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The Weaver's Lament: The Final Adventure in The Symphony of Ages Hardcover – June 21, 2016
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"A full-scale tale of warfare and political intrigue that high-fantasy fans will enjoy. Fans of the series will be satisfied, and newcomers will find themselves welcome." --Booklist on The Hollow Queen
"A story that's both grand and intimate but never predictable. Haydon moves all the pieces into place for the next volume." --Publishers Weekly, starred review, on The Assassin King
"One of the finest high fantasy debuts in years." --Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Rhapsody
About the Author
As the daughter of an air force officer, USA Today bestselling epic fantasy author ELIZABETH HAYDON began traveling at an early age and has since traveled all over the world. She draws on the imagery of these visits in the Symphony of Ages series, and blends her love of music, anthropology, herbalism and folklore into much of her writing. Haydon is also a harpist and a madrigal singer (a singer of medieval songs). She lives with her family on the East Coast. The Weaver's Lament is the Final Adventure in her Symphony of Ages series.
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After the War of the Known World led the series into a setting that felt almost a little outside the author's comfort zone, Elizabeth Haydon does a brilliant job in making The Weaver's Lament very much an epilogue that feels like it is trying to celebrate the characters and all they accomplished. The bitterness comes in where the drama of the narrative arises, and what manner of tragedy that leaves all of The Three ending upon. While I feel like the ends were very much true to character, and in the vein of "If I had to go out that way, that's how I'd choose," I still felt what the title tried to warn me about: a lament for the loss of the wonderful characters.
Achmed shines brilliantly as we revisit some pieces of books past, and there's a strong sense that those left behind will be fine in a more accepting (if oddly under-developed) world. His adventure in the book and his sour, snarky personality carry the load with aplomb, and made me wish we'd seen even more of his adventures. A final triumph at the end still left me with a smile, and fond memories for a wonderful Trio that I'll be glad to come back to in prior books.
A fitting, if bittersweet finale, and a thanks to Elizabeth Haydon for taking us all the way to the end.
Some people loved it, and that's good, I'm truly glad. For me, the rushed timeline, Grunthor's lame fate, Ashes' actions, the vague last chapter for Achmed and Rhapsody... it left me confused and hurt. None of it worked for me.
The characters didn't feel real and their actions didn't make sense. Their reactions to events felt like the book was just trying to grope for endings.
The only other series to let me down worse was the final book in the Earth's Children Series.
Then along comes The Weaver’s Lament. There is a lot to like about this book. It does a good job of wrapping up the story lines, and I appreciated the use of flashback and quotes to take us back, to remind us of the journey we have been through with these characters.
When Grunthor was killed and Rhapsody took off, leaving Ashe behind, and war seemed inevitable, I nearly stopped reading. Not because of bad writing or a bad story, but because it was so emotionally wrenching. Ms. Haydon also did a great job of connecting us to the older Rhapsody and Ashe, and the almost overwhelming caste of new characters – their family members – was managed quite well.
Unfortunately, there were also several problems. The first was pacing. I don’t mind a novel that moves right along, and the last book in a series has an obligation to tie up loose ends. That being said, it felt to me like the climax happened closer to the beginning of the book – when Rhapsody “killed” Ashe. After that, it was just checking off boxes. Rhapsody having a child with Achmed and the entire conversation that went along with it – the timing was awful and hardly believable. She was supposedly distraught over the death of Grunthor and what she was forced to do to Ashe. And then, just a few pages later, Rhapsody’s own death seemed to come out of nowhere and didn’t feel particularly meaningful for the main character of the entire series. For a storyline that thrives on being overly dramatic about every emotional happenstance, this scene – and really, the last half of the book – felt rushed and forced.
Then we get to see Achmed racing around the world and into the Vault. The Vault in particular was incredibly anticlimactic. For a race of beings that was so feared and caused so much trouble and terror, they were treated as being pitiful and helpless. There was no intensity, no tension, hardly any emotion. It was clear that nothing bad could happen to Achmed, and nothing even remotely close to difficulty arose for him. Not to mention that the way the story was told, it was unclear why someone hadn’t taken the elemental swords into the Vault and taken care of the threat long before. As far as I could tell, Achmed didn’t have a single unique trait that was ever employed to help him defeat the F’dor. All the power came from the swords. For all the talk of him being tied to the Earth and the Wind, it didn’t seem to matter one bit in the end. But mostly, this storyline just needed some tension, some excitement, some sense that the world could still be destroyed and everything could end. It’s almost like the last 1/3 or more of the book was the epilogue, rather than what should have been the climax of the entire series.
The last problem, and possibly the most grievous, was the treatment – no, the dismissal – of Ashe and the relationship Rhapsody had with him. This entire series was based on the love story of Sam and Emily. And to have him dismissed so easily – for Rhapsody to not only completely betray him by having a child with another man, but also for his feelings at the end of the book to never even be addressed – it seemed a crime. Not to mention that we have no idea if Ashe and Rhapsody will be together again. There was some doubt cast on whether dragons truly would not make it to the Afterlife, but then it was just left hanging. I get that the story was about the Three, so it ended that way, but it was also about Sam and Emily, and that story was at best a tragedy and at worst completely unresolved. Ashe was so summarily dismissed that he wasn’t even given the page time to hear about his wife’s fate, let alone the chance to react to it.
Overall, I love the story of the Symphony of Ages. This book did a lot of things right, particularly in the area of wrapping up most of the threads and reminding me of why I loved these books by taking the reader back to the very beginning. But in many other ways it was very disappointing. At the very least it could have benefited from 50 or 100 more pages devoted to wrapping up what it left out and adding some more excitement to the last 1/3 of the book. But the book still did a lot of things right, and it was satisfying in many ways. If you’ve read the other books in the series, you won’t want to miss the conclusion to this unique and interesting story.