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Transformation (2000)

by Carol Berg

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1,0603413,275 (4.12)55
Seyonne is a man waiting to die. He has been a slave for sixteen years and has lost everything of meaning to him:his dignity, the people and homeland he loves, and the Warden's power that enables him to step into a human soul and do battle with demons. But Prince Aleksander, heir to the Derzhi empire, has been possessed by the very demons that Seyonne once fought - demons now allied with the savage Khelid nation. Seyonne must recover his power and cast down the Demon Lords before they destroy both the Prince and his empire. Look out for more information on this book and others on the Orbit website at www.orbitbooks.co.uk… (more)
  1. 10
    Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: For epic fantasy that is rarely makes things easy for its protagonists

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English (33)  German (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Transformation is a fantasy novel about the relationship between a contemptuous and overbearing prince, Aleksander, on his way to becoming emperor, and his slave, Seyonne. The story is told from the Seyonne’s point of view.

Carol slowly builds the character of Seyonne. At the start of the book, he lives solely in the present, his past repressed or forgotten, the future irrelevant. It becomes apparent that he has some special abilities to recognize or see things others cannot. His magic was taken from him in a ritual when he was captured. He had been a Warden, a man with some magical abilities skilled at fighting demons.

The early story of the slave is very graphic and, for me, difficult to read. It deals with punishment, his attitude on survival and his slave past. At the same time, Aleksander sees him only as property and a tool. He things nothing of withholding food or punishing Seyonne.

Once he starts seeing things, his tie to Aleksander become stronger and their relationship really starts to develop. At this point I found the book quite compelling and easy to read.
The characters are very interesting and the story is well-told. Carol Berg has created an interesting world with full cultures that interact with the characters to help make this a fascinating story. ( )
  Nodosaurus | Apr 13, 2020 |
It's been a long, long time since I've read a fiction book good enough to hold my attention like this. I literally devoured it and thought of almost nothing else. I was a robot at work, going through the motions while thinking only of Seyonne and Aleksander and the trials facing them.

I'm also hard pressed to name the last book I read that was so well written and had such deep and complex characters with ever naturally evolving relationships. Not to mention the glorious, twisty plot.

According to fantasticfiction this is Berg's first book. Impossible, I say. If this is any indication of what is to come, I do believe I have found a new favorite author.

A great many thanks to Ms. Carol Berg for the marvelous read and to magicalwords for helping me discover another great author. ( )
  otaginenbutsuji | Nov 12, 2019 |
Seyonne was a Warden until Aleksander's people striped him of his magic and enslaved him. When he becomes Aleksander's slave he sees something special in the arrogant prince. The demons are out to enslave Aleksander's people and their attack on the prince calls Seyonne back to duty fighting demons even without his magic. An epic tale of the transformation of an arrogant prince and a slave who thought he had lost everything.
( )
  wyldheartreads | Jun 20, 2019 |
Transformation has been on my to-read list for almost two decades, and I'm glad to have finally focused on it. It is one of Carol Berg first novels, and she is still cooking up new fantasy (pen name Cate Glass, An Illusion of Thieves).

Transformation is epic, but feels fresh, and is very engrossing. It is highly recommended for fantasy readers. Here's why:

- Perspective: It is written in first-person perspective, and at 450 pages it's a decent size. Yet it reads fast. Most fantasy epics are omniscient third person. Inherently, first-person indicates the narrator will always survive, but Seyonne and his friends, family, etc. are always in peril.

- Complex, fun story: There are tons of plot twists, betrayals... so it is tough to share a summary without spoiling (the official Book Blurb is a good overview). Somehow every story arc is concluded in a satisfying way, but that doesn't mean you'll stop at this first installment.

- Atypical, angelic warfare: The overriding conflict is essentially "~angels/humans vs. ~demons" but none of those categories match religious cliches or fantasy tropes. There are several humanoid cultures, but not the trope elves, dwarves etc.. The sorcerers are the "angelic" ones, but are far from perfect.

- Exorcism/magic: A key magic system has several types of sorcerers/sorceresses that need to work together as team: i.e., one can find possessed victims, another can open doors into mental-battlegrounds, and another can enter and fight/exorcise demons. Other fantasy may have different flavors of mages (druids, illusionists, etc.) but they aren't dependent on each other--here we have Searchers, Aifes, Wardens that truly rely on one another.

- The Books of the Rai-kirah trilogy: Transformation starts the series, then Revelation, then Restoration

- The Author's website has excerpts, reviews, glossaries, maps, and more. ( )
  SELindberg | Jun 8, 2019 |
I liked this, the writing was good, the characters were likable, the plot was original, the world was interesting. I wouldn't have been ashamed to have written this and I don't regret reading it. But...

It really didn't blow me away, so I don't think I'm going to read the next two books. It did wrap up nicely and like I said, I did like it, I just read to slow to read "good" books. I would rather take a chance on something else and hope that it does blow me away. So I guess it's kind of double or nothing, because obviously I might end up reading something that is NOT a "good" book. I'm willing to take that chance. ( )
  ragwaine | May 9, 2018 |
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To Mother, who taught me of books, and Pete, who taught me to reach. And to Linda, who taught me that putting words on paper was the first and most important step, and whose generous listening and perceptive questioning at innumerable "story lunches" forced Seyonne and Aleksander, Seri, Aidan, Dante, Will, and the rest of them to reveal themselves.
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Ezzarian prophets say that the gods fight their battles within the souls of men and that if the deities mislike the battleground, they reshape it according to their will.
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