Author: Elizabeth Haydon
Series: Symphony of Ages #1
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.
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: