I have been on a quest to find and read single point of view fantasy books. My own work in progress is written with a single POV, so yes, I have a vested interest — but I also wanted to take a step away from epic fantasy with a horde of characters. Transformation (Book One of the Rai Kirah), by Carol Berg, came highly recommended on many sites and forums. The blurb intrigued me.
Seyonne is a man waiting to die. He has been a slave for sixteen years, almost half his life, and has lost everything of meaning to him: his dignity, the people and homeland he loves, and the Warden’s power he used to defend an unsuspecting world from the ravages of demons. Seyonne has made peace with his fate. With strict self-discipline he forces himself to exist only in the present moment and to avoid the pain of hope or caring about anyone. But from the moment he is sold to the arrogant, careless Prince Aleksander, the heir to the Derzhi Empire, Seyonne’s uneasy peace begins to crumble. And when he discovers a demon lurking in the Derzhi court, he must find hope and strength in a most unlikely place…
I was not disappointed.
Transformation absorbed me completely—and that’s saying something. I read the preview chapters available on Amazon. I bought it and finished it, reading straight through. And then, of course, I had to do a book review…
Told in the first person, I loved that this was a novel about an adult—mature and experienced, stuck in a terrible situation and coping with it as best he can. Seyonne does not always succeed. It is *hard.* It is harder still when his beliefs put him in a situation that tests a faith he believes is nonexistent and test the apathy he has developed as his self-defense.
His owner, the spoiled and careless Prince Aleksander, also has his beliefs sorely tested. He learns that his quick temper and sharp-edged wit can be lethal in ways he cannot accept. Both of the characters grow from their interaction together, but that doesn’t come easily, either. There are no quick fixes, no automatic friendships. The emotions are raw and absolutely believable.
The magic is unusual and unfolds slowly, and after a little while I found myself nodding and appreciating the unique facets. The setting is artfully painted, providing a sense of the surroundings without weighing the passage down. The author’s writing smooth and eminently readable—except for a few sudden transitions that tripped me up like bumps in the road. The ending was beautiful and hopeful, and I sincerely recommend the tale.
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What are you reading?
Have you got any single-point-of-view fantasies to recommend?