Just…Wow

Oh my god.  Well.  That was…I’m having trouble putting it into words.  I have literally just finished The Weaver’s Lament, the final volume in the Symphony of Ages.  And I believe it, that this saga is concluded and finished.  I just…wow.

The Hollow Queen ended on a line that implied we were going to skip ahead a thousand years, and it was true, not just a statement of “and they lived happily ever after”, even though they did, for the better part of that thousand years.  And that brought us to the conclusion of the tale.  Not the War of the Known World, as the events of the previous volume became known, but the end of an era, of an age, of a life that we have followed, in a way, from the start.  The answers to all the questions, the final end of the threat, the end of the characters we have known.

I am on the verge of tears as I type this.

Is it wrong to get so emotional about a book?  I don’t think so.  After all, I have been reading this story for some fifteen years now.  Rhapsody was originally published in 1999, but I don’t think I picked up the series until 2000, when Prophecy came out.  It’s now 2016 and The Weaver’s Lament has been out for just over a month now.  This isn’t the sorrow the world over felt at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows because this is not a fandom shared so widely that it’s mainstream.  This is merely a personal sorrow, and joy, that a series which has accompanied me for so long, even spending a summer at camp with me, has finally come to its well-earned end.

The last series I read which had an ending like this was Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer.  That series was always overshadowed by Harry Potter’s widespread fame, and unjustly so.  But that’s a discussion for the next time I reread it.  Let’s just say that it’s been four years since my last similar experience to today’s.

One day I’ll probably be better able to put into words what I think of this book.  I may point out some of the flaws or absences – what happened to Gwydion Navarne?  Was he a good duke?  Do his descendents still rule at Haguefort?  Did his sister marry the man I think she did?  Is the Patriarch still the man we last saw, or has he too passed on in the intervening millenium?

And really, Elizabeth Haydon, what made you choose to become so much cruder in your terms and descriptions?

Okay, that last I will address today.

It seems to me that the final three volumes are geared at a much more modern audience than the preceding six, namely that of highschool students.  This is evident not only in the change in terminology and vocabulary, but also in the cover design.

IMG_5239

Above, you can see a clear divide in the first six books, with a very 90s style of cover illustration rendering the main characters, in locations readers will recognize.  The final three, however, are in the standard young adult style of today.  Author and title are still very obvious in all nine, but the images in the last three are simplified, down to a symbol that is recognizable, but more evocative than visual.  The crown of the merchant emperor.  The compass of Rhonwyn, in front of Meridion’s heart.  A funeral pyre and someone’s very intent face.  Frankly, I prefer the older images, where I can recognize the characters and study them.  Are they completely accurate to the descriptions?  Probably not.  Are they close enough to satsify?  Definitely.

It’s a bit disappointing, the change in style, as I do prefer my series to be unified in their appearance.  Unfortunately, that’s not my choice to make.  I mean, I suppose I could try to buy books that are from the same set, and I often do, but there is nothing I could do in this particular case.  The publisher’s choices are the publisher’s choices and I guess they wanted to snag a newer audience.  Hopefully any such new readers had the intelligence to seek out the earlier volumes, because I can’t imagine how awful it would be to start at volume six and realize that pretty much everything previous is now spoiled.

Where will I go from here, now that I’ve finally finished the complete Symphony of Ages?  Honestly, I’m not sure.  I think I want to reread something next, though I’m not sure what type.  My head is still buzzing from that conclusion, so I may not even start a book today.

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