It is quite a shame that few people know of Elizabeth Haydon. She has a great talent for creating engaging characters, beautiful imagery and deep lore that captures the reader in a unique world of magic and conflict. Rhapsody: Child of Blood draws the reader into just such a world as it tells the tale of a trio and their adventures across both time and space.
Threads of time
Rhapsody begins rather unusually, with the tale of a young man transported back through time to a world long since swallowed by the sea. It is in this mysterious, doomed land that Gwydion meets the beautiful and entrancing half Lirin girl, Emily. Just as the two become lovers, gathered from opposites sides of space and time to fall in love with one another, Gwydion is torn from that timeline and placed back in his own. It is a poignantly tragic turn of events for two characters, who are only permitted a short span of happiness (lasting no more than one chapter). Once they have been parted, the story jumps to another setting, with other characters and the reader is left constantly curious about why that vignette was included.
Three characters find themselves thrown together by fate, running from the demons of their past into a world of unknown possibilities: the Brother, a dread assassin with the unique ability to feel the pulse of blood within the veins of his victims and uses it to hunt them to the ends of the earth; Grunthor, a monstrous Firbolg warrior, fierce and gruff with a back bristling with dozens of weapons collected over a long sordid career; and Rhapsody, a Liringlas Signer of extraordinary skill and beauty with a past coming back to haunt her.
Land steeped in lore
Within the pages of this novel, the term “lore” is loosely used to describe not only the historical oral traditions of the people, but also the very essence of magic that infuses the myriad races of this world. Most authors either have a magic system with clear and rigid rules or a vague, inexplicable style of magic. Rhapsody flirts the line between these two magic styles with a creative beauty rarely seen.
Scope and scale
My main concern with Rhapsody is that there is a disconnect between the scope of the world and the scale. By scope, I mean the vastness as implied by various elements of the novel (population figures, the world map, etc.). By scale, I mean the relative distances involved in travel through the world. The world is described as being very large in scope, but the characters are able to travel across half a continent in a week. It is a concern that shows a lack of planning in the development of the novel.
Why you should read this book
If you’re looking for something new and interesting, Rhapsody is something you should pick up. It serves as the opening chapter in a longer series (five books now) and captures the reader with its unique characters and vivid lore. I highly recommend this book, but I do caution against younger readers picking this book up as there are some vivid scenes that are not appropriate for younger audiences (both violence and sexual content).
|Chris is a 21 year old education major finishing off his degree in secondary science education. Chris, like many children, saw reading as a chore for many years. However, after much prompting, cajoling and threatening from a close relative, Chris started reading the Belgariad series by David Eddings and fell in love with the fantasy genre. What little free time Chris has, he uses to spend time with his fiancé, play the occasional video game or enjoy the outdoors.|
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