July 4th, 2004, 11:18 PM
July BOTM: Rhapsody
I just finished reading this book. It was not a book I would have chosen on my own, but it was not bad. I liked the writing and the voice of the author. I will say that she was much too wordy, but perhaps that was a newbie thing.
I liked the characters and the story, though I thought it got a bit convoluted and there was too much backstory and sidestory. It seemed EH was using a lot of Welsh stuff for her world. Her characters seemed a bit plastic, and everything seemed to 'work out' for the Firbolg (who I think are part of the Irish faries ?) but It still managed to hook me into finishing it. I almost gave up when they were stuck in the tree.
I thought the outside editor (gods ?) was an interesting touch, but perhaps too much for the story, as was the missing boyfriend.
I am not sure I will read the rest of the series though. I liked the first book, but I already have so much of my own to read and the next 2 books in the series don't look any smaller. I am also sure that there will be a happy ending.
July 5th, 2004, 05:55 AM
IIRC Haydon has also written romance stories under another name and I thought that there was an underlying Mills & Boon theme in the book. Overall I enjoyed the story with the only critism being Rhapsody's beauty. I found it so hard to believe that she would consider herself replusive.
Haydon is currently writing book 5 set in the Rhapsody world.
July 5th, 2004, 11:55 AM
I have actually got most of the books in this series so far I remember this first book was a little confusing for me. The story began in one era, and one world and then switched to another without being very clear that had happened.
However, the relationship between the three characters was developed I thought this book turned into a pretty good read. I thought Haydon used magic in an orginal way too with interesting new creatures, which makes a change. My favourite character had to be Achmed
July 6th, 2004, 02:56 PM
Though I did enjoy the novel, I thought that she needed to get on with it. There are some passages, the most glaring going through the roots of the Tree, were a bit too long and tedious. Also, her main character, Raphsody, was a bit on the "too perfect" side for my tastes.
July 7th, 2004, 11:31 AM
\m/ BEER \m/
I read this when it first came out and enjoyed it at the time, at least enough to pick up the subsequent 2 volumes in hardcover.
A fairly entertaining story, but I remember being quite annoyed with the naivete of the main character, especially with the repetitive self-doubt.
July 7th, 2004, 07:16 PM
I agree the main character was a tad too perfect. I also thought her belief that she was ugly and scarry looking was just plain silly.
The thing I had the most trouble with was her 'fear' of being under the earth. No matter how frightened you are, or how un-natural it seems after 1400 plus years you would lose that feeling. People just can't stay at that high an emotional pitch forever, they burn out. She might have become apathetic and curled up to die, but she would have been a different personality after being in that situation that long.
I of course also don't think the 3 of them could have gone 14oo years without bathing.
July 9th, 2004, 06:34 AM
Leisure time optimizer
Well, it took a while for me to wade through this one. But only during the first half of it. Most of us agree on the Root part, ha?
What I liked is her world and the history. Her scenery. I even found the Root travelling a good picture, but somehow she was not able to make me enjoy it and it felt sooooo long.
So, the whole history telling was interesting to me, it painted a colorfull background.
Another thing I enjoyed was the friendship and how those three set out to make a kingdom of their own. I really found that fascinating. (Kind of OT: A group of three people with different talents and quirks works very well, as I learned doing a lot of RPG over the years. It is an interesting set up.)
On the other hand I sometimes thought she was not necessarily wordy, but rather that she repeated things too often. Telling me a description or statement or a background detail twice is not necessary and I then feel either annoyed or confused because I wonder if I was wrong thinking that was already clear - just like in school, when another kid asked the teacher something that he just had explained in totally clear words. It depends on my mood how I react.
I am not so sure about the Emily/Sam story. It was rather clear soon what it was about and somehow I think this is interesting. But I did not make up my mind yet, if I think Haydon did it well.
And then there is Rhapsody. Somehow I don't think her as being 'too perfect' (or only a 'tad too perfect') - in fact the comments about that confuse me a bit. Maybe someone can explain that? I mean, yes, she is extremely beautiful and charismatic and she doesn't realize it. Perfect beauty without arrogance. But where is the rest of 'perfect'? She does not realize it, which is rather naive - some could even be harsher and say she was a bit dumb.
And she feels obligated to help every child that she sees (sometimes I had the feeling, she would adopt them whether they needed help or not, pulling the screaming and thrashing kids with her into her lair of love and family). This irritated me time and again, yet it was rooted in her backstory. Her nightmares and some part of her history made up for her trying to do good at every corner. It is like she is doing good, trying to do everything right because she is trying to fill that whole inside her soul, left by her family and by her love. She gives love and help and yet it does not make her happy or really satisfied, she still has bad dreams and cries when night leaves her alone in the dark.
Maybe that is even a reason why she does not realize how and why people react to her that way.
So, maybe her doings are a bit too smooth on the outside again and again. But does every interesting hero need some bad attitude?
I think it is not unrealistic to have a person striving only for 'the good' - being torn up inside. If at least the writer makes you see the inside and the struggle.
