Author: Elizabeth Haydon
Title: Rhapsody, Prophecy, and Destiny
Series: Symphony of Ages
Genre: High Fantasy
Rating: Four Petals
On the Author's Website: Haydon does not have a website
Summary of the first book in the trilogy, Rhapsody:
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.
There are a few things that I have to explain before I get into the actual review. First, I rounded up my rating from three and a half petals to four. The series is good, but it has its flaws, and according to my rating system that means it should only get three petals. Yet, I enjoy reading and rereading the trilogy so much I couldn't help wanting to give it a higher rating anyway.
Also, I am only reviewing the Rhapsody Trilogy rather than the entire Symphony of Ages. The Trilogy has a contained plot that makes it a stand alone series in its own right. There is more about why I'm not reviewing the entire series below.
On my my review!
The best part of the Rhapsody Trilogy is the world Haydon has created. It's magical in nature with every aspect of it having been touched by special powers in its own way. For example, when the old world is destroyed, every person who crossed the meridian of the planet to find a new world was given some small measure of power. How their budding powers as they explore the new world effect their perceptions and actions is brilliantly crafted. Even the dragons, who are inherently magical in every way, are touched by new magic and watching their growth as people in the new world is remarkable.
I also really enjoyed the characters. Each person in the book has a unique voice. How a person says things is just as important to the narrative as why, which is an effect few authors are ever able to master. Some characters are more likable than others, but Haydon makes this seem like part of the greater design of the book. One of the most unlikable characters, a bratty teenager named Jo, still made me smile on occasion and even cry once--although I won't say more so I don't spoil it.
As I said before, this book does have its flaws. There is a lot of info-dumping. It's necessary in terms of teaching the new world to Rhapsody (and therefore the readers), who must learn everything about her new home very quickly. However, it causes a lot of drag. There are pages that I skip entirely when I reread the book just to avoid it.
Another issue with the book is the romance. Haydon created a star crossed lovers romance, where attraction was instantaneous. The characters actually falling in love was never delved into, rather it was implied that love blossomed immediately upon their first meeting. Haydon also added a love triangle at every moment she could--most likely to add more drama to the series--but it quickly became tedious.
The very worst part of the trilogy and the reason I will not read any further in the series, comes at the end. There's no denying that the end of the trilogy is as well crafted as the rest, but I got the feeling that Haydon dotted her last I and crossed her last T, and then realized that with the trilogy complete she had nothing else to write. It feels like she then went back into the ending and inserted a rushed scene in order to create an opening to write a fourth book. It's the only place in the entire trilogy where there's any indication that the story might continue and it ruins the flow and the completeness of the ending.
Maggie's Final Recommendation:
The Rhapsody Trilogy is definitely worth reading and I do recommend it. It is well written for the most part, but it does have flaws that cause it to drag at times. I particularly disliked the lone scene at the end of the series that Haydon inserted in order to force a book four, which is why I will not be continuing with the rest of The Symphony of Ages.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.