I was slightly thrown by this book. Or to be fair, simply finding this book - it's really hard to find in the UK. The cover, as the previous review says, doesn't really match the rest and isn't great. But if you look at Haydon's website, you'll find that the first three books (Rhapsody, Prophecy, Destiny) are a trilogy, then there are two intermediate books, and The Assassin King is the first in a second trilogy - so I don't really see why the previous reviewer thought it was misnamed.
Anyway, the book is a good continuation of the series. Increasingly dire consequences are revealed for the world, new characters come to light, more interesting stuff happens to our heroes and Meridion, Rhapsody's baby, continues to be mystifying.
It's unfortunate that Haydon is taking a break to write her young adult series, but she does tend to blast them out fairly swiftly, so hopefully the next installment will come quickly! If you like the other books, you'll like The Assassin King.
From the beginning to the end of the book it had completely gripped me into the story and I couldn't put it down. It was an utterly brilliant read and Elizabeth Haydon has created such a structured and compelling story. This book it definately a Must Read!!
This book is the sixth in the increasingly misnamed Symphony of Ages Trilogy.
First, the cover. At the time of writing only the HB TOR Fantasy edition was available, with a tacky cover illustration that does no justice to the characters it portrays. Barbie meets Father Christmas and Lawrence of Arabia. And there should be a baby in that scene. Those who know the series will know what I mean.
Second, the good points... An interesting and menacing new character is introduced. Er.. that's it.
Third, the bad points. Word use: 'reverie' is used more sparingly, thank goodness; but Haydon still annoyingly mis-uses 'whence' as 'from whence' ('whence', on its own, means 'from where', making the additional 'from' redundant) and 'traverse' which she uses regularly to mean 'cross over' when it should only be used for a zig-zag route, eg: when climbing steep slopes, or ski-ing or the zig-zag course of a ship battling the wind. The story: Don't look for a story arc - there isn't one. This is a mess of threads so complicated that a thumbnail map (in my edition) is supplied at the head of each chapter to reduce the confusion. Many of these story threads are left dangling, not with a gripping cliffhanger that leaves you checking your supplier for the next edition, but just dropped threads - characters left wandering about the countryside, characters missing, journeys half finished. It was a dull read, but unfortunately essential if you are an "I've started so I'll finish" reader. It was with increasing disappointment that I got towards the end of the book and realised how little story there was in it. It would be a confusing read for anyone who picked it up at random from an airport shop, even though much of the book is spent recapping the previous books for such readers. I hope that Haydon has not got herself bogged down with all this meandering, and that the next book makes up for this very disappointing read.
*update* It seems she did get bogged down: it is 5 years later and there is no sign of the next book yet! I now have to advise that readers stop at the end of the first three books, where there is some closure; until there is some indication that another book is on its way.