Book Review by Debbie Winkler
Target Age Group: adults
My Rating: 5/5 stars, One of My Favorite Fantasy Books!
Seyonne was born an Ezzarian, a free people in a lush, green land who used their magical powers to free innocent people from demon possession. But the Ezzarians kept their demon war a secret and all the conquering Derzhi saw was a rich land to conquer. Seyonne was captured and put through horrible rites that stripped him of his magical powers. Forced into slavery, Seyonne endured horrible conditions and masters, living by his mantra “what comes, comes” and refusing to look beyond the present moment. When Prince Aleksander, the Emperor’s son, buys him for his household, Seyonne is ready to hate him. He is the worst kind of Derzhi, arrogant, uncaring, heartless and heedlessly cruel to all around him. So Seyonne is shocked when he sees the light of the feadnach, the God-touched, shining out of Aleksander’s eyes. Long ago, when he was a Warden in Ezzaria, Seyonne swore to protect anyone who bore the feadnach, but how on earth can he protect a cocky Derzhi prince who doesn’t even believe in magic?
When the Khelid come, Seyonne immediately recognizes the demon gleam in their eyes. But, since he was stripped of power, he has nothing but his wits to fight them. As Aleksander enters a critical time for his future rule, Seyonne desperately tries to convince the Prince that the Khelid are dangerous and will destroy the entire Derzhi empire if he is not wary. Heedless of Seyonne’s warnings, Aleksander is stunned when he comes under a foul demon enchantment, one that Seyonne cannot remove because Aleksander’s people destroyed his magical powers. Seyonne knows that he has no choice but to take Aleksander to his people in Ezzaria and pray that someone will help him there. Seyonne rejoices to see his homeland once more, but he also dreads going there. For, because of Seyonne’s corrupt state, he is as one already dead to them and he knows it will break his heart to see his loved ones again…
Transformation is one of my favorite fantasy books of all times. Seyonne and Aleksander are wonderful characters and Seyonne is a great hero. He comes to understand throughout the book that, even though he is a slave, he is still free in that he has the ability to make choices. He makes a very difficult one to save Aleksander, who doesn’t seem worth saving, but, in the process he finds a way to save himself, and to come to terms with who he has become instead of who he once was. This is an amazing book filled with wonderful details, memorable characters and a stunning story. A must read for any fantasy fan!
The one complaint I have with this book is that Carol Berg really puts her characters through the wringer. There is a lot of torture – both physical and mental – and Berg is pretty creative and explicit in her descriptions. There is also a lot of violence, death, fighting, demon possession and other dark themes. Recommended for readers age 16 and up.