Series: Symphony of Ages #9
Publisher: Tor Books (June 21, 2016)
Length: 352 pages
My Rating: 3 stars
The Weaver’s Lament is the ninth and final book in Elizabeth Haydon’s The Symphony of Ages series. Never having read any of the prior novels, I concede this book was probably not the best place for me to start my journey with these characters, but all in all, I found this finale an entertaining fantasy which I was able to fully enjoy. Ms. Haydon doing a wonderful job highlighting the important events of the past, making it easy for old fans or new readers to slide into this epic saga and understand why events are transpiring as they are and why, in the scope of the series as a whole, they are important.
From line one of the story, it becomes apparent that the “Three” are the focus of this tale. Rhapsody, Achmed, and Grunthor reuniting after significant time apart. Naturally, their reunion causes them to reflect on the past: the good and bad times, the successes and failures, and how a thousand years of peace since the War of the Known World has changed them. Achmed, in particular, muses that Grunthor has aged the most of their trio while Rhapsody has remained virtually untouched by time, though her joy for life is nothing like it once was; a fact which is not pleasing to Achmed at all. Of course, what makes Achmed’s thoughts important is how it highlights his continued desire for Rhapsody even after a thousand years, his disdain for her husband, Ashe, the Lord Cymarian, and the real reason he refuses to attend a “family reunion” Rhapsody has planned. (The family reunion is for the children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and so forth which Rhapsody and Ashe have accumulated during their prodigious life span.)
Even without her two, oldest friends in attendance however, Rhapsody’s family get together goes forward. But, underneath the tranquility, all is not blissful, because Ashe is finally feeling his age. Yes, the dragon blood coursing through his veins has kept him seemingly ageless, but inside he feels the decrepitness of age enveloping him; more and more effort required to hold back the dragon. This has caused Ashe to desire to shed his mortal shell, ascend to the elemental plane as a dragon like his father before him, and leave his family behind. All that is holding him back Rhapsody’s refusal to let him go and her desire to conceive yet another child. The two at an impasse, which they generally agree to disagree about.
Just when events seem to foreshadow Lament turning into an emotional but rather bland farewell tour, an unexpected and tragic event occurs, which throws things into a downward spiral of chaos. The death of a beloved character the catalyst for the sudden shift in tone. An unfortunate misunderstanding destroying the thousand year peace. Rhapsody, Ashe, Achmed, and Grunthor all playing huge roles in the global drama. The fairy tale ending of our heroes journey seemingly derailed and ruined, begging the question “Why? Why? Why?” as the final half of the book is devoured to its final conclusion.
The best quality of The Weaver’ Lament for me personally was the camaraderie between the Three and the depth of their history together. Rhapsody, Achmed, and Gruntor acting exactly like old friends reunited; their bond of friendship so tight no amount of time — whether it be ten years or a thousand years — capable of severing it. The casual, easy way they slide into age old roles proof of their love for and comfort with one another, no matter their new exalted social positions. And while I (a first time reader) did not know their full history, I still found their bond compelling, convincing, and worthy of this, a final farewell.
The love story between Rhpasody and Ashe was also very well done, I thought. A couple who has been together for a thousand years, raised a family together, braved dangers, fought wars, shepherded new nations, and seen the world around them transform from what they knew can’t remain the same: time changes everything, but these two accept that, desperately seek to remember and celebrate the past which brought them together, and hold on to one another. Of course, they still have problems. They still have rifts they chose not to discuss. (Achmed’s desire for Rhapsody to name one.) They do not always agree. But they attempt to keep their love alive — even when tragedy envelopes them.
And it is actually the bitter tragedies which occur here that I found least compelling. Not wishing to spoil the surprises in Lament, I will refrain from discussing exactly what events I’m referring to, but just know that they felt forced and more than a little convenient. Sure, they were completely plausible, but they did not work for me. Perhaps, constant readers of the series might view them differently, but for my uninitiated eyes, I felt they ruined the organic flow of events, merely giving the author an opportunity to close out plot threads which seemed to have been left dangling the whole series.
A wonderfully entertaining and richly textured novel– truly epic in every aspect — The Weaver’s Lament deftly evokes deep emotions in old and new readers alike. Elizabeth Haydon turning the finale of her Rhapsody saga into a mesmerizing affair, which is both an amazingly entertaining introduction to these character as well as a fitting farewell to them.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.
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