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Song of the Beast

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,736 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
Brutal imprisonment has broken Aidan McAllister. Once the most famous musician of his generation, celebrated as a man beloved of the gods, his voice is now silent, his hands ruined, his music that offered beauty and hope to war-torn Elyria destroyed. Even the god who nurtured his talent since boyhood has abandoned him. But no one ever told him his crime. To discover the tr ...more
Paperback, 467 pages
Published May 6th 2003 by Roc (first published May 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Final rating: oscillating 4.5~4.75/5 stars

Sing to me.
Ease the grieving of my heart.
Transform me into that which I have been.
Beloved, soothe my uttermost sorrows.
Transform me.
Make me remember.

It is so rare to see a great stand alone fantasy - the one with proper beginning, middle and end, never to bore. It's easier for authors to write series - more books equals character development, extended story, more world building... But some authors can manage all of that in 1 book only, given the righ
Oct 21, 2015 Alissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
This book and its author are a stonking discovery. I’m a fan of Janny Wurts (The Wars of Light and Shadow is my favorite epic fantasy series ever) and Carol Berg was recommended to me as a not-to-be-missed quality fantasy author with a gift for prose, well-rounded stories and characterization. I decided to start with this book since it’s a standalone and the summary, with the element of music as part of the plot and a mature protagonist, intrigued me.
It also sounded like traditional fantasy, wit
Sep 21, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2009
It’s been a really long time since I’ve read a fantasy book that I enjoyed as much as this one. It’s definitely a fantasy novel, but it has a lot of really delightful aberrations from standard fantasy tropes. For example, rather than being a young handsome farmboy thrust into the middle of a great struggle, the main character is 38, is of noble descent, has been imprisoned for 17 years for reasons unknown to him, and is horribly disfigured from his stay in prison. Before his imprisonment, he was ...more
Sep 01, 2012 Carol. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: epic fantasy fans
A bump up from three and a half stars. Written like a traditional epic fantasy, plotting still went in a few unexpected directions in romance and manipulation. At heart is a mystery why the lead was imprisioned, and part of him is reluctant to find out. He meets a person or two to boot him on his way. I enjoyed the mixup of races and clans. A few times, I was completely unsurprised by the direction the plot took, but nonetheless, it was an enjoyable ride there.

Here's the problem: I enjoyed it, b
Alexis Hall
It's been a long time since I read this but I remember being quite pleased with it.

He says faintly.


Lemme do better.

First off, this is standalone fantasy and I am--on principle--a huge fan of standalone fantasy. Because pretty much every fantasy trilogy or fantasy quintuplet or whatever has contained about 1.5 books of incident spread across 3, 5 or 15 novels. And inevitably book 2 is total bobbins and is just there to make you wait for book 3.

But standalone fantasy has all the stuff I like
Jan 16, 2016 Gökçe rated it it was amazing
Fantastik edebiyatın beni etkileyen yanı, insanlığı insan dışı olan üzerinden damıtıp anlatabilmesi. Aidan'ın hikayesi yolunu kaybetmiş, kaybetmesi sağlanmış bir ozanın kendini, kalbini ve yolunu bulma hikayesi. O zorluklar ve kayıplar karşısında adım adım doğrusunun peşinde gittikçe biz de insanlık için umutla doluyoruz. Onun hikayesi bir affedilme ve bağışlanma hikayesi değil. Hatalarımızı sadece kendimizin affedebileceğimizi anlatıyor. Kötüler var ama onlar bile zayıf kalıyorlar. Gerçek zalim ...more
Dec 09, 2010 Ron rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2010 Feliz rated it it was amazing
A singer without a voice, a musician with mangled hands, his enemies think him broken beyond repair. But the truth cannot be silenced.

Aidan Mc Allister is a wonderful tortured hero. I read a lot of Carol Berg's, but this one was the first, and it had me immediately hooked. Set in a world remotely resembling a late medieval Europe, this book is inherently consistent on speech, clothing, behaviour and so on. Berg's worldbuilding is flawless as usual. Unless her other works, this book doesn't linge
Sep 05, 2010 Vanessa rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Aidan McAllister spent seventeen years imprisoned in solitude for treason—although he never learned what this supposed treasonous act was. He was a wandering singer who enjoyed celebrity not only because he was the cousin to the king, but also because he was exceptionally talented. What could he possibly have done that warranted such abuse?

