Rhapsody: Child of Blood Mass Market Paperback – Jun 15 2000
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Rhapsody is high fantasy, descended from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings through Eddings's Belgariad and Malloreon series, complete with an elf-like people, cannibalistic giants, fire-born demons, and dragons. Inquiring fantasy readers will wonder whether it can live up to such distinguished predecessors. The answer is yes. Haydon's first fantasy is a palpable hit. The three protagonists are well-realized characters whose adventures are by turns hilarious, horrific, and breathtaking. Best of all, though elements are drawn from familiar sources ranging from Norse myth to Mozart's The Magic Flute, Haydon's magic worldbuilding is convincing, consistent, and interesting.
Rhapsody, a young woman trained as a Namer, can attune herself to the vibrations of all things, tap the power of true names, and rename people, changing their basic identities. Her magic lies in music: "Music is nothing more than the maps through the vibrations that make up all the world. If you have the right map, it will take you wherever you want to go," she tells her adoptive brothers. They are "the Brother," a professional assassin able to sense and track the heartbeats of all natives of the doomed Island of Seren, their homeland, and his giant sidekick Grunthor, a green-skinned Sergeant Major who enjoys making jokes, using edged weapons, and honing his cannibalistic palate. Inadvertently, Rhapsody has renamed the Brother Achmed the Snake, breaking his enslavement to Tsoltan the F'dor (a fire-born demon). Tsoltan sends minions in pursuit to rebind Achmed. The three escape into the roots of a World Tree, Sagia, emerging transformed into another country and century. But have they truly escaped the F'dor's evil? And how does all this relate to the prologue's story of Gwydion and Emily, two young lovers brought together across history and then separated by the mysterious Meridion?
Like most first volumes, Rhapsody contains a lot of background information and foreshadowing, though Haydon ties up numerous plot lines at the end. The dislocations in time can be confusing, and some readers may find that the very 1990s dialogue clashes with the epic storytelling of the descriptive passages. Overall, however, Rhapsody is a smashing debut that delivers hours of great reading and will have you impatient to read the rest of the series. --Nona Vero --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Distinguished by superior wit and intelligence, this fantasy debut opens what looks to be an outstanding saga. In the ancient city of Easton, Rhapsody is learning musical magic after a brief time as a courtesan. While running from trouble caused by one of her ex-clients, she encounters two strangers, the assassin Achmed and the gigantic mercenary Grunthor. By hailing Achmed as her brother, Rhapsody not only saves her own life but breaks the control that the sorcerer Tsoltan, a servant of the fire demons known as F'dor, had over the mercenary. The three companions flee both human and magical forces that pursue them by climbing down the root of the Great Tree; as they pass through the fire at the center of Earth, their situation is magically transformed. They emerge not just on the other side of the world but 14 centuries in the future, when the land is torn by ethnic, religious and magical warfare arising from a multitude of realistic motivesAall depicted in exhaustive detail. But their demonic pursuers have also crossed time and space in pursuit; to counter them, Achmed determines to become king of the barbaric Firbolg. This huge and complex novel draws expertly on deep scholarship in Celtic, Norse and animist folklore, myth and history. With exemplary skill, it weaves these elements into its characterizations, world building and depiction of magic to create a narrative that grips throughout. This is one of the finest high fantasy debuts in years. Agent, Richard Curtis. 100,000 first printing; major ad/promo.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Elizabeth Haydon has created a wonderful world where the good are truly good and the bad are really horrible. The characters in 'Rhapsody' are well-crafted although Rhapsody herself borders on the unbelievable side cos she is just too perfect. However, Achmed the Snake and Grunthor the jolly giant are characters you can't help but love; the former for his wit and skills, the latter for his jolly disposition and gigantic frame. Ashe, the enigmatic part-dragon also makes an appearance at the end of the book and I am looking forward to seeing more of him in the later books.
'Rhapsody' opens with the mysterious Meridion with his Time Editor machine which can (surprise surprise) manipulate time, in the process bringing together 2 children from different Time and parts of the world who discover their love for each other.Sam and Emily are later torn apart again (Why?) But do not think that it's the end of the story cos the scene then changes to that of Rhapsody, a former courtesan. The story continues with her meeting up with Achmed and Grunthor and thus beginning their epic journey which crosses Time.
