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Transformation (Rai-Kirah, #1)
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Transformation (Rai-Kirah #1)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  4,578 ratings  ·  219 reviews
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 ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 439 pages
Published August 1st 2000 by Roc
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Luck in the Shadows by Lynn FlewellingCut & Run by Abigail RouxTransformation by Carol BergMelusine by Sarah MonetteThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Books with sweet M/M relationships (bromance and more)
3rd out of 164 books — 135 voters
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinJ.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set by J.R.R. TolkienThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisThe Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
The Best Epic Fantasy
218th out of 2,311 books — 16,283 voters

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Community Reviews

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Fantasy. There's this guy, and he has wings, and he's been...sold into slavery? And this prince buys him? I can't really remember. But the one guy totally has wings. And lots of man-angst.

My absolute biggest complaint about this book is that after hundreds of pages of foreplay, the prince and his slave do not actually confess their manly love for each other and get married. But they very nearly do, so maybe that'll be enough for the rest of you. The slave sleeps at the foot of the prince's bed!
Jan 27, 2015 Mimi rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Robin Hobb and Lynn Flewelling; maybe fans of David Eddings and Terry Brooks as well
Recommended to Mimi by: no one, just something I'd been meaning to read for awhile
Ten years ago I would have liked Transformation a lot more. Back when I used to enjoy high fantasy this book would have been memorable. Now? Now I'm trying to get back to the genrebut not doing very well, mostly because I'm tired of reading about the same things over and over again. Medieval setting, a conquering empire on the rise, boring court life, boring court intrigue, boring political maneuverings, ridiculously exacerbating nobles, tiresome royalty, etc etc. One exception isI still find in ...more
Dec 04, 2013 Marilyn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes the fantasy adventure genre.
Recommended to Marilyn by: I stumbled onto it by accident.
Carol Berg has not yet written a book I didn't love.

Her books are full of cruelly treated souls with ultimate deliverance. Although her books rarely end in tragedy (at least not universal tragedy), you cannot count on an entirely happy ending either. You can be reasonably sure your favorite people will survive, but they may sustain significant damage, mental and physical, on the way.

The common denominator of her heroes and heroines is that they've suffered. Sometimes, they know why, sometimes
4.0 stars. This is a well written, original, epic fantasy story with well drawn, three dimensional characters and a very intricate plot. Some pacing problems and a few slow parts keep this from getting a five star rating but I will certainly read the next book in the series. Recommended.
(Re-posted from

Alright, let's get this out the way straight up. That first cover is ridiculous. And not in a good way. I mean, who looked at that image of a scantily glad gentlemen with enormous green wings on a cliff top and thought, "yup, perfect." I mean, the covers for "Revelation" and "Restoration" aren't exactly awesome either, but compared to 'Transformation...' Yikes.

Which sucks. Because I suspect that that cover is bad enough to stop people from readi
I’ve been intending to read Transformation for a long time. A friend recommended it to me, telling me to ignore the terrible cover, but I still let it sit on my virtual shelf for far too long. Thanks to my TBR challenge, I finally got around to it. I really loved it, and wish I’d read it sooner! This is a book that deserves more attention, and I agree - ignore the cover!

It’s a Fantasy that takes place in a large, greedy empire that gobbles up its neighbors and uses wide scale slavery. The cultur
Leah Petersen
Apr 04, 2011 Leah Petersen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Leah by: Deidre Knight
Shelves: fantasy
I was truly shocked to read the other reviews and realize that many perceived this as the-queer-book-that-didn't. I write gay fiction myself, and read tons of it. It never even occurred to me in reading this that they might be gay, or should be, for that matter.

I think what makes this one of The. Best. Character/Relationship books I've ever read is that it doesn't muddle the issue with lust and sex. Bravo to Ms. Berg for accomplishing it because it's harder to pen such a poignant relationship wh
I loved this. I am shocked and delighted by how much I loved this. It’s an original world combined with all the pleasures of a really slashy bit of fanfic. There are slavefic and wingfic elements, and demons and destiny, and it all sounds really cheesy, but like really good fic, it transcends these clichés. The relationship between Aleksander and Seyonne is beautifully developed: they begin as master and slave, and we get to see the whole process of Aleksander gaining maturity and compassion, an ...more
Sep 26, 2007 Louise rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: slashers, people who like fantasy with a bit of grit
An interesting book, which has a very slashy master/slave set up. Amazingly, considering the extreme slashiness of them (at one point he is drinking from his fountain of joy), I was never sure if Carol Berg was actually aware of it. At times I was really expecting things to kick off between them.

