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The Hollow Queen (The Symphony of Ages) by…
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The Hollow Queen (The Symphony of Ages)

by Elizabeth Haydon

Other authors: Stephen Youll (Cover artist)

Series: Symphony of Ages (8)

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Unfortunately this was my least favorite of all the Symphony of Ages series. It just felt so inferior to the rest of the series.
It should be said that Symphony of Ages is among my top favorite of all fantasy series, and Rhapsody was the very first fantasy novel I ever read that catapulted my love of the genre.
This book felt...rushed, poorly written, contrived, and a bit sloppy.
A few things that really brought down the quality for me include;
Rhapsody was barely in this installment. She didn't even show up until almost 100 pages into the novel. And then after that was only sparsely in the novel until the last third, in which she was a prominent character. Admittedly Rhapsody is not my favorite character, but the book is called "The Hollow Queen!" I think that should mean that the actual Hollow Queen is a key character.
There was so much of Haydon repeating herself literally over and over and over about small things, it got to the point where it actually brought down the quality of writing for me. I do not remember her ever using this style of writing before, and this was actually a complaint of mine from the previous book. Though in that book, it was only used here and there, where in this installment it was throughout the entire thing. For example every time she mentioned the character Dranth, she brought up the fact that he had scleraless eyes. Every time! You only need to mention that once to remind us. This was a writing tactic she used SO much in this novel. For things like people's past, or titles, or other nuances. She would bring up the same thing over and over when discussing that character. I have no idea why she changed her writing style to this, but it truly distracted from the story for me. I have always thought of Haydon as a great writer, and aside from this new addition, the writing remained great for the rest of the novel and story.
Another big struggle I had was that for three novels now we have building up to this great war for the entire middle continent against this big bad Merchant Emporer, Whom I think is the worst villain to be honest, and then the war comes, and almost the entire things is glossed over. They discuss about two of the battles, and briefly mention the rest went well. Despite that they were outnumbered, and were facing defeat, etc. I felt this was a poor decision. I wanted to see the war. I was invested! I was ready! It was a let down.
There were of course some good aspects to the novel, and overall, though it was my least favorite, it is still a good read. I still enjoy the characters, and still believe Haydon to be a great writer. I only wish this had been a stronger end to last trilogy of the series. I know there is still one more novel in the series, but this ended a trilogy of story line that started with Assassin King, and it just didn't work as strongly for me as the rest. ( )
  Kiddboyblue | Nov 14, 2017 |
The Hollow Queen is the eighth book in The Symphony of Ages series by Elizabeth Haydon. Now this is more like it! All the set up from the previous book pays off. The story sets off at a fast pace and doesn't let up until the very end. Haydon has given herself an ambition task and was definitely up for the challenge.

Talquist's ambitions and plans reach across the entire continent and beyond. The Cymrian Alliance finds itself surrounded on all sides by the forces of Sorbold. Rhapsody has joined the battle, wielding Daystar Clarion, leaving part of herself in hiding with her infant son deep within the mountains. Desperate for help Ashe tries to enlist the Sea Mages and the people of Manose, completely unaware that Talquist's navy has set up a barrier effectively blocking the continent from the rest of the world. Gruhtor prepares the Firbolg of Ylorc to withstand a coming siege. Achmed takes up the quest to try and cut off the head of the snake knowing full well that even if he's successful it may not stop the momentum of the war. There are obstacles at every turn. Are the free peoples willing to pay the price to end this war?

In a nutshell, this is all about the War for the Known World. There are plots within plots, politics, betrayals, tons of action, dragons, heroics and even a smidgen of romance. Haydon handles it all well, deftly weaving many story lines together told from at least ten points of view. Unlike the last book, the story does not sit still. At times it seems to even rush ahead, short cutting from the start to ends of battles. We are constantly jumping from location to location in an effort to keep up with all of what's going on. I found it to be quite the page turner.

The Three are given a lot more page time too, for which I was mostly thankful. Achmed's story had me on the edge of my seat! He still remains my favorite character. I just wish he'd tell Rhapsody the truth about how he feels already, how much his hate for her husband is from jealousy and how he loves her. I think it's obvious to everyone but the characters at this point. The character change for Rhapsody that started in the last book continues in this book and I liked how it was handled right up until the end. Then there was a lot of dialog I found groan worthy which thankfully was a fairly short section. Grunthor gets to have his heroic moment as he holds the line back in Ylorc. I continue to find Ashe and his dragon side annoying. There are still some "memory" scenes, but they are used a lot more sparing and flowed with the story better.

All major story threads and many of the loose ends are neatly tied up by the end of the book and are mostly satisfying for this long time fan. The series could easily have ended here but there is one more book to go. ( )
  Narilka | Jun 2, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Haydonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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To the great Ward Evers, who was the godfather of this series, who dreampt it into being at NOLA in the French Quarter during the ALA Conference in 1993 over uncounted Dixie Blackened Voodoos, and who insisted medieval music, string theory of physics, archeology, anthropology, herbalism, and linguistics could, in fact, be the basis for a fantasy series. Thank you forever, my friend.
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The ring of steel against anvil was always a lovely percussion line for a song, and Sergent-Major Grunthor was in the mood for singing as he pounded away, shaping the new pick hammer he was making.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765305674, Hardcover)

Acclaimed author Elizabeth Haydon returns with a heartbreaking tale of love and valor in The Hollow Queen, the eighth installment of her USA Today bestselling Symphony of Ages series that began with Rhapsody.

Beset on all sides by the forces of the merchant emperor Talquist, the Cymrian Alliance finds itself in desperate straits. Rhapsody herself has joined the battle, wielding the Daystar Clarion, leaving her True Name in hiding with her infant son. Ashe tries to enlist the aid of the Sea Mages. Within their Citadel of Scholarship lies the White Ivory tower, a spire that could hold the key to unraveling the full extent of Talquist's machinations. Achmed journeys to the reportedly unassailable palace of Jierna Tal, to kill emperor Talquist--all the while knowing that even if he succeeds, it may not be enough to stop the momentum of the war.

As they struggle to untangle the web of Talquist's treachery, the leaders of the Cymrian alliance are met with obstacles at every turn. Rhapsody soon realizes that the end of this war will come at an unimaginable price: the lives of those she holds dearest.

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 04 Jul 2015 09:38:42 -0400)

"Acclaimed author Elizabeth Haydon returns with a heartbreaking tale of love and valor in The Hollow Queen, the eighth installment of her USA Today bestselling Symphony of Ages series that began with Rhapsody. Beset on all sides by the forces of the merchant emperor Talquist, the Cymrian Alliance finds itself in desperate straits. Rhapsody herself has joined the battle, wielding the Daystar Clarion, leaving her True Name in hiding with her infant son. Ashe tries to enlist the aid of the Sea Mages. Within their Citadel of Scholarship lies the White Ivory tower, a spire that could hold the key to unraveling the full extent of Talquist's machinations. Achmed journeys to the reportedly unassailable palace of Jierna Tal, to kill emperor Talquist--all the while knowing that even if he succeeds, it may not be enough to stop the momentum of the war. As they struggle to untangle the web of Talquist's treachery, the leaders of the Cymrian alliance are met with obstacles at every turn. Rhapsody soon realizes that the end of this war will come at an unimaginable price: the lives of those she holds dearest. "--… (more)

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