The description of the book is exellent, but the changes in the Time may prove a bit confusing, making the reader often having to refer to previous pages.But overall, this is truly an amazing series judging by the first book. Haydon ties up soon loose ends here, letting us know how the prologue is related to the story, but still leaving us hanging, anticipating the continuation of the story. There is no doubt that Elizabeth Haydon can be compared to great authors like Tolkien and Robert Jordan.
1 star = abysmal; some books deserve to be forgotten
2 star = poor; a total waste of time
3 star = good; worth the effort
4 star = very good; what writing should be
5 star = fantastic; must own it and share it with others
STORY: As one reviewer nicely put it: 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.
1) SETTING - the world in which Haydon throws her characters is easily imaginable and full of wonderful details and surprises. She takes some "common" fantasy races and either renames them or creates half-breeds that provide interesting changes from the typical full-blood elves, dwarves and barbarians of standard D&D or Tolkien influenced stories.
2) CHARACTERS - As mentioned the characters are interesting partly because of their uniqueness of being mixed bloods. The motivations for the three main protagonists is revealed enough that you want to help the good guys along. The interaction between the three is consistent throughout. The only complaint I had, which I also saw in other reviews, is how Rhapsody can be the "most beautiful woman in the world" and not realize it and take advantage of it...especially considering her prior profession before she was hijacked by Achmed and Gunthor.
3) PLOT - Up to page 270 I couldn't wait to turn to the next page.Read more ›
If I wanted to read about absolutely perfect women who happen to be better at fighting than six and a half foot tall street thugs, able to use magic, and attract every single man living, then I would read this book. However, that is not what I wish to read about. Nearly every fight scene in this book ends in Rhapsody (the female heroin) smashing some man's testicles with a table or other blunt object. It's not cool.
Also, many events that occur in this novel are completely unrealistic. I don't mean the use of magic or mystical weapons or whatever, but i mean the character reactions and choices they make.
Anyway, I wouldn't recommend reading this book. It isn't exciting, it's hard to follow, and senseless.
I expected it to be at almost the same level as Jordan's WheelOfTime or Martin's SongOfIceAndFire (which are my -unreachable- top standard fantasy series). Unfortunately I was highly disappointed by Rhapsody.
The story is interesting, the book is enjoyable, but...
...some events are hardly credible or at least unlikely, some others just take a time too short to happen (I'm thinking of Achmed ascent among the Firbolg), or use superficial solutions.
Some situations are worked out in simplistic ways with deus ex machina stratagems.
Rhapsody is an absolutely unlikely character, not because of her magical characteristics (I like them very much), but because of her nature. She is TOO beautiful, TOO kind, TOO (impossibly) unaware of the fact that every man who gets a look at her is struck by lust and passion, TOO naive and innocent: wasn't she a prostitute before escaping from the Lost Island? How can she rouse EVERY man interest without being aware of it? I would find it acceptable if she attracted men unwillingly but at least consciously! A woman so intelligent and persipacious cannot possibly be so ignorant of her effect on men, especially since it has been happening tens of times!
She is the personification of every feminine quality: strong but kind, sensual but innocent, stubborn but gracefully feminine... She is TOO perfect, maybe it' s just envy (!!!) but I don't like her!
I think I'll buy the next books of the series, because at the moment there isn't a satisfying offer of good fantasy, so I suppose you too can buy them, but if you haven't read Jordan and Martin yet, I suggest to choose them instead.
Most recent customer reviews
LOVE this book! This isn't my first time reading it but I just had to read it again.Published 7 months ago by Leanne Nicholson
If you love strong female characters, imaginative new lands, fantastic story telling. You will love this book! Read morePublished on Dec 8 2010 by rooster
I found this book very interesting and hard to put down. Haydon does an awesome job with her characters.Published on March 14 2005
From the blurb on the back of this book, i thought, ahh, this sounds promising. But unfortunately, half way through i thought, why bother? Read morePublished on July 6 2004 by Suzanne
I love fantasy, and I'm currently reading like 5 fantasy books. Someone recomended Rhapsody to me, and I reluctantly bought it. Read morePublished on June 30 2004 by Raychael
I first bought this book with no knowledge of how much acclaim it has gotten. One thing that interests me is how Haydon utilizes the skills of a bard. Read morePublished on June 19 2004 by Angel
At first I was drawn away from this book, simply because the back of the book made it sound completely cheesy. Read morePublished on May 31 2004 by Jessica G.