Haydon Returns

We saw the Three, leaving early and arriving late.
We saw them quest to kill a demon across a continent still divided after the Cymrian War centuries before.
We saw them fight the War of the Known World.
We saw them usher in a new Age of peace…

But what happened before that?

Venture into the Second Age and the shoes of Ven Polypheme, the Nain explorer who wrote The Book of All Human Knowledge as he illuminates the world of Ages past.

This is what my mind wrote as I began to read The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, starting with The Floating Island.  Set in the same world as the Symphony of Ages, this is another series by Elizabeth Haydon.  However, there are some key differences.  Firstly, it takes place in the Second Age, while I believe Rhapsody begins during the Third Age.  Secondly, these books are written for a younger audience.

I touched on the changes in Haydon’s writing as it related to the last few books in the Symphony of Ages, becoming cruder and more explicit.  Now we’ve gone to the opposite end of the spectrum.  Instead of farting or producing flatulence or even passing gas, male merrows are described as “making bubbles at both ends”.  There’s nothing wrong in this change of writing style, nor in the author writing a book that she can actually read to her children.  It’s simply an interesting choice to have a single world with two very different target audiences.  Again, there’s nothing preventing an adult from reading young adult books, but you probably don’t want a child to read about a former whore – and that’s in the first few chapters of Rhapsody.

The Book of All Human Knowledge was mentioned briefly in the Symphony of Ages, as an aid to identifying Sharra’s Deck.  This set of artifacts is made from scales taken from the eldest Sleeping Child and each contains a great deal of power.  By this time, the Fourth or Fifth Age, the book was nothing more than an artifact itself, missing pages and pieces, and not entirely legible in all parts.  The author is the legendary Ven Polypheme, which makes you think of a mature man, determined to explore the world.

Ven may be fifty years old on the first page of the book, but as a Nain his age is equivalent to about thirteen in human terms.  Old enough to be considered a very young adult.  Which makes him about the same age as the friends he gathers, including Char, Ida, Clemency and Saeli.  So the Lost Journals as a series may be a coming of age story, as well as a record of Ven’s travels and explorations.  I can guess at some of the things being set up for the future, based on the titles of the forthcoming books and some notions which have been repeated two or three times already.

Still, I’ve enjoyed The Floating Island and I look forward to reading The Thief Queen’s Daughter.


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