Friday, June 10, 2016
Review: The Weaver's Lament by Elizabeth Haydon
For a thousand years the allied states of the Cymrian alliance have been at peace. However, tensions are on the rise. The Bolg are being short-changed in trade and Grunthor, the sergeant major who has arguably the best trained army in history at his disposal, is not afraid to cross the border and collect the short fall. Having such a well-trained and restless army on their doorstep leaves Ashes and the military leadership of his alliance very uneasy and a misspoken word leads to tragic consequences.Ashes and Achmed are pitted against each other and Rhapsody is caught in the middle.
Ashe is beginning to show the signs of age while his wife Rhapsody seems as young as ever. Ashe fears dying and losing Rhapsody and of losing control of the dragon that dwells with him. As a result he begs Rhapsody to help him transform into a dragon like his father did before him, something Rhapsody fears will cost Ashe his soul. their relationship is tested more than it has ever been in a thousand years.
I found the previous volume in this series to suffer from severe pacing issues and most notably some big moments, that had been built up for several books, were highly rushed. Thankfully the series finale does not suffer from this issue and some really big moments get the time they deserve to really shine.
Time has been a central theme across the series and the decision to set a book a thousand years after the previous events was an inspired one. Having some long-lived characters and some seemingly eternal creates an interesting conflict when faced with other characters who are not blessed to the same degree. Ashe in particular is handled well and having him develop an almost 'grumpy old man' side was well worked. His legitimate fear of losing Rhapsody combined with his somewhat irrational and selfish reaction to it makes for an emotional conflict. I would have liked to see more of Grunthor's perspective as he alone of the three has had to deal with the loss of children that have aged faster than him.
The choices that face Rhapsody, Ashe and Achmed and the brilliant foreshadowing of their consequences reminded me of some of the all time classic tragedies. Both beautiful and so very sad. My only minor gripe is I would have liked to have seen Ashe's reaction when faced with the full consequences of his actions.
The plot itself brings the books into line with the original trilogy (and to an extent the short story as well) more than we have seen in a long time. The mix of well realized and beloved characters, their relationships and subtle humor at the right moments that have made this one of my all time favorite series are all present.
The Symphony of Ages could have ended with the previous book but I'm glad it it didn't. This is the finale it truly deserved. 8.75/10.