The first thing out of my mouth upon finishing Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon was that I wanted my time back. Like Augustus decrying his lost legions, I wanted my hours back. I spent nearly 14 hours slogging through this neophytic behemoth. I was tired, cranky, and felt like I had been reading for literal eons.
This is not to say it is a bad book. The characters and world are interesting, but the plotting felt forced, and the pacing was erratic. Just because a character spends years in the root-works of a world tree, doesn’t mean that the reader needs to; and the book felt like much of time the reader was stuck in that woody abyss between places.
If you can get past its flaws, you have an interesting bit of fantasy about prophecy, forgotten kingdoms, and time travel. The characters are interesting, and they’re informed by the cultures from which they come. Good and bad are a matter of perspective, and what a character has been taught — as well as the prejudices of a people — informs that perspective. The book lacks polish; but the core is decent, and every writer starts somewhere. As the series progresses, the author’s writing strengthens.
If you want a time-hopping epic fantasy wherein you can see the writer progress leaps and bounds, I would suggest starting the Symphony of Ages series with this book. If you want a book that will last you a while, this book is for you. If you’re looking for something polished, or a quick read? Try something else.
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