Rachel Haimowitz – Crescendo

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Author: Rachel Haimowitz
Reviewed by: 
Wendy
Publisher:
Storm Moon Press
Genre: 
M/M Fantasy
ISBN 13: 9781937058159

Rating: ★★★★★ 

 

Summary:

History made them enemies. Chance made them master and slave. Love overcame it all. But love isn’t always enough…

Bridging the hatred of centuries did not come easy for Freyrík Farr and Ayden Vaska. As prince of a war-torn human province, Freyrík could ill afford to fall for an enemy. And Ayden, an elven warrior with three-hundred years of bitterness in his heart, wanted no part of love—not elven, and especially not human. Yet they came together despite themselves and despite the will of their peoples, joining heart and mind to fight a race of Dark Beasts threatening the extinction of mankind.

But the Dark Beast threat pales beside the dangers of the human High Court, home of the Aegis Exalted and the harshest test yet of Ayden’s and Freyrík’s fledgling love.

While Ayden is stripped of his magic, Freyrík is forced to choose between his love for elf, Aegis, and brother, all the while seeking the one uncertain path that might save his doomed race. Time is fast running out for mankind, and only by making peace amongst themselves and with their ancient elven enemies can they end the Dark war—and undo the tragedy that’s plagued humans, elves, and Dark Beasts alike for the last three-hundred years. 

Review: After being suspended in mid-air following my plunge off the proverbial cliff at the end of Counterpoint (and having made a trip through the wringer on the way there), I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the sequel.   I didn’t expect Freyrik and Ayden to have an easy time of it which was a good thing because I know I can count on this author to really put her characters through their paces before they ever see any light in the happily ever after tunnel.  The question for me was would they reach the end of that tunnel?

What I did expect was a continuation of the rich plot and amazing fantasy world conjured up in the first book.  I also expected to experience strong emotions as Freyrik and Ayden were consistently tested by the overwhelming majority who could not fathom a human/elf relationship much less one in which the two could be on equal footing and love each other.  In these expectations, the author did not disappoint!

In the first book, I was completely enamored with the whole concept of elf song – the ability for the elves to read someone’s aura/mood/feelings based on songs/harmonies/notes that person projected and could only be detected by the fragile ears of the elves.  Therefore, I was crushed when that magical ability was squashed in Ayden for a majority of this second book.  Among Freyrik’s people, at least among those he was accountable to, elves were not to be trusted and were nothing more than convenient (and pretty) slaves to do the bidding of their human masters.  So, as soon as Freyrik and Ayden made their appearance at High Court as commanded to do so, Ayden’s magical elf song was silenced and he was made essentially deaf by the placement of “starfall” (metal collar/cuffs) around his neck, ankles and wrists.

Much of this second book dealt with a test of Freyrik’s loyalties.  Should he stay true to the Aegis, Lord Protector, “uncle” he’s sworn to follow or his brother?  Whose theories are right when it comes to the cause behind the attacks of the Dark Beasts – the Aegis and his own Ayden who say it is not dark elves or his brother and band of followers who say it is?  And when the source of the threat that’s been plaguing them all for years becomes known, where does Freyrik place his trust for a solution – with his lover and the Elven nation or with the Aegis and his human comrades?

The answers to these questions and more you’ll find along this amazing reading journey.  Expect to have your heart in your throat a few times along the way, but it’s definitely a journey worth taking.  If I could change anything, it would be to have just a little more clarity around the ending.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s no cliffhanger here and I’m plenty satisfied with where Freyrik and Ayden end up, but I did have some lingering questions on the resolution of the conflict and how the races ultimately move forward. I don’t know if there’s any chance for a future third book, but if so, I’d grab it in a hot minute!  If not, I’m happy enough with where this book and my imagination have landed.  I highly recommend this series – just make sure you don’t wait as long as I did between the two books!!!

 

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