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05/15/2003 Entry: "Carol Berg's SONG OF THE BEAST"

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SONG OF THE BEAST is a standalone novel and SFR.

Aidan MacAllister is a singer and musician who, at the beginning of the book, is released from prison after seventeen years. He was never quite certain why he was imprisoned, but he'd been told if he remained silent for seven years, he would be freed.... His voice scratchy, his hands and back ruined from the way he was treated, Aidan sets out to find a place for himself. Although he does wonder about what happened to him -- he knows it has something to do with the dragons and their riders -- he is more concerned about not bringing attention to himself; he does not want to be recaptured. And there are still people after him....

Lara is the daughter of a family of dragon riders. When she was a child, she discovered the truth about her place in her clan. She and her brother were raised together, and she learned much of what he did, until it came time to learn about the dragons. Women do not ride dragons. So she stole a stone that was used to control the dragons, and, a few years later, she stole one of the dragons. She was badly injured during that flight, and she was rescued by the race which also contacted Aidan and eventually came to his rescue....

The story is built around the question of the true nature of the dragons, and how they came to be in the position they were in. I thought it was an original treatment of something that seems in many ways to be familiar. The bonds between dragon rider and dragon are not the kind that we've seen from Anne McCaffrey or Mercedes Lackey (well, not dragons in that case)....

Although I'm not always keen on first person -- and when Lara took over the story for a while, I kept wanting Aidan back -- I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I'm not sure if I loved it as much as her first book, possibly because that was in third person and introduced me to a new author, but I definitely recommend this one.--Lori


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