Song of the Beast opens with his release and Aiden, now voiceless and with crippled hands, is thrust out penniless into a world that believes him dead.

Sep 04, 2010 Jon rated it liked it
Recommended to Jon by: Janny Wurts
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 03, 2012 Laylah rated it it was ok
Man, I don't know, am I just falling out of love with this genre?

I was engaged enough to keep going, but I just didn't feel moved or compelled by anything in this book. Aidan's wholesomeness annoyed me, Lara's constant self-blame and self-denial (coupled with the consistent "let's not talk about our issues everrrrr for reasonsssss") frustrated me, the good-vs-evil conflict left me going "Yes, and?" (Enslaving another race is bad! You don't say!) ...And far too many things seemed to occur at just
Apr 27, 2016 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, book-club
An interesting, and rather harrowing standalone fantasy. Rather than a warrior hero, we have a musician, newly released from prison where he's been tortured so that he cannot sing or play an instrument again. Different, bold, and very enjoyable.
Sep 28, 2010 Bookwatcher rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fantasy readers of all ages
I like it… well, the end was not what I was expecting but I love it! My eyes were full of tears reading the last words... so sweet!
The book is also well writing but the change of narrator is a little confusing (maybe only Aidan MacAllister as storyteller would be better).

My compliments to Carol Berg. Her imagination is amazing and her world with dragons and dragon speakers was wonderful.

5 stars are not enough... I love this book and would love to say more, but I'm speechless!
Annette Gisby
May 21, 2009 Annette Gisby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Song of the Beast by Carol Berg

This is one of the most imaginative fantasy books I have ever read and I have read a lot of them! Quite often, I can guess where a twist might be appearing or if indeed what the final twist might be, but not in this one. There is indeed a twist in this novel but it was one I would never have guessed in a million years.

If you thought fantasy novels were all the same and full of cliches, give this one a try. You won't be disappointed.
Think I found myself another favorite fantasy author to add to my list. I really enjoyed this. Strong, believable characters in a well developed world. Felt like a fantasy but not an echo of what's been done before. Will be checking out more of Carol's books.

This book has been in my to-read list for so long, I had almost forgotten it. Dragons are one of my favorite fantastical creatures, as I'm sure is the case for many people. I'm pretty sure this wasn't recommended to me by anyone, but I still thought it was about time I read it.

Synopsis: Aidan, the best musician in recorded history and cousin to the king, is one day imprisoned and ordered to remain silent for seven years. No explanation for this order or the reason
Apr 07, 2014 Furio rated it did not like it
As it was the case in her unjustly celebrated demon trilogy, Transformation, Revelation and Restoration, the story told here by Ms Berg has potential.
Dragons are a popular topic in fantasy fiction and, if a subject is so well loved, this also means that it carries a strong fascination in itself. Many of her ideas are interesting, convincing, some even fascinating.

I am not saying her writing is bad: in many pages a talented writer lurks and the pacing is excellent.
It is the overall attitude that
Nov 28, 2011 Sueij rated it it was amazing
It's not earth-shattering, and I didn't garner any astonishing insights that will change the way I live my life, but (a) I couldn't put this book down and (b) when I got to the last page, I was sorely tempted to go back to page one and read it again with all the knowledge of what's really going on. Yep, that makes for a five-star rating for me.

I think there were two things that really sucked me in. First, the author is clearly deeply in the main character's head, and does an outstanding job tell
Lex Marroquin
Nov 03, 2015 Lex Marroquin rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-book-list
I have great affection for traditional fantasy trappings; faye folk with a bond to nature, human civilizations rising to great heights, magic and of course dragons. Berg also holds these things dear. And while her heart certainly swells at the fancifulness of it all, her author's machinery isn't above turning all troupes on their sides, their heads and various other sides of their literary anatomy. Add a mystery and the deft handling of a hero's journey that could have easily turned to tired gri ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Aelvana rated it really liked it
Aidan was once a minstrel unmatched in all the land; a man whose music wove in the songs of the gods and could capture the heart of any man. But something, somehow, has convinced others he was danger enough to be locked up and sentenced to torture until he had remained silent seven years. He has no idea why. Finally free, it is all he can do to survive. But the mystery of who he is has not died along with his heart. He who once followed the dragons around, trying to learn their songs, still find ...more
Nov 04, 2014 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
Aidan is the king’s cousin, but as he begins his narrative he has just been released after seventeen years brutal imprisonment; imprisoned at the age of twenty one for reasons not quite clear to him, but presumably with the king’s knowledge.

