Symphony of Ages
is a series of fantasy novels by Elizabeth Haydon. It blends Heroic Fantasy
with Romance Novel
tropes to produce an effect that you likely think is the most awsome thing ever or is absolutely ridiculous.
Rhapsody (formerly known as Emily, but she changed her name after running away from home as a child) is a former prostitute living in Elizabeth Haydon's Constructed World
of Serendair. During the sordid career, she attracted the attention of a minor warlord named Michael, who is the biggest pervert ever and has a strange fixation with her.
She is trying to start a new life for herself when Michael shows up intending to kidnap and do really, really bad things to her.
She escapes and ends up haphazardly under the protection of two traveling warriors, Achmed and Grunthor. They listen to her story and take enough pity on her to let her travel with them, safe from Michael (besides she just accidentally helped Achmed by renaming him). They do not tell her, however, that they are demon-hunters and that they are fleeing from a demon through the center of the planet.
Also, when Emily was a child, she had a curious run in with a guy who called himself Sam. She did not know where he came from, but it was Love at First Sight
, or so she thought. They had sex (Their First Time
) and then he disappeared. She was naturallly quite upset, but all was not as it seemed: Sam was actually Gwidion, a prince
from the future who had all of a sudden been pushed backwards into Emily's era without knowing why.
When Achmed, Grunthor, and Rhrapsody finally make it out from Beneath the Earth
and arrive on the far end of the world, he is there—although neither of them recognize each other.
As the title suggests, music is a constant theme in Symphony of Ages.
The metaphysics of Serendair are mostly explained in musical terms, and Rhapsody frequently employs Magic Music
during her adventures.
Also, several characters have Elemental Powers
that lend themselves well to Power Perversion Potential
. Whereas most authors would shy away from this fact or not even notice, Hayden exploits them to their fullest potential.
This series provides examples of:
- A God Am I: Non-villianous example. Achmed convinces the Firbolg that he is a god in order to unite them into a great nation.
- After the End: Meridion's future.
- Always Chaotic Evil: The F'dor, beings of elemental fire that want to burn the world.
- Apocalypse How: Planetary Extinction. In Meridion's future the F'dor have reduced the planet to molten slag.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The magical language of the Cymrians is really just Welsh.
- Because Destiny Says So: The God of Time wants Rhapsody and Gwidion to hook up. This is Serious Business! More to the point, it's their son who wants them to hook up, and goes to great lengths to make their partnership a good one.
- Come with Me If You Want to Live: Achmed to Rhapsody.
- Deadpan Snarker: Most prominently, Achmed and Ashe.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: If the Wyrm at the center of the world wakes up, this is what will happen.
- Fantasy Contraception:
- Ashe can use his water powers to hold back his own semen.
- He is part dragon, and that all dragons can do that. Check book 4 or 5, when they finally decide to get going on the children. Still an example, though.
- Framing Device: The efforts of Meridion in an apocalyptic future as he attempts to stop the destruction of the world and unite Gwidion and Rhapsody.
- Hello, Nurse!: Rhapsody
- Impossibly Cool Weapon: The cwellan, a sort of crossbow-like-thing invented by Achmed which fires razor-edged discs at a distance of up to two miles.
- Both Rhapsody and Ashe's sword qualify.
- Like Brother and Sister: Rhapsody and Achmed and Rhapsody and Grunthor. Though the former might be debatable.
- Mad Lib Fantasy Title: Not the title of the series itself, but the individual novels very much so.
- Mayfly-December Romance: The Cymrians live shorter lives with each generation, starting with immortality at generation one. This presumably causes true mayfly romances, but the most visible case is Tristan Steward and his consort Prudence. While they grew up at about the same rate, she starts showing her age and he remains youthful. A much more complicated version arises among Rhapsody, Ashe, and Achmed. Rhapsody, a first-generation Cymrian and lirin, will live forever. So will Achmed. Ashe, however, is part dragon and a third generation Cymrian, granting him a lifetime that will probably last a few thousand years more before he either dies or reincarnates as a full dragon (somehow presumed to end their romance, although other dragons have loved humans before). Achmed loves Rhapsody, or at least believes she is the only possible suitable mate for him, but is content to wait millennia for Ashe's eventual removal.
- Poor Communication Kills: The second and third book run on this.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The Framing Device for the original trilogy takes place in an alternate timeline where the F'dor was successful and they have transformed the world into a lifeless, molten ruin. Meridion is trying to prevent that from occurring.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Gwydion and Rhapsody in the original timeline. Meridion manipulated history specifically so they could avert this trope.
- Power Perversion Potential:
- Played with. Gwidion has control over water. 70% of the human body is made of water. He knows this. And there's the time when Rhapsody was taking a bath and he got frisky...
- Also, F'dor's fire magic. Yes, ma'am, you did just get screwed by the fireplace.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Rhapsody and Ashe have this relationship for the first two novels.
- Their First Time: Turns out to be just like Idealized Sex.
- Tsundere: Rhapsody shows signs of this, especially in regards to Ashe.
- World Tree: Many of them, and their roots are all intertwined.
- Wound That Will Not Heal: Ashe's wound from when the F'dor attacked, until later in the first trilogy.
- Schedule Slip: The Assassin King, Book 6 overall and the first book of the second trilogy, (following two intermediate books) was released in 2006. After seven years without even a hint of the follow-up in sight, Book 7 was finally released in June, 2014.