Friday, 5 August 2011

Transformation (Rai-Kirah Trilogy Book One)

Transformation (Rai-Kirah 1)Title: Transformation
Author: Carol Berg
Series: Rai-Kirah Trilogy
Succeeded By: Revelation


Score: 10/10
Chart Entry Point: 3
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite!


Transformation is a fairly old book by now, written at the turn of the millenium, but it's been amongst my favourites since I first read it shortly after it came out. This first book is an incredible story by itself, and the subsequent two books serve to add depth and an extra layer of complexity to the world that Berg creates.

There are two main characters in this book. Seyonne - the main character, and Aleksander, the initial antagonist. Seyonne is a highly secretive character, and so everything that we learn about him is an exciting moment. And since we learn a lot about him through his actions, we come to feel like we know him - a lot more than some books allow you to know their characters. By contrast, Aleksander seems like a less private person - yet his actions are often surprising. He can change moods almost instantly, and so while we find out more and more about him, it's often very difficult to predict his next move. The relationship between the two characters is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the two characters. It's constantly changing - one of the most dynamic relationships I've seen in a fantasy novel.
Both major characters are extremely well written - as are many of the secondary characters - Especially one character Ysanne, who we learn of almost exclusively through the eyes of other people, and another female - Catrin, who was one of my favourite characters. I won't say too much about her though, as she doesn't turn up until a major climactic point.

The plot itself is quite complex. It begins by dealing with the idea of slaves - as the main character is one, but then moves on to high politics of the fantasy world, as well as discussing the idea of Demons - or the Rai-Kirah. These are not demons in the standard sense of the word, more parasites of human hosts, which only Wardens can help with. Seyonne was one of these in a past life, and can tell when someone is hosting a demon - but as a slave, can't do anything about it. I'm trying to summarise the plot in a single paragraph - which just isn't possible. But the telling of it weaves a rich background for the story to play out against - one that is both incredible and unique. I've not seen anything that so brilliantly describes different cultures in a single book (and then changes those ideas in the subsequent books).

Technically speaking, it's well written, but the complexity of it can make it a little harder to read than a simpler plot. But it's worth it, for me at least. There is a reason that this book is one of my favourites. To me it stands out above most of the well known works of the genre, and I would suggest anyone who enjoys fantasy to read it as soon as possible.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): 1 male
Main Antagonist(s): Varies
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Fantasy
Brief Synopsis:

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.

ISBN: 1-84149-044-X
Website :Author Page
Amazon Link: UK | US
Pages: 506
Published: 2001
Publisher: Orbit

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