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Carol Berg
book cover

Book 1 of The Rai-Kirah
2000 August, Roc
Buy from Amazon.com (mass market paperback)

Who recommends: Edith, Preeti, Lori, Linda, Julie, JW, Catie, Margaret
Who discommends:

I read Carol Berg's first novel, TRANSFORMATION, and definitely recommend it. I mention this book because, at the end, it seems as if the next book might be an SFR. The two main characters might be pursuing very complicated relationships with interesting heroines. I am amazed that this is her first book -- it's SO MUCH better than books by some seasoned authors. She does an excellent job creating interesting characters and a complex new world. She did an especially noteworthy job in portraying the changing relationship between the two main characters. I got this pb from the library but I'm planning on buying it new to boost her sale numbers. This is an August release so should be at your new bookstore (hint, hint).--Edith (21 Aug 00)

I am glad to hear you liked TRANSFORMATION so much Edith-- my copy just arrived. I heard it compared to Anne Bishop's books in a review and that guaranteed my reading it!--Shelley (21 Aug 00)

MUCH lighter than Ann Bishop. The hero undergoes some dreadful things but the nice thing was that she doesn't dwell on them, making it easier on me. As some of you know, I'm very sensitive to torture and blood and gore and pain. A reviewer on Amazon called it "feel good" in spite of the darkness.

I have high hopes for the sequel because there are TWO relationships which could be developed into great romances. I just hope she doesn't succumb to "Joanne Bertin Syndrome" -- i.e. make it into some hairy epic fantasy with intricate court intrigues which will bore me to death. What I particularly liked in this book is that it is focused on the *characters*. She does an absolutely marvelous job in transforming the relationship between the prince and the slave from @sshole Master/Slave to one where they both have high regard for each other.--Edith (22 Aug 00)

I read Carol Berg's THE TRANSFORMATION this past weekend based upon Edith's praise of it. Even though the romance aspect is slight, this book is so character and relationship driven that I was compelled to find out what fate awaited our characters.

Both the two main characters, a once-noble slave and the rather intemperate warrior-prince to whom he's in service as a scribe, are rather likable. The narrative is in the slave's voice, and what an entertaining voice it is. He's ironic, resigned, bitter, etc, while the prince is vital, charismatic, impulsive, charming, cruel and kind in turns. Basically, the prince undergoes a physical and an emotional change throughout the book with the help of Seyonne's never-quite-defeated sense of justice.

Like Edith said, there are definitely the beginnings of a couple of romances that could be further developed should Berg continue to tell these characters' stories. Yet the story is satisfyingly complete in itself. I second the recommendation of THE TRANSFORMATION as a very good read.-Preeti (14 Sep 00)

I also recommend it; I thought it was quite good, and didn't read like a first novel. OTOH, I realize with some authors we seem to prefer their first books. Once they get their feet wet and feel more confident about their writing, they seem to go off in different directions.--Lori (14 Sep 00)

I highly recommend this book too!! I was actually surprised at how hard this book was to put down. I had been having so much trouble getting into anything lately but every time I picked this up it caught me and didn't want to let me go. I think part of the reason this surprised me was because of how totally spoiled, callous and cruel the Derzhi prince, Aleksander was in the beginning. Though I could see how he grew up to be that way. I liked Seyonne right off and I did get a little of my romance fix when Seyonne started letting himself remember his love for Ysanne. Aleksander was getting a real gem for his arranged marriage too. I kind of bummed to find out that the next book starts 2 years after this ends. But I loved this book!--Linda (17 Sep 00)

Just finished TRANSFORMATION -- it was really a wonderful book. I would not have picked it up without raves, the cover was too funky-looking for me. She wrote an extraordinary character-driven first novel. I'd just as soon leave the story as it stands, but I'm sure now I'll have to read the sequel, or sequels as it may be.--Julie (28 Sep 00)

Read this solely on recommendations here and liked it a lot. But I don't see it as a romance at all. It's a relationship story, but the relationship is between the two men.--JW (19 Oct 00)

I read this over the Christmas break and found it very good. The changing relationship between the slave and his master was particularly well-done. I think their relationship was such a large part of the book that a romance would have been superfluous. Better to have the romances in later books now that the scene has been set.--Margaret (18 Jan 02)

You'd *think* so...but the rest of us who are caught up in this series are still waiting. I wasn't as down on REVELATION as some of you, but I agree that it wasn't nearly as fine a story as TRANSFORMATION. Seyonne's continued suffering was a little grating in this book, the plot too drawn out, and the relationship dynamics not as interesting. Despite admiring Berg's writing skills I would have loved to read a much tighter (shorter and more focused) version of this story. Have I made you look forward to it now, Margaret? :-) --Preeti (21 Jan 02)

REVELATION is available at the library but, given what I'd read here, I thought I'd better wait until book 3 came out. I'd rather just read book 1 and have it end on a hopeful note than read books 2 & 3 and take a dislike to the whole series.--Margaret (22 Jan 02)

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