a little more, but she didn't. It was almost like she said, "Hey, I've got my characters and how they relate to eachother and they didn't need any other development than this." Therefor, from the first book, where the main character is reunited with the love of his life, you learn nothing new about their relationship other than actions they take,which are sometimes ridiculous from a human perspective.
Overall, I'll say again. This book really fell flat for me.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2001
Whew! What Seyonne went through in Transformation was child's play in comparison to what he goes through in Revelation. It took me longer to read this book because it is so intense I had to put it down a few times to keep from being overwhelmed. Ms. Berg has again crafted a story that keeps draws you into a world of demons, sorcery and human perception of what is right and evil. In many ways I found this story darker and less hopeful than the first novel. Seyonne does the right thing, but the sacrifices he has to make along the way are more than anyone should have to bear. I hope the author follows up this story with another one and makes it up to him. In any case, if you are looking to read something that will stay with you long after you have finished it, this is the one to choose.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2002
I may not review books or movies for a living but I do a lot of reading. I love pure fantasy and sci/fi and I must say that Mrs. Berg has created a wonderful sequel to an already fantastic tale of myth and magick. Seyonne is a wonderful hero in that he doesn't really want to be one. His life is full of wonder and excitement, yet, unlike many other fantasy heros, I don't think anyone would want to be in his shoes. His journey in this book is even more intense and heart wrenching than in "Transformation." The way he comes to understand the relationship between Ezzarian and demon is incredible and I never would have guessed even half of the twists and turns that the plot took. The new characters are wonderfully developed and you can actually feel their emotional turmoil, especially Aleksander. I have read a few reviews that were dissapointed in Aleksander's role and behaviour in this book. I, however, was delighted. I don't like predictable, cardboard characters. Aleksander is very human and never fails to provide ample comparison between the two societies of Ezzarian and Derzhi. The land of the demons was as bleak and desolate as I could have imagined. Even more so, because I found myself feeling a great deal of pity for them even before I knew the entire story of how they came to be there. The weak attempts they made at constructing things of beauty and life showed how much a part of the human soul they truly were, and how much they needed their counterparts. I loved the ending even though it did leave me hanging a bit. I hope Mrs. Berg continues to write tales set in the world of the Ezzarians. She is a brilliant storyteller who has made a strong debut into the world of fantasy.