The Hollow Queen - REVIEW

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

 By Elizabeth Haydon

This is not the final book of the series!

Just to clear up any confusion some may have, the final book entitled Dirge is set for release some time in the spring or summer of 2016. That being said, on to the review.

First of all let's talk about the cover art. I just had to buy the hardcover addition to adorn my shelf. This has to be my favorite cover of all the books in the Symphony of Ages series. The violet scale in the background, the gold lettering and Rhonwyn's compass all come together so beautifully.

The story starts us off in the forges of Canrif with Grunthor singing one of his hilarious songs. Next we check in with Achmed, Ashe, Dranth, Faron (some of these guys multiple times) before we get to see the hollow Queen herself. I remember complaining that I was past chapter ten and I still hadn't seen Rhapsody yet. Patience is not my strong suit, I'm afraid. The first half of the book didn't have a lot of action, but I FINALLY had my biggest question answered, what happened to Elynsynos the dragon? I've been worried about her for years! The Merchant Emperor teased with a trip to her lair only to leave us hanging with no real answers.

Rhapsody is definitely very hollow in this book. Showing very little emotion throughout had me missing the old Rhaps. Seeing her with short hair, going pure warrior wielding Daystar Clarion and a dragon tongue whip was a very interesting change though.

Ashe was Ashe. I love Ashe, don't get me wrong, but I actually expected him to go full on dragon rampage and take out the continent. Couldn't he single-handedly end the war? Burn them all, I say! And what about the dragon, Witheragh? The world is in jeopardy, get up off your gem encrusted tail and do something! It's reminiscent of Gandalf waiting until they are two minutes from Mount Doom to call in the eagles for a lift, but I digress.

In between the war and battles there were bits of humor. My favorite part was Grunthor speaking fondly about his dear old mum, an "undefeated champion o' bloodsport," and how she took his dad as tribute in a surrender agreement and instead of eating him she decided to keep him and raise a family. The whole story made me laugh. I got another chuckle from Achmed crawling over a rock ledge attached to floating festival toys. And Grunthor's colorful songs are always a favorite of mine. How I've missed them.
The one major issue I had with this book was the loss of a beloved character. Elizabeth Haydon, my dear favorite author, who has made me laugh and cry and cheer for her characters decided to go all GRRM on a character and I may never forgive her. Scratch that! At least George Martin gives his characters a quick beheading, cut throat, arrows to the chest, the usual. It's fairly fast and over with and you can begin the mourning process. But not Elizabeth. No, she had to behead, trample, tear apart and basically obliterate one of my favorite characters to the point that there was nothing left for a burial but unrecognizable pieces, and for what? My day was ruined.

I felt like this book could very well have been the end of the series, only there are still a few questions here and there left unanswered. I'm not sure what Elizabeth has left to write since the War of the Known World is over but I'm very curious. Dirge, the title itself makes me worry, will be the end of the series. A dirge is a somber song usually played when in mourning or at a funeral. I'm already depressed.

Since Dirge will be the final book, I'm terrified that Elizabeth will decide to wake the sleeping child and allow it to devour the world or something equally horrifying! Tell me I'm just being overly dramatic. She wouldn't do that, would she? Would she? My poor little heart can't take it. Unless the next book ends with, "and they all lived happily ever after," I may choose to live in denial and pretend that this is the last book in the series. Despite some heart break, at least the Hollow Queen has an ending that I can live with. Crossing my fingers and hoping for a great ending with all our questions answered. *Eyes Elizabeth suspiciously*

Recommendation: This book is definitely for fans of the series! It is not a book you can just pick up if you've never read Rhapsody (book 1) through the Merchant Emperor (book 7) unless you enjoy being utterly lost and confused.

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Great Read!

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