I know last week I said this blog would now focus on writing and now I’m doing a book review, which is more of a reading thing. BUT, reading and writing go hand in hand. And when one dreams and works to be a writer, it only makes sense to read other writer’s works and learn from them. The good and the bad. Unfortunately, this book I’m about to review taught me a lot of What Not To Do.
The Merchant Emperor by Elizabeth Haydon is the 7th book in the Symphony of Ages series. I have been a fan of this series for a very long time. The world in which it is set is vibrant and the characters are mostly awesome. The main character, Rhapsody, gets on my nerves sometimes but Achmed alone makes up for pretty much everything.
Now to understand why I gave this book 2 stars you have to know that I waited 7 YEARS for this book to come out. 7 years and there was never a word from the author. No idea as to why she took so long to write this. And I know, she has her right to privacy and to take as long as she wants or needs to write a book, but it just seems odd because the first 6 books came out back to back, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2007. So, of course, there’s a lot of excitement and expectations for this book.
I tried not to let my hopes get too high, but I was just so excited to dive back into this world and run around with characters I loved. I was sorely disappointed. And here’s why:
A. Repetitive. If you have recently read the first six books there is going to be a lot of repeated information. At first I didn’t mind because it’s been a while since I read the last book so the reminders were okay. But then, the book starts to repeat itself. Same information, almost same wording, in one chapter and then the next.
B. Sloooow. Nothing of importance happens within the first 2/3 of the book. It’s a lot of slow, agonizing set up. And do not even get me started on the conversations between Anborn and Rhapsody.
C. The Bad Guy Is EVIL. Which is fine I guess, but he totally lacks depth. I don’t understand why this Merchant Emperor can’t just have his reasons for world domination and leave it at that. Why do we have to mention how really bad he is over and over again? Does every “bad” person who wants to control the world also have to rape every woman he sees and order the murder of babies? It was just over kill. Also, the other rulers he somehow convinces to help him take over the world, are idiots.
D. Not Enough Achmed. He’s the best character in the whole series. He’s dark, dry and totally bad ass. I wanted more of him, and not just the bits where he’s always pissed at Rhapsody’s baby and then pining for Rhapsody. That ship has sailed, buddy, get over it.
As I said, the book picked up in the last act. I feel like someone should just write a pamphlet titled “The Important Stuff That Happens Between Books 6 & 8” and leave it at that. I could do that here, but I don’t want to spoil anyone. If you want to know, leave a comment or send me an e-mail and I’ll tell you.
So, as a writer, here’s what I think happened and why this book and not even 1/3 as good as it should be.
Kricket’s Opinion: I’m guessing that Haydon was locked into a 3 book contract with Tor but she just couldn’t stretch the story into three books. There’s a lot of filler in this book, wasted time, words and paper. But strangely enough, that idea makes me hopeful. It makes me think that maybe this third book will be awesome. It will tie everything together, they’ll be some epic battles and hopefully it will all be worth it.
So, dear reader, have you read this series? Do you like it? Have you ever been really disappointed in a book you thought would be great? Leave a comment so we can chat!
Thanks for reading and have a Wonderful Wednesday!