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Book Review: Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon

RhapsodyTitle: Rhapsody

Author: Elizabeth Haydon

Series: Symphony of Ages #1

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: Rhapsody is a woman, a Singer of some talent, who is swept up into events of world-shattering import. On the run from an old romantic interest who won’t take no for an answer, Rhapsody literally bumps into a couple of shady characters: half-breeds who come to her rescue in the nick of time. Only the rescue turns into an abduction, and Rhapsody soon finds herself dragged along on an epic voyage, one that spans centuries and ranges across a wonder-filled fantasy world– a world so real you can hear the sweet music of Rhapsody’s aubade and smell the smoldering forges deep within the Cauldron.

Rhapsody 2

The Review:

Finishing Rhapsody was my first step towards rereading this epic series by Elizabeth Haydon. The fact that I’m doing a reread at all should say something about how much I liked this series, espeically considering how many unread ones I still have on my shelves (I don’t usually pick up books I’ve already read more than once or twice a year… unless it’s an audio). I had three motivations behind the reread: I really enjoyed it the first time around (about ten years ago), I caught wind that the author is finally back to writing the series and wanted to get ready for the next release, and I felt compelled to figure out why I seldom recommended it even though I really liked it.

And what’s not to like? This book is the gateway into an epic world filled with unique cultures and histories unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It lets us explore the world through the eyes of several brilliant, vibrant characters who are incredibly likable and memorable despite their flaws. My favorite character, Achmed isn’t even human, but it’s his personality and interactions with the main heroine, Rhapsody, makes him the most entertaining and endearing in my eyes (he doesn’t even like her much, haha). Achmed, along with most of the characters, are so rounded that you don’t even scratch the surface of the mysteries surrounding them in this first book. Learning more about them was my main motivation to keep reading this series, and I have to say it didn’t disappoint!

So, why don’t I recommend this book even though I’ve just sung its praises? Because the first hundred pages (excluding the prologue) are among the most confusing and boring-assed of any that I’ve ever read. If not for a single thread of hope and interests in what was to come, I’m not sure I would’ve made it through the first time (much less the second). I just can’t bring myself to suggest it’s to people because a 100 page courtesy is too much to ask of a reader trying to find their next engaging book. It’s a shame too, because this really is one of the most memorable, unique fantasies I’ve ever read and would love to share the story as a whole with more people.

Overall, if you have the motivation (and time) to suffer a long winded book (and series) for an epic payoff, then you could possibly get the same enjoyment out of it as I have. Otherwise, perhaps stick to the great fantasy novels that provide a more, shall we say immediate gratification.

Recommended Reading: For brave fantasy readers who aren’t scared of long-winded authors. Also for those who don’t mind sex, violence, and language, as there’s a fair bit of all three.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

10 comments on “Book Review: Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon

  1. Sometimes, it takes a book a while to warm up. I actually picked this book up many years ago. I read most of the prologue, but stopped there, not because it wasn’t engaging but because I got really busy. The godlike being using the time editor at the beginning of the story was one of the most unique scenes I’ve ever read in a book. I’ll probably come back to this one, when I don’t have so many other books queued up.

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    • The time editor was cool, wasn’t he? the elements I liked about that scene carry strongly throughout the series so if you can make it through the first hundred pages you are in for an awesome ride!

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  2. Interesting review Niki. I have so many series I would love to reread and definitely want to reread to post a review on my blog! One is Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series. It’s getting through the review requests and personal increasing tbr mountain at the same time. I really like the sound of Achmed!

    Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

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    • Ooooh!The Weather Warden is a great choice – I am only to book four but I love the feel of those novels! It’s so difficult finding time to go back and reread great series. The second book took me two whole weeks setting me back at least four reviews… Though I have to say it was kind of worth it because it was 100% self-indulgent. I sometimes get around that by listening to the rereads on audio (through audible.com). I like it mostly because it allows me to enjoy a book while driving ha ha :-)

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    • Thank you! If you do decide to read it, I hope you enjoy it! Although I will say there are many other fantasies that are a lot more accessible if you don’t read the genre very often. :-)

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  3. This is one of those fantasy series that I’ve looked at in the bookstore a million times and never tried. I was always kinda intrigued by the music angle… nice review, maybe I’ll finally take the plunge on this one.

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    • The music is actually one of the most intriguing parts of this series. It plays a critical role in the story, setting a great “tone” for the book, if that makes sense. I’d love to know what you think if you finally do pick it up. :-)

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  4. I found the first 100 pages not to be as long winded the second time I read this book. Which I found strange. I guess since I knew there was an end to the century in the roots if went quicker. Plus I knew a lot more about Achmed and the enemy they were fleeing that I appreciated that section a lot more. That being said, Rhapsody and Ash annoy me a whole lot more on this second read than they did originally: and they annoyed me the first time through too. Rhapsody is just… too perfect. The fact that she thinks she must be ugly is beyond annoying as well. Still, it’s nice to have a fantasy epic with a female protagonist that is badass while still being female… instead of a male character described as having a female body (which usually happens more in scifi but that’s beside the point…) I need to figure out where I hid the other books in this series so I can get back to reading them. Especially since Game of Thrones is frustrating the living hell out of me.

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    • I think I might have just kind of glazed over the first hundred pages the first time around because I truly didn’t remember how long-winded it was. I guess it was easier the second time around because I actually understood what was going on. Rhapsody didn’t really start annoying me until the second book, but I also liked that she was at least a truly feminine character – I get a little tired of reading about male-like female leads. I was planning on rereading the whole series to refresh my memory for the new one coming out next year but I think I’ll probably just skip to the last couple.

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