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Transformation (Rai Kirah) Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Rai Kirah Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Powerfully entertaining. -- Locus, August 2000

Superbly textured, splendidly characterized, this spellbinding tale provides myriad delights for the fantasy connoisseur. -- Romantic Times, September 2000

This well-written fantasy grabs the reader by the throat on page one and doesn't let go... Wonderful. -- Starburst Magazine, May 2001

About the Author

Carol Berg is the national bestselling author of multiple fantasy novels, including Dust and LightBreath and BoneFlesh and SpiritThe Daemon PrismThe Soul Mirror, and The Spirit Lens. She is a former software engineer. She lives in Colorado with her family.
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Product Details

  • Series: Rai Kirah (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Roc (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451457951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451457950
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #771,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is quite possibly the singular best fantasy novel I've ever read. The only books that come close are the Riftwar novels by Feist and the "Running with the Demon" trilogy by Terry Brooks.
Anyways, back to THIS book. I must start off by saying that it is an amazing first-person "account" of his lessons. Nothing is explained that doesn't need to be explained, and you can feel the narrators emotions, pain, joy, fear and disbelief are a few of these emotions. But perhaps the best part is that the author never has the need to explain sarcastic remarks. Because of the vivid display of emotions the narrator puts forth, you automatically know when he's being sarcastic. You can read his tone as well as you could the voice of someone you were speaking with.
The story itself, while one of self-discovery, is refreshingly fresh and poingent, very unlike the "post-adolescent boy farmer suddenly discovers he is long lost son of a monarch/has magical ability to save the world", which is the template for so many authors. And the character development itself is brilliantly done. Seyonne and Aleksander, the heroes, don't just "magically" meet and become friends, although it was certainly an twist of fate that brought them together. You can actually feel the character growth in these books - Not only that of the narrator Seyonne, whose pain and confusion is evident as his world is turned upside down by events beyond his control. But also that of Alekzander, as he grows from brash and uncaring prince to someone who realizes he might just have to grow up one day and take the reins of a country full of people who aren't just toys for his whims.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought that the cover (by Kevin Murphy: a guy on a cliff-top above a stormy castle) represented the innards of the book rather well. The art itself is well-done, dramatic, dark, deep...but really, those pale green wings that look as thought they've been stuck on artifically? I thought the same of some aspects of Berg's story.
Her writing is very readable (feel free to skim the first couple of paragraphs), told from the point of view of Seyonne, currently a slave to Prince Aleksander, formerly a sorcerer committed solely to good. The magic system was a bit odd, if still acceptable, but the fact that Seyonne has wings simply boggles my mind. He's already established as a powerful sorcerer; did she really have to add this slightly corny touch? Add to this the bad guys of the book: demons, who care only for causing chaos and suffering. Rather one-dimensional.
What wasn't one-dimensional was her characterization. Even the minor characters are vivid and play critical roles in the plot. As for the major ones-- When we first meet Aleksander, he's a rich, powerful, clever (and he knows it, and makes sure everyone else does too), and spoiled heir to an empire that has conquered other nations, including Seyonne's. Toward his new slave he holds nothing but indifferent contempt. This changes, however, and soon he captures our sympathy, as well as Seyonne's, who must struggle out of the apathy he learned was necessary to survive as a slave.
Frankly, I think that the title refers to *this* transfomation, that of Aleksander from haughty prince to a decent man, and that of Seyonne from miserable slave to something more (I won't give that away). The ending was heart-stoppingly beautiful. Read it to watch the relationship between the characters, which compelled my interest far beyond the events of the plot.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Are you tired of multi-book epics? Or of the naive, innocent character who saves the world while all the experienced people had no clue? Or of quick, nobody-gets-hurt solutions to huge problems? Well, I am. And so it was a wonderful discovery to find this book:
Both heroes are disillusioned, and make mistakes, and have a hard time even trying to do good. And their development through the book is believable, not too fast or easy. No relationships are instant, but they develop nicely and convincingly. The problems also are not obvious to everyone, and grow and develop nicely. And despite all this, this is not a long-winded, drawn out book. It goes so fast, you just keep returning to it and reading on whenever you can, the tension is so high, you want to know what happens next, and you find yourself peeking a few pages down to know that it turns out OK.
The writing is beautiful, Carol Berg draws unexpected pictures with her words, extremely readable.
Nothing in this book was run of the mill - I found myself again and again waiting for a rehashed plotline or thinking (well, of course, and now...) but I was always surprised. Absolutely wonderful book, all around.
And - just imagine! - it is finished after 400+ pages! There may be a sequel (who knows?) but it is not necessary, and I enjoy that. I do not want to be drawn into 1000+ pages every time, and so many fantasy authors just seem unable to stop.
Recomms: you might want to try Tanya Huff, Julie Czerneda, Roby James, Anne Bishop, Laurell K. Hamilton - each very different, but all with complex characters and unexpected stories.
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