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review 2017-03-01 18:00
Book Review: The Floating Island by Elizabeth Haydon
The Floating Island - Elizabeth Haydon,Brett Helquist

This book is just downright fun. I picked it up because Elizabeth Haydon writes an AMAZING adult fantasy series (Symphony of Ages, if you want to look into that), and I wanted to see how her middle grade stands up against that. The answer I found: The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme might actually be better than Symphony of Ages.

 

The Floating Island centers around a 50-year-old “Nain” (literally french for dwarf — very cool wordplay there) named Ven, who is just reaching his majority by his race’s standards. He is the son of a shipmaker and when he goes to inspect his father’s newest ship, he embarks on what seems to be a never-ending adventure full of twists, surprises, and magic. This feels like an old-fashioned, true adventure story to me, and it’s something I would have DEVOURED when I was twelve — mermaids, dwarves, pirates, kings, intrigue, revenants, magic — this book has everything I love about fantasy, and more. Even as an adult, I enjoyed it immensely. It’s well done in that it’s framed as a “true” story and these journals of Ven were recently discovered and gathered and published by the author. The narrative itself is interesting in that it switches between straight-up journal entries told from Ven’s perspective and regular narration. This definitely allowed the story to strike a balance between being fast-paced while also remaining true to the journal idea. The illustrations by Brett Helquist are great and add a lot to the story in terms of being able to imagine everything and giving credence to the journal idea.

 

My favorite part is how this story focuses on what it means to have a home, what friendship/family truly means, and how our lives are bettered by being surrounded by kind people. This is very much a coming of age story, and Ven is able to find his bravery in order to save his friends and stand up for what he thinks is right. He learns how to find out the truth and speak for himself, instead of just going along with whatever people tell him. It’s a great lesson for kids, especially as they find themselves growing up and also trying to figure out how to make their own decisions and be their own person. (And probably could help adults like myself be reminded of the important things in life.)

 

I can’t recommend this enough, I loved every second of reading this book and am very much looking forward to the sequel.

Source: www.purplereaders.com/?p=3495
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photo 2016-08-10 07:10
Rhapsody: Child of Blood - Elizabeth Haydon
Prophecy: Child of Earth - Elizabeth Haydon
Destiny: Child of the Sky - Elizabeth Haydon
Rhapsody by Kristy M (Book Frivolity)

The Meaningless Moniker 'Mary Sue'

 

Firstly, I want to say how much I loved the first trilogy in The Symphony of Ages. Five big ole stars. As much as I am enjoying the new wave of fantasy, The Symphony of Ages’ grand sweeping world building, mystery/romance story line, and amazing travelogue, is exactly where my heart feels at home. The installments are long, meticulously detailed, with an amazing push/pull plot that makes you frown in frustration, then cheer out loud, then weep in sorrow, and then cry for the beauty of it. I will absolutely be acquiring the rest of the series as soon as I can afford to!

 

Now, I want to rant. Not about the books; the books have given me more pleasure than I rightly deserve probably. I’ve been bottling these frustrations up for a while, this annoyance has got my bloody goat way too often recently. This series has given me a prime opportunity to let it out, as it's a prime example of where this annoyance crops up. So here’s the deal, I don’t want to rant to people who are just going to moan that I am ranting about feminist issues. So I’m going to stick it in spoilers, and if you don’t want to deal, don’t open it. I have things I really want to say, but I really don’t want the damned backlash. If it’s not for you, please, don’t read it. If it is.. Read on… :)

 

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review 2015-06-01 00:00
Rhapsody: Child of Blood
Rhapsody: Child of Blood - Elizabeth Haydon I have read the works of Tolkien, Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin, Terry Goodkind and many others. I am no stranger to an epic fantasy. Rhapsody is the first book in the Symphony of Ages series, the series which will always hold a special place in my heart and on my book shelf, at the top, right beside the Lord of the Rings and the Wheel of Time series. They are my personal favorites, which no one is allowed to touch let alone borrow. I will buy you your own copies before I let my beautiful hardcovers leave my sight, that is how much I adore these books.

I have read Rhapsody multiple times through the years to the point that my copy is falling apart and will have to be replaced soon. I truly wish more people would read and fall in love with this series the way that I have.

