The winner of the Colorado Book Award is "a fantasy I didn't want to put down" (SF Revu). Brutal imprisonment has broken Aidan McAllister. His music is destroyed, and with it the visions he once gave a kingdom ravaged by dragon war. Now, he risks his hard-bought freedom to uncover the truth behind his incarceration - and to meet his enemy face-to-face....
©2003 Carol Berg (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
After years of waiting, the book finally came available as an Audiobook. Since I already have the book on Kindle (and as a hard copy), Audible.com let me buy the audiobook for just $4.59, a bargain I was delighted to snatch. A steal!
After being terribly disappointed in the recording of Kevin Hearne's Hunted (disappointed enough to ask for my money back), I was delighted this book was every bit as good as I hoped it would be. Maybe better. Narrated by Claire Christie and Jeremy Arthur, I was (again) surprised at how much more I get from an audiobook than from print. I think it's because I read very fast. When I listen, the pace is that of human speech, perhaps slightly slower than normal conversation. I absorb more of the story listening than reading.
The dual narration works well. Aiden and Lara having their own voices and perspectives is appropriate. Usually I don't like multiple narrators, but I like them in this book.
Song of the Beast is Carol Berg's is a standalone book. I wish it were a series. I have it on good authority that another story (short story -- not an entire book) will be coming out based in the same world, though not featuring the same characters. I would prefer a book or two, but I will happily settle for whatever I can get.
If Carol Berg writes it, I will read it. I think she's brilliant and not nearly as appreciated as she deserves.
I came to love her dragons. There is a faint whiff of Pern to these dragons, except no dragonrider of Pern would so mistreat a dragon. I'm a sucker for dragons. Any dragon. And these are fabulous dragons.
I found the story's characters well-drawn and three-dimensional. Many relationships are between different species because, unlike her other books, not all characters are human. The relationships are logical extensions of the cultures from which they come. The slightly abrasive relationships between differing humanoids is fundamental.
The main character -- Aidan McAllister has been imprisoned and tortured. His beautiful voice has been silenced, his hands brutally destroyed. His music, which offered solace and hope to war-torn Elyria, is gone. The god in whom he never lost faith and nurtured him and his music since he was a child seems to have abandoned him.
Yet no one has yet told him what his crime was. He has no idea what earned him such punishment. He has emerged from prison a broken man, battered beyond endurance, wanting nothing more than peace and safety ... and the end of pain. Having lost himself, he must find his way back to himself, remember who he was because that's the key to what happened to him, what is happening to the world and the dragons. There is, of course, a beautiful woman.
Through it all, Aiden remains a gentle soul in a cruel world, a man to whom violence is abhorrent no matter what was done to him. He's neither vengeful nor mean. Music is his magic.
I wish there were a sequel to this book. I wanted to know what happened next, how this society evolves. The book left me with lots of questions. It isn't a cliff hanger -- not exactly -- but it didn't seem quite finished to me. There's plenty of room for more stories as this world realigns and reconstructs itself in the wake of a new understanding of dragons.
I liked the book so much I was sorry it ended. I never want any of Carol Berg's books to end.
Great characters, addicting story and a good performance. I hope the author will continue with book 2! :)
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