I picked up ‘Rhapsody’ at a an old bookstore. I was just looking around for an author I hadn’t read, and I decided on this one. I wasn’t disappointed in my choice. ‘Rhapsody’ tells the story of a young woman who ends up in the company of two rather suspicious individuals, Grunthor and Achmed, and gets stuck going on a pretty amazing journey with them. The world and history are detailed and intricate, and the action scenes are pretty exciting.

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The story starts off with Meridion, who plucks a young man named Gwydion out of time, sends him back several centuries for just long enough to fall in love with a young woman named Emily, and then sends him back home again. Being from the future, Gwydion knows the fate that will soon fall on Emily’s homeland, and tries to warn her. I liked the beginning, and found Meridion’s antics amusing (though Gwydion and Emily probably didn’t). Despite my amusement, I cared about the two characters, and went through the rest of the book quickly, eagerly waiting to find out what happened to Gwydion.

After the prologue, we encounter Rhapsody, who gets in a bit of trouble and in her attempt to flee winds up in the company of Grunthor and Achmed, neither of who is human. I don’t want to spoil what happens, and I found the journey they took together a joy to read, as I always like reading things I haven’t read before. So anyway, they go on an interesting journey, and end up far from their homeland.

I quickly came to like Grunthor and Achmed. I didn’t particularly like Jo, a character you meet near the end of the book, and my fondness for Rhapsody, who I initially liked and was quite sympathetic too, faded after her transformation (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you read it). The story doesn’t move quickly, as there is a lot of description of places and history, but when something does happen it’s exciting and well-written. The detailed history gives the world depth and colour, and is generally fairly interesting, enough so that I can read pages and pages of it while the characters explore museums later on in the book. The story also took a lot of unexpected turns. I spent a lot time imagining what was happening to Gwydion and how he would be introduced again – I was always wrong.

Overall, this book was an unexpected pleasure. There’s a lot of description, and it doesn’t move very quickly. The history adds a lot to the atmosphere of the story though, and many of the characters are interesting and flawed (particularly Grunthor and Achmed). The opening sequence with Meridion and Gwydion drew me along, as I couldn’t wait to find out what happened. I’m looking forward to the next book in the trilogy, as this one ended when we finally find out something about Gwydion and Emily’s fate.

 

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