Aidan is a remarkable man. In his youth he was renowned as a singer of unsurpassable talents, able to move the hardest of hearts; as such he travelled throughout the lands performing to all from kings to beggars. But now, having been silenced he is released
Apr 26, 2014 Rebecca rated it really liked it
This was a rather enjoyable, self-contained story. I find I often like one book stories since it forces even not-so-perfect authors not to dawdle or try to pad it out much. That's the case with this one. The pacing is very good, with periods of both action-suspense and reflection. The mystery surrounding Aidan's imprisonment is slowly revealed throughout, not making you wait too long to learn something new, but keeping it obscure enough that you can't really guess exactly where it's going.

The PO
Petra Eriksson
Feb 04, 2010 Petra Eriksson rated it it was amazing
Once again I was not dissapointed! The only problem with this book was that it was to short! Before I blinked the last page was turned and I found myself wishing for more! I could not help thinking about how much more alive the story woudl have been if would have strechet into one more book for I truly loved the story! Dragons and singing, can it get better than that! I'm delighet that she is writing the story further in an anthology, now I can just hope I'm able to get my hands on it!
Dec 22, 2010 Michael rated it it was ok
Not one of Berg's highlights, I'm afraid. More impossibly long suffering in prisons and then improbable action sequences followed by many many adverbs and stereotypical characterizations. The standard but sudden and generally surprising twists to character that fill Berg's fiction are rote and uninteresting in this novel, the characters flat, driven and unchanging. There's just not much to recommend this one.
Dec 24, 2008 Kristi rated it it was amazing
I love Carol Berg with the fire of a thousand suns! She gives us all of her classic moves: a renegade expatrate, a headache worth of background information on a make-believe world, plot twists galore, a good versus evil where the good may not be good and the evil is not actually evil... Oh, and did I mention there are dragons? This is book is sizzling hot!
Jeff Powers
This book is difficult to review. I don't read much fantasy anymore, but when working on a reading challenge I needed a stand alone fantasy novel, so I gave this a shot. It had many intriguing elements, but they were often bogged down by genre cliche. There were many non-human races, but a lack of description or real development of those characters made them feel like standard humans with a new name. The politics of the kingdom were interesting, with the enslavement of dragons for use in warfare ...more
Aug 29, 2012 Km249 rated it really liked it
Entertaining enough. There are some interesting concepts here. I have no specific complaints, yet the book seems a bit... Flat? Hmm... how to explain it better. If you ask me any details about this book in 2 weeks, I probably won't remember any. Nothing really memorable about it, but I did quite enjoy reading it. Interesting mix here.
William Edmondson
Jan 19, 2016 William Edmondson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-a-list
Carol Berg is second only to Sanderson in my list of favorite authors, she does character development better than almost anyone. In this standalone she takes a downtrodden protagonist beats him up some more then makes him the hero. If you want to try Carol Berg out I recommend starting here or with her Rai Kirah series.
DeAnna Knippling
Nov 03, 2010 DeAnna Knippling rated it really liked it
The parable of the prodigy--brilliant, destroyed, reborn with purpose rather than talent. With dragons.
Amanda Langdon
Feb 04, 2009 Amanda Langdon rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, beautiful, and amazing - why did it have to be a stand-alone?
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Dragons, dragons ...: Roelan 9 10 Oct 14, 2012 04:24AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: "Song of the Beast" by Carol Berg 1 4 Jul 25, 2012 07:27AM  
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Carol Berg is the author of the epic fantasy
The Books of the Rai-kirah, The Bridge of D'Arnath Quartet, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award winning Lighthouse Duet - Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone - the standalone novel Song of the Beast , and the three novels of the Collegia Magica.

Berg holds a degree in mathematics from Rice University, and a degree in computer science from the University of Co
More about Carol Berg...

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