The brilliant new saga is born ...Rhapsody is a really hard book for me to try and review because honestly I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. There were parts of this book that I absolutely loved, such as the fantastic characters and the rich world that they explored, but there were other parts that made me feel rather uncomfortable which made it hard for me to pinpoint a good rating for the book, much less decide whether or not I wanted to proceed with the rest of the trilogy.
Rhapsody is a woman, a Singer of some talent, who is swept up into events of world-shattering import. On the run from an old romantic interest who won't take no for an answer, Rhapsody literally bumps into a couple of shady characters: half-breeds who come to her rescue in the nick of time. Only the rescue turns into an abduction, and Rhapsody soon finds herself dragged along on an epic voyage, one that spans centuries and ranges across a wonder-filled fantasy world-- a world so real you can hear the sweet music of Rhapsody's aubade and smell the smoldering forges deep within the Cauldron.
First off, I found myself loving the characters. Rhapsody, our heroine, was interesting to learn about though she often came off as being rather over the top, not one of my favorites female heroines in the genre. Other reviewers have, in fact, dubbed her a bit of a Mary-Sue and though I hadn't noticed it while I was reading, I could definitely see why they would give her that title. Actually, it was the two males pictured to the side of her on the cover who were my flat out favoritse. Honestly, there were a lot of side characters that I found extremely fascinating; characters who seemed so fully developed that I wouldn't have minded a chapter or two from their perspective rather than just the short segments that the reader was given. Fully fleshed out, intriguing, with no clear cut leanings towards being "good" or "evil"...exactly how characters should be written really.
And then there was the world. OH MY GOSH THE WORLD AND THE LORE. The lore in this book especially had me won over. I loved the sections when stories were being told or characters were wandering a museum and getting a bit of a history lesson. Simply put, this is one of those books I wouldn't have minded having a "non-fiction" companion book for. The world is rich. The magic system intriguing. And the history, well, you could really get lost in it.
The downside for me was the way that sexuality was handled. There were parts that made me feel uncomfortable; sections where the way that they were written or the content itself would just take me out of the world and make me want to set the book aside for awhile. Unfortunately these sections are hard to elaborate on without giving away some fairly major spoilers for the entire plot of the book, as well as some rather big character development reveal type things. Suffice to say I didn't care for the sexual tones that came across in this sections as they just made me uncomfortable. However, this could just be something that resonated wrong for me. But because it is me writing this review, and this review is how I feel about the book, it didn't feel right to not at least mention in passing.
Overall, while there were some characters (such as Achmed and Jo) whom I was thoroughly vested in as well as the world itself and the story left off on an interesting note I do not think I will be picking up the second book in the trilogy in the immediate future. I at least need a break from it to decide if those positive merits outweighed the negative enough for me to continue on.