cover image The Hollow Queen

The Hollow Queen

Elizabeth Haydon. Tor, $25.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0567-1

Haydon’s eighth Symphony of Ages romantic fantasy (after The Merchant Emperor) is a sprawling epic of demon vaults, dragons, and living statues. The story gets unwieldy but is redeemed by gripping relationships. Wartime demands have taken their toll on the marriage of the Cymerian leaders, Rhapsody and Ashe. Rhapsody, who is literally missing a piece of her soul, fights without truly knowing what she is fighting for, and risks losing not only herself but her family. As Rhapsody and Ashe confront the psychological ramifications of war, their passion and grief are heartrending. However, the vast array of characters dilutes the story’s movement, and their conflicts with one-dimensional villains come to all-too-convenient resolutions. The excellent prose and close attention to the emotional states of beloved characters will please longtime fans, but new readers may wonder what the fuss is about. Agent: Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Associates. (June)