She certainly doesn't mention it or resolve it, apart from letting it fizzle out. Everyone is resolutely heterosexual, although homosexuality is mentioned, but only in terms of sexual abuse of the slave
Apr 20, 2013 Jon added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Beyond Reality Group Selection for Feb 2013
Jan 08, 2011 Sueij rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sueij by: Patrick Rothfuss
Oh, new favorite author! It kills me that I don't have the next book sitting on my shelf waiting for me!

It's ironic that I also received this for Christmas, that it's a woman author's first novel, fantasy, and told in first-person narration, just like _Magic Lost, Trouble Found_ by Lisa Shearin. But *this* effort is superb.

The narrator is believable as a male Ezzarian slave, trying to live in the moment and just survive, until he is forced by his own nature and long-ignored oaths to act in his m
Note: Even though Transformation is the first book of a trilogy, it also works extremely well as a standalone. If I hadn't known before that it's part of a series, I probably wouldn't have gone looking for sequels.

We begin our story, and please don't roll your eyes or run away yet, when our protagonist Seyonne is sold as a slave to our other protagonist, Aleksander, prince of the mighty Derzhi Empire. Zander is what you might expect: A spoiled, arrogant brat who doesn't value Seyonne as anything
This is a book the likes of which I have not come across in some time. It grabbed me within the first few pages and did not let go until I finished it. It hasn't quite let go of me yet, actually -- it was almost physically painful to stop myself from immediately picking up the next book in the series to instead come to the computer and write this review.

It was such an all-encompassing experience, as a matter of fact, that it's hard for me to summon up the distance to write a good review. Trying
Lynn Abbey
Everything starts somewhere and Carol Berg's novels start with Transformation. Despite being 438 pages long (in the Roc mass market) and the first volume of a trilogy that promises to a world-changing confrontation of good v. evil, Transformation's really an intimate story of an evolving friendship between a silver-spoon prince (bearing the requisite hidden, unexpected mark of greatness) and a slave so consumed by survival, cynicism, and despair that he no longer recalls his own past. There's a ...more
I find myself disinclined to like books with characters who are perpetually in distress. Not that I don't like tortured characters--I do, very much so--but when it's constant and relentless, I get worn down. Unfortunately, our main character, Seyonne, has this problem. He can't catch a break. He doesn't do anything wrong and yet he's threatened, beaten, starved, and put in isolation, among other things. Apparently in this world slaves aren't even treated with the decency of animals. Even after h ...more
I could not put this book down and I had tears in my eyes before I had turned the hundredth page—that’s how compelling the characters were, right from the outset.

Simply, Transformation is the story of two men separated by about a decade, age-wise, and a much greater gap in experience. Seyonne is a slave and Zander is his lord. Seyonne has been a slave for sixteen years, his people captured by Zander’s. He is worn by time and experience, but is still himself—to a degree. Beneath his apparent res
ORIGINAL READ: 10/10 (18 September 2007 - 23 September 2007)

Transformation - Carol Berg (10/10)
Fantasy; book 1 of the Rai-Kirah.
Another fantastic series. Carol Berg writes original fantasy that walks the line of dark fantasy with every tipping over. So we get a solid story with strong, deep worldbuilding and fascinating characters who are never simple and always flawed. The story follows both the complicated, building friendship between the slave, Seyonne and his princely owner, but their battle
Notable attempt at a totally new fantasy world. Well conceived and executed.
It's been years since I read this book. I was still in high school. I remember reading it straight through lunch and then under my desk during class. I remember getting close to the climax during my ride home from school and rushing from the bus to my bedroom so I could lock myself in and finish reading the book undisturbed.

It stand out in my mind as a book I was caught completely off guard by. Something I bought at random that ended up sucking me in wholly and had me flipping pages straight on
Given how much I loved this book when I first read it, I wonder why it's taken me until now to do another read of it. This book is essentially a fantasy version of Alexander the Great's life, told from his slave's perspective. In many ways, I wish that Berg had either deviated more from the Alexander story or made it even more apparent, rather than thinly veiling that it's Alexander's story.

