Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Book v. The Cover

I just finished reading Carol Berg's Transformation, the first in her Rai-Kirah series. I'm already heading into Revelation, the second book, so I need to get Transformation off my mind before I get too far along.

The Bad: The cover art. That's right. The lousy, putrescent, unmarketable cover art. Don't believe me? Check this out.

Exactly. I have no idea what Roc was thinking with this cover, but perhaps someone over there really had it out for Ms. Berg.

The Good: The story was great. I was instantly reminded of Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprentice. It is a tale of redemption following a single character, protangonist POV. Where I have seen fairly regular criticism of Hobb's FitzChivalry character as "whiny," Seyonne is anything but.

The reader follows Seyonne, a man enslaved since he was eighteen. Previously, among his own people, Seyonne had been a Warden. He was trained and devoted to being a spiritual warrior battling and, if necessary, slaying demons. Everyone in Seyonne's society seemed to have some effort to contribute to the cause, although not all had magical talents. Seyonne's talent was quite strong. Indeed, his mentor believed him to be the incarnation of a warrior foretold in prophecy.

Seyonne's voyage from purity and righteousness to defilement and corruption, and back again, is a tale which swings the reader to the extreme ends of the pendulum known respectively as hope and despair. Some plot twists are intuitively anticipated and others are not. All in all, it was a truly fine read and Carol Berg got serious points in my own personal ranking of authors.

Knowing how I can get once involved in a series that I like, I will predict that I'll finish the Rai-Kirah series before moving on to other books. I'm still up in the air as to where to go next, though. My two main picks are James Barclay's Raven series, or Daniel Abraham's Long Price Quartet.


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