Thursday, 22 September 2011

Revelation by Carol Berg

When I finished Transformation, the first book of the Rai-Kirah series, I thought I was done with Seyonne and Aleksander, that its sequel would probably be in the same universe but with different characters. It turns out I was wrong.

In Revelation there is more of Seyonne than of Aleksander, to be sure, but both characters are back. There is also a lot more about Seyonne's race, the Ezzarians, their traditions and why they fight demons.

This book can be divided into four parts: the beginning, with Seyonne as the sole warden of the Ezzarians, overworked and still very much under-appreciated by the rest of his people. Still, there is some joy in his life, he is back with his wife, the Queen, and she is expecting. But two things happen to bring suspicion on Seyonne (yet, again). First, he lets a demon go unpunished, sensing he has no ill intent. That is unheard of (at least in recent memory) and the talk of his corruption returns. And second, his son is born a demon, and Ezzarian law and tradition dictates that he must be left in the wild to die and that everyone else must go about their lives as if he had never been born conceived. He, however, begins to question said traditions and complains quite loudly about it.

Despairing and cast away, Seyonne goes in search of some answers. This is the second part of this book, when Seyonne first goes through severe depression, then goes about the world looking for some of the demon-children, that were saved by some that were not so keen on tradition as well, encountering prince Aleksander along the way who thinks him to be the leader of a rebellion against his empire. This encounter means one more task for Seyonne, who promises to help Aleksander squash the rebellion.

When he finds the leader, Blaise, he discovers what he had been searching all along – the demon-children. He learns a bit more of their powers and their nature, which leads him to question a bit more the Ezzarian traditions. He is accepted into the group and then cast away again (boy, this man cannot catch a break), and he decides to go to the one person who knows more about demonlore in all of the world, but who is also anathema to all Ezzarian (especially for those who have been made slaves and put through the excruciating rituals that he devised - like Seyonne).

This bring us to the third part, when Seyonne willingly travels to the demon realm, to find some answers. But things are never easy for this guy, so he is captured, tortured, made to forget everything he knows and his purpose, and kept like a pet by the demons (AKA, a slave, yet again). The first three were probably the most boring parts of this book, he is tortured, in the dark, he hears voices...and this goes on for pages. But when he reaches the court of the higher-ranking demons, things get interesting again. The society of the demons, their world, their relationships were really fun to read. That Seyonne had no idea what he was doing there, and kept being enticed by the demoness Vallyne, which lead him to forget what he was doing at the moment, only added to the fun. There was some intrigue, with an old warden living among the demons also as pet, and the demons blaming the Ezzarians of crimes against them, of rendering the lower castes crazy with their attacks, so much that they had no hunters, and their society was bent on collapse. And they also blamed the Ezzarians from keeping them from their promised land.

And because Seyonne is such a good guy, he helps them with that too. Which brings us to the last part of the book, back in the mortal realm, with a controlled demon attack, two armies about to go to war in the vicinity of where Seyonne wants to be (on of them Aleksander's), with the Ezzarians also moving to war against the demons, who Seyonne has to protect, and the rebels lurking close by. Not very good odds.

This is turning into a rather long review, but that is because there is a lot that goes on the book. Maybe not so much action-wise (most of it happens in the end), Seyonne does spend a lot of time wallowing in self-pity, and yet more time being torture and completely out of sorts. But there is a lot that is learned about the Ezzaians and the demons (quite a few revelations), and some new characters that kept me always wondering if they were to be trusted or not.

I missed not having more of Aleksander in this book, his relationship with Seyonne was always fun to read. But, Fiona, who dogs Seyonne most of the book, proves to be quite good to read as well. The stronger point in this book, besides Seyonne, is the history of the Ezzarians, of the traditions and rituals they follow blindly, without ever questioning their purpose [this actually reminded me of The Third God, by Ricardo Pinto].

Contrary to Transformation, this book ends in a cliffhanger, not a mean one, but enough to make me want to read the next one, and see how the story concludes. Comparing with the first one, I think it's a good sequel, maybe not as good as the first, but then again, the first one's ending was a bit of a let down. On the plus side, Revelation has a much more better cover (not that it was hard to achieve).

Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Reviews: Dragons, Heroes and Wizards | Ubiquitous Absence

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  1. This sounds like an interesting saga, and I might try to read it. Can you tell what books are similar to this one? (so I get a better idea if it's my type of book).

    This cover is truly better than the first (you were right, it wouldn't be hard ot make a better one :P ).

  2. I am trying to think of similar books and can't really come up with anything that I can say it's just like it. It's fantasy, pretty much like R.A.Salvatore or Peter V. Brett or anything that could be a Dungeons and Dragons game. only that it doesn't have the Dungeons and Dragons feel... But in terms of writing those two are the ones that come to mind.

    I wish they could have come up with a much better cover for Transformation, especially after discovering that this is the cover for the french edition, So beautiful and it's looks like the artist actually read the book.

  3. That is indeed a far better cover even (and especially) for those who haven't read the book.

    I'll probably give it a try. :)

  4. Great review! I`m reading this for sure!