In Transformation, Seyonne battles his own hopeless situation-- his slavery, his people who wouldn't accep
I'd say the best reason to read this is for its characters. The protagonist is Seyonne, a man who was once a magical-warrior prodigy and the shining star of his demon-hunting people before they got their butts kicked and he was captured on the battlefield, stripped of his magic, and sold into slavery for sixteen long years. Seyonne thinks that he's pretty much crushed all hope of being anything more than a slave and is just trying to survive as many days as he can, though he has a bare few point ...more
Wow. WOW, Carol Berg, just… I have no words. Geez, it's like I have to drop every other book I've given 5 stars to down a notch just because they can't even come close to comparing to the power of this book...! I've just finished TRANSFORMATION and, as you can probably guess, was left utterly floored and overflowing with emotion. I don't think I've ever been so thoroughly transported by a book, and so *completely* too. Despite its length (not extreme, but it is substantial--and won't you be than ...more
I loved this as much as I did the first time. The transformation of Seyonne and Aleksander from slave and master to two men bound with the deepest, most intimate friendship possible (that is not romantic) and their individual transformations - for Aleksander from spoiled, arrogant and cruel prince to the man worthy of the Empire, for Seyonne from broken slave without hope to the warrior he had been - are the core, the heart of the novel. It is a beautiful story with original magic system. Lovely ...more
Well crafted, complex characters, suspense, tension, battles with demons, a truly mixed hero, a prince who is spoiled beyond redemption and yet has a spark of something humane in his soul. Terrific read. Can't wait for the next one, Revelation.

Carol Berg is a true delight to read, after slogging my way through a couple of mediocre and endless books, a pleasure to make the spirit soar and restore one's faith in inspired fiction.
Maggie K
I so liked this book! Unlikely hero, bromance, superb world-building, exorcising demons even!
Berg can really spin a tale. I found myself entranced and sucked in to this world rather quickly. I definitely plan to move ont o the rest of the series....
Feb 01, 2010 Jeffrey rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fantasy fans
This is a superb work of fantasy which I think I have read for the third time.
Lilia Ford
This is a solid fantasy, with strong characterization and world-building, plenty of magic, dynastic intrigue and varied cultures. There is not so much as a soupçon of M/M action, romance or even sex itself. To my surprise that did not end up being a problem since the slave story itself is the best part, and provides plenty of intensity that apparently can serve instead of sex--at least for this reader. I was especially impressed by Berg's female characters, since they are so often an abysmally w ...more
Natalie Aemmon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 11, 2011 Karen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Karen by: Kim
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
A good friend gifted this e-book to me. It's not one that I would have picked out for myself -- but I'm very glad it came my way!

Carol Berg is a very lovely writer, evoking character and scene very well. This is fantasy fiction, but not of the 'life on other planets' sort. I consider it more like a parallel universe novel, taking place at an indeterminate time in Earth-like environments and cultures. The plotline contains an additional parallel world where spiritually/magically trained people fi
Writing: 4
Story: 4
Satisfaction: 4

I really enjoyed Transformation and I'm looking forward to the other two books in the series. The characters are well written with clear motivations and the world that Berg has built is well done and interesting.

The story begins with our narrator Seyonne being bought by an arrogant prince at a slave auction. He's been a slave for the past 16 years and has been coping with the pain and terror using memory blocking techniques and living only in the moment. His nar
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Rai-Kirah (3 books)
  • Revelation (Rai-Kirah, #2)
  • Restoration (Rai-Kirah, #3)
Restoration (Rai-Kirah, #3) Revelation (Rai-Kirah, #2) Son of Avonar (The Bridge of D'Arnath, #1) Flesh and Spirit (Lighthouse, #1) Breath and Bone (Lighthouse, #2)

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“So what is this feadnach? Is it another curse that makes me beholden to slaves and shrews?'
'No, my lord. It is your heart. Difficult as it may be to comprehend, there is a possibility you may have one.”
“From the instant of our first meeting I judged him so, though it could be said that I was prejudiced. When one is standing naked on a slave-auction block in a wind cold enough to freeze a demon's backside, one is unlikely to have a fair impression of anyone.” 5 likes
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