It is not as if she is my absolute favourite character ever, far from it. But I just don't see her as perfect, just that she can be interesting. Which will make me buy the other two books and read on at some point. *shrug* This could also be a bad idea, maybe Rhapsody goes on to be a real annoyance later on. But I will see.
Wasn't there something else I wanted to write?
Oh yes, that dragon thing at the end? That was kind of lame. It felt like a filler to give her a reason to set off with her 'lover' but did not really convince me. Anyone else having thoughts on that?
Finally I am coming to an end. Phew. Just wanted to say, I rate this book with 3 out of 5 points, which makes it a nice read.
July 9th, 2004, 10:54 PM
I just remembered there was something else in the book that bothered me, and that was that anti-social Snake all of a sudden developed this desire to be king and rule over the Firbolg.
It just seemed to come out of nowhere and I found it odd and hard to accept. In fact several times I wondered if it was a set up, where the evil wizard had somehow been able to possess him. He also suddenly became this force for 'good'. He wanted to uplift them and make them better and stronger and safer - not just rule them so he could feed his ego. I suppose as an ending for the character it does make sense given his past, but he seemed to go from anti-social outcast to the Mother Teresa of Tough Love almost overnight.
July 10th, 2004, 04:54 AM
Leisure time optimizer
FicusFan, I agree. This sudden King Thing surprised me as well, it was not backed up enough. But then the way they realized their plans softened me so that I almost forgot about my frowning.
Oh, and something else: a few days ago I read a bad review on the German translation of the book. Oi man, the reviewer quoted some sentences to show how bad the language is (which was a major gripe for him/her with the novel).
And I can tell you, that was indeed awful! It reminded me why I prefer reading the originals. Don't get me wrong, German translations can be great. Yet sometimes in the fantasy genre . . . *shudder*
July 10th, 2004, 06:31 AM
Slave to fate and fortune
I found Rhapsody to be one of those books which I enjoyed despite my better judgement. As many people have said Rhapsody herself tended too close to the saintly. Having just finished a lit. fic. (a label I try to avoid using btw) about a virtuous young woman forced by circumstance into prostitution, I felt that this grittier dynamic of the story was sadly underdeveloped by Haydon, since it is one of the few characteristics which gave the epynomous heroine any pathoes at all - in later titles this aspect is all but totally expunged. As to the other characters - Grunthor is a stereotype (ugly monster/heart of gold); Jo is too irritating (and has a rubbish name). Only Achmed and Ashe hold any real interest for me. All of the heroes though suffer from the flaw of being all but invicible in battle, the book is so clearly directed to an inevitable happy ever after ending that there really is no suspense. The bitter sweet aspect of the heroes having lost their own world is under played, because that world is inadequately developed.
Mills and Boon -esque or not I did enjoy the love story though, not least because it was one of the few parts of the plot with which Haydon was willing to generate any dramatic tension. The story also benefitted from a healthy dose of classic mythology - the idea of tree roots connecting points in the world is common to many different cultures. Mythic swords and ancient prophesies defined the character of this tale. Good, solid fantasy fiction. Viewed in that light I thoroughly enjoyed Rhapsody. The difficulty it is that it is a book which aspired to so much more.
July 12th, 2004, 04:57 AM
I was superised when I read this book for the first time and I really liked Ashe - his character intrigues me.
I like the way it wasn't 'conventional' fantasy and was a little darker though some of the characters really grate on my nerves but apart from that - I really liked it.
July 13th, 2004, 08:48 AM
Slave to fate and fortune
You thought Rhapsody was dark? What books would you call light?
July 23rd, 2004, 02:52 PM
i think its funny that a few people thought Rhapsody was too perfect.... she's an ex-prostitute!
ficus... maybe i read it wrong... but i don't think the characters actually experienced all 1400 years in the root, did they? i thought it took them a handful year, but that time inside the root was somehow moving slower than time on the surface. funny, though... i had the exact same thought: MAN they must stink!
July 23rd, 2004, 07:52 PM
I felt it took 1400 years to read the 'crossing of the root', the least the characters could do is endure it (and stink) too
There was at least one paragraph when they were walking toward the fire before entering it, and it said it took them a year - and that was just one paragraph. The tree trek was pages, and pages, and pages.....
It seemed to me that they kept talking about how long it was taking and how big everything was and how long it took to make any progress. They also could hear the sounds of destruction from above the earth, so they must have been in touch with the real timeline at some point.
So my reading of it was they were gone for that long and because of the magic of the tree root that they ate, they didn't age and it repaired them. But it could just be inference on my part, and the fact that they didn't die of dirtyness means they weren't really living through the 1400 years minute by minute.
July 23rd, 2004, 07:55 PM
But it felt like I was reading it for that long! The more this book is discussed , the more I DON'T want to read the sequels. I was going to read the second book, but like always something came up( no not my lunch!). But I think that I will give Haydon's other novels a skip.
Originally Posted by FicusFan
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