This is book one in the "Symphony of Ages" series by Elizabeth Haydon. I read this book rather slowly, but it worked out in the end because now I have finally tracked down book two and can see how the story progresses! Yay! I have always wanted to read a fantasy series, but have never managed to get interested in one. This one scared me at first because there is a review by the Romantic Times on the back, but when you read the book you find that there is not that much romance in the novel at all. I think it is just because it is a female fantasy author. Her books are popular, though, she started out writing a trilogy and now there are 5 books with a sixth book due out soon.
From the back:
The Brilliant new saga is born...
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 with the Cauldron.
This book starts with the character Rhapsody. She meets a boy who has found a way to travel back in time, but at the end of their night together, he vanishes. This leaves Rhapsody on an adventure to find the young man that she fell in love with after only a few hours. It is not meant to be, though, there are other forces at play in this story, and so Rhapsody gives up her life for what turns out to be no reason. She turns to a shady lifestyle to keep herself fed, and with that closes the door on her family for what will likely be forever. When we meet her again she is trying to get her life back on track, but one of her old lovers is not ready to let that happen. While running away from these shady men, she runs into Achmed and Grunthor, what are to become the other members of her party. A party that will be together for the rest of the novel.
They have their own shady paths, their own special abilities, and after they save Rhapsody from the fate that meets her, they take her with them on their own adventures. A great part of the beginning of the adventure takes place in a mother tree, a tree that is thousands of years old and whose roots stretch into another world. To them only a few years are going by, but when they get out at the end they find themselves on the other side of the world with generations of time having passed. The world they know is no more, the boy warned her that her world would be destroyed and thanks to her abduction, Rhapsody was saved.
In the new world, they find that there were three fleets of ships from their old world that settled here. They learn that their descendants are here, even if their natural born family has long since passed on. Achmed is happy with the state of things, he goes to the new home-world for his species, after they toll over the new land and manage to have several adventures, and takes it over. He has more intelligence than it seems his species commonly has, and as such finds himself easily taking the reins and making a more civilized country. Rhapsody has come along with them, as well as another humanoid named Jo, but she feels like she should be doing something else. She is still partly trapped in the old world where she had family and a purpose, now she finds herself virtually alone.
Rhapsody has all the elements of a good novel, a good adventure fantasy story that you will not want to put down. When you come to the end, you will want to read the next book so as to find out what happens next. Haydon writes so that you can really relate to these characters and get inside their story in a way that you are rooting for their success and downtrodded with their failures. I can't wait to read book two.