Song of the Beast Mass Market Paperback – 1 May 2003
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About the Author
Though Colorado is home, Carol Berg's roots are in Texas, in a family of teachers, musicians, and railroad men. She has degrees in mathematics from Rice University and computer science from the University of Colorado, but managed to squeeze in minors in English and art history along the way. She has combined a career as a software engineer with her writing, while also raising three sons. She lives with her husband at the foot of the Colorado mountains. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
There are some similarities between "Song of the beast" and "The Rai-kirah", as both revolve around a central character who has suffered persecution throuigh no fault of his own. There are however enough differences between the worlds, plots and characters of "Song of..." and "Rai-kirah" (i.e. the existance of dragons and lack of demons), to prevent "Song of..." from merely being a profitable rehash. Instead it comes across as exciting new read from this gem of a writer.
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 from his home fro most of his manhood, the dungeon. But his is not free; there are still those who pursue him, some to keep him silenced, others who seek to use his voice for other reasons.
Aidan takes us along his epic journey, and gradually unravels the part the dragons play in his life and troubles. He encounters the Elhim, the at best ignored and at worst despised race who have neither male nor female, and Lara, the daughter of a warrior dragon rider who aspires to be as her father. While Ms Berg seems to like her main characters marred on the outside, which the once handsome Aidan after his torturous imprisonment most definitely is, on the inside he has only a good and pure heart, a mild and good mannered man wishing vengeance on none.
Although Aidan narrates most of the tale, occasionally one or another of the characters takes over if only briefly; a device which keeps us on edge for we can never be sure of anyone's survival. From the very first pages it is certainly a gripping tale such is Carol Berg's writing skill; something we are accustomed to with her other three volume epic, the Rai-kirah saga. Song of the Beast weaves an intricate, unpredictable, imaginative and enthralling story, producing a book which once started is hard to put down.
Carol Berg has a knack of populating her books with flawed heroes, and Aidan is no exception. I think you tend to love them more because they are flawed and have suffered hardships; that they aren't perfect.
If you thought fantasy novels were all the same and full of cliches, give this one a try. You won't be disappointed.
The story revolves around Aidan McAllister who has escaped from prison after years of torture. He still has no idea why he, the highly talented and admired musician, cousin to the king, should have been subjected to the torture and years of silence under the guard of the feared Ridemark Dragon Riders. Why do they fear him and what is his connection to the Dragons that help the Riders defend the land from invaders?
With the help of some unusual, some dubious and some surprise friends, he gradually unravels both his past as well as his destiny, all the time hunted by enemies that want nothing more than to silence him forever.
The story is fast paced and does not always go in the direction you expect it to, though I don't think it is quite as 'quirky' as some of Carol Berg's other books.
So why four rather than five stars you ask. Well... we start the book from Aidan's Point of View and after almost a third of the book, I had well and truly settled into the story observing things from his angle when it all changes and Narim, who is one of those that have helped Aidan escape his hunters becomes the storyteller. From then on we see a regular change of narrator.
Normally I have no problems with stories that are told from the viewpoint of different characters, but for some reason in this book I found it interrupted the flow of the story possibly because I was so used to Aidan that I never felt quite as familiar with the other narrators. Still, it was an enjoyable read, the fact that I did not put it down will attest to this, and I will undoubtedly re-read it again in the future.
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