Rhapsody has lived a difficult life, she left home very young and ended up on the streets living as a prostitute. She becomes a singer/namer of great talent. By knowing the true name of someone or some thing she is able to change, heal or even return it to it’s original state. Using musical lore and being in tune with vibrational frequencies instead of casting spells made this fantasy unique. The lack of magic and Rhapsody’s talent or powers being based more on a somewhat scientific level was actually very refreshing and interesting to me.

When Rhapsody is being pursued by an old customer of hers from her days as a prostitute, she literally runs smack into an assassin and a giant Bolg. She uses them to her advantage and inadvertently changes the name of the assassin releasing him from his bonds to an evil entity. The three are swept into an epic adventure involving elemental weapons, wars, prophesies, dragons, immortality, a journey through the center of the earth, love, lust, hope, heartbreak, time travel and so much more.

Rhapsody is a character some might label a Mary Sue because she is too perfect, too beautiful, too powerful, too good at everything. Well, I agree. She is perfect. Physically she is flawless. After having walked through the fires at the center of the earth, all of Rhapsody’s physical flaws, scars, impurities are cleansed and she is left absolutely stunning.

Men fall at her feet, profess their undying love and adulation to her, it’s almost comical. What I love about her, is that she is completely unaware of her beauty. She’s humble, she’s kind, she’s loyal even when the person doesn’t deserve her loyalty but she is also flawed in many ways. I love how she irritates Achmed to no end with her stubbornness, obliviousness, and obsession with adopting children. Sometimes I wanted to knock some sense into her head. Wake up girl! Yet I adore her. I can’t help it. She will always be one of my favorite characters.

Achmed the assassin is such an amazing character. He’s half Dracian half Bolg. He is one, less than handsome, dude with a sandy voice, ill temper, sarcastic attitude, and yet still completely lovable. You can’t dislike Achmed.

Grunthor is one enormous, furry, scary, lovable Bolg! He makes these books. I love everything from his accent to his big heart and the raunchy battle cadences he is always singing. They are hilarious. I rate Grunthor most lovable character in the entire series.

I started reading this series back in 2000. The Assassin King, the 6th book in the series came out in 2006. Nine years later the author has reappeared and begun to publish the final books in this series. I am so excited and scared and sad to finally be coming to the end of this amazing journey.

-SW
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review 2013-08-21 00:00
Rhapsody: Child of Blood - Elizabeth Haydon

This book must be one of those books that since it's part of a series people seem to forget how bad the first book is. It's like childbirth, you love your kid so much you don't remember how horrible birthing it was. I was so confused through most of the book. If I hadn't peeked at some reviews with spoilers I would have quit reading. Well, if my brother hadn't said over and over how good this series is I would have quit reading. I actually had to stop several times and re-read parts of the beginning of the book trying to understand who is who. So let me help you out...

Cymrian- The boy who calls himself Sam, grandson of Anwyn the half-dragon daughter, lord Steven's son is named after him, known later as Ashe

Gwylliam- The king that predicted the disaster and made everyone leave Serendair, husband to Anwyn

Achmed- Named Achmed the Snake by Rhapsody, previously known as The Brother

Rhapsody- Emily, Cymrian's soul mate who he traveled through time to meet... I don't know why the heck the author wanted to make us wait to find out who she was, I was so aggrivated trying to figure out why the little part at the beginning happened that I ended up having to read reviews to find out who she was. If it wasn't for knowing that I would have quit reading.

Since the book started with their story I thought that it was about Emily and Cymrian. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if I hadn't been waiting for them to reunite. Other than that I liked Grunthor the most of all the characters. Achmed is cool too. Jo doesn't seem to have a real place in the book other than to show how lonely and overbearing Rhapsody is.

I'm assuming that the next book will be great, that now that most everything makes sense and the storyline is solid it will be awesome. As I said, I'm sure people look back at the series as a whole and love it. I just wish it wouldn't have given me such a headache in the first place.

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review 2012-07-14 00:00
The Floating Island - Elizabeth Haydon,Brett Helquist Boring and not worth the time. Bland characters. Not a great plot. I just didn't care about what happened. At all. Ven is a shipmaker's son and a Nain, so even though he is 50 years old he appears to be 13 or there abouts. He is on a ship when it is attacked by pirates. Ship sinks. Ven survives. He is saved by a merrow. Honestly, I would have preferred him kissing her, her dragging him down to the depths of the ocean and them living happily ever after. Alas that is not the way it went at all. Ven is taken aboard another ship and gets dropped off at a port when ghosts, magical boxes, and such come into play. Murphy, the snide talking cat, was my favorite character and he was barely in it.
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