This review is about “Song of the Beast” by Carol Berg.
The story is about Aidan. He is the cousin of the king and is hailed as the best musician of the century, set to become a legend of his art. Suddenly, without warning, he is imprisoned for treason and sentenced to complete silence. Many years later, broken and voiceless, he is released and sets out to find out why he was imprisoned in the first place.
It’s a good story, with a good setting and excellent world building. It’s a fantasy story, so there are elves and dragons – both of which are treated as slaves and mounts by the dominant human population. I like that Aidan is a musician and that he has no experience or training with a sword or other weaponry, and he stays like that throughout the story. I like the way the author has made the plot and it was a shock when the bad guy was revealed (I won’t say anything more in fear of spoiling too much).
The dragons aren’t tame despite being controlled by humans and I like that there is a very real danger there. The elves are kind of like in the “Dragon Age” games, living in slums in the city, or hidden away amongst the mountain peaks. This was the first book I had ever read with this sort of view on elves, and I liked it. I also liked the king – Aidan’s cousin – and the prince. They weren’t the stereotypical royals that you find in most books, they were wonderfully real and human.
Now for the bad (though there was very little of it). Aidan spent years in prison, tortured into silence and fear, and yet, when he got out of there, the mental and physical trauma from that lasted for about one chapter and then it was gone. It was almost pushed away and ignored – apart from his bad fingers – and Aidan was willing to trust total strangers right off the bat. I didn’t like that at all, it trivialized the entire experience and it was very important to the entire plot. And one would expect that years in such a place would affect everyone quite a lot – especially when they had just gotten out of there.
Other than that I find this to be a wonderful book and well worth the read!