keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
[personal profile] keilexandra
I was saving these two until I had finished reading the trilogy, but I seem to have lost interest so...

Transformation
by Carol Berg
439 pages (paperback)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

Seyonne is an Ezzarian slave, dead to the world after being stripped of his magical powers by a horrific rite. By chance he is sold to the arrogant Crown Prince Aleksander of the Derzhi empire, and further unlucky coincidences keep him in royal interest, though not favor. But when Seyonne sees a shocking reminder of Ezzaria in the eyes of the crown prince, he is inextricably bound to Aleksander's fate while demons and foreigners attempt to undermine the empire.

Finishing this, I immediately went on to read Revelation. It hit a lot of my personal buttons--power differential, detailed political subtleties. I can see why there's so much Aleksander/Seyonne fic! The character depth and epic setting reminds me of GRRM, but I'm glad that Berg is not so cruel to her characters (at least in this volume, one reason why I like it best).

Revelation
by Carol Berg
485 pages (paperback)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

Seyonne returns to Ezzaria a free man, but now he must deal with the prejudices and mysteries of his own culture. He meets an unusual demon that will lead him to question everything he has ever been taught, and guide him upon a path to exile more certain--and more painful--than all his prior years of enslavement.

This middle volume was quite well-plotted with a satisfying conclusion. I had read it before from the library, and liked it enough to put the whole trilogy on my to-by list; it was long enough ago, however, and with little enough context, that I read this as if it were new to me.

And yet! And yet, I didn't feel compelled to read the final volume. The emotional blasting that Seyonne takes--especially in repeated betrayals-that-aren't-betrayals of Aleksander--was too much. Though I've skimmed Restoration enough to know that Berg resolves the tale in a politically correct fashion, I'm more satisfied with the ending of Transformation; Seyonne and Aleksander's adventure is over, the world has been saved for now, hooray. Berg's chosen path forces the reader to confront the implications of imperialism, an aim that I fully appreciate. But honestly, it could have been done with less individual torture of the characters.

Maybe, overall, I prefer Song of the Basilisk--an excellent, lesser-known Berg novel that explores similar themes but wraps up in a single volume instead of attempting to save the world forever and ever. Or maybe I can just pretend that Transformation has no sequels.
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keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Keix

January 2011

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