I’ve had this one in my audible library for a long while. It was recommended to me by someone on reddit with the caveat that you should absolutely not let its cover deter you from reading it, and I ended up finding it on audible for a not-ridiculous amount of money (thanks whispersync!) and couldn’t resist.
Seyonne is a man waiting to die. He has been a slave for sixteen years, almost half his life, and has lost everything of meaning to him: his dignity, the people and homeland he loves, and the Warden’s power he used to defend an unsuspecting world from the ravages of demons. Seyonne has made peace with his fate. With strict self-discipline he forces himself to exist only in the present moment and to avoid the pain of hope or caring about anyone. But from the moment he is sold to the arrogant, careless Prince Aleksander, the heir to the Derzhi Empire, Seyonne’s uneasy peace begins to crumble. And when he discovers a demon lurking in the Derzhi court, he must find hope and strength in a most unlikely place…
“So what is this feadnach? Is it another curse that makes me beholden to slaves and shrews?”
“No, my lord. It is your heart. Difficult as it may be to comprehend, there is a possibility you may have one.”
This was an interesting and quite amazing listen. Seyonne is a slave, recently purchased by the prince of the Derzhi. He is of a race that was pretty much overthrown sixteen years previously and he has been a slave ever since, but he was once a Warden, known for their ability to fight demons. He finds that there is a demon hiding in the court of Prince Aleksander, and when the prince himself starts suffering from maladies that demons are known to cause, Seyonne takes a risk to himself and tells the prince what’s happening. Then he finds out that the prince has within him, something special. Something he’s sworn to protect. And they become… friends, of a sort.
I really liked this one. I don’t think I was expecting to latch onto it quite as easily as I did. Most audiobooks take at least an hour to get into, but this one caught my attention right from the beginning. I ordered the following two audiobooks in the series before I was even halfway through this one.
We get the story from Seyonne’s point of view, which is often heart wrenching, especially at first, because the Derzhi are not at all nice to their slaves. He is routinely beaten and half-starved and so on. It was a really interesting view to see this story unfold though, and I really enjoyed it. It was well written, and the story unfolds in an interesting way. There’s not a great deal of action in the beginning, but the story gets where it is going. It gets there quite well! There are quite a few transformations in this book, so it has quite an appropriate title.
The narrator, Kevin Stillwell did a great job. I like the sound of his voice, and so I think he gave Seyonne a good voice for his story. There were accents peppered throughout, and he did them well, but there are little things here that make this one special. For instance, when Seyonne is reading Aleksander a letter, the cadence that he gives him sounds like a student reciting something from a book. Little things like that really immersed me in this book.
I really loved it. I can’t wait to find out what happens. We’ll see what I make while listening to the rest of the series.