Wednesday, April 06, 2005

[Book Review] Destiny: Child of the Sky by Elizabeth Haydon

The final book in her trilogy, Destiny is either the last chance Haydon can redeem herself to her readers, or give a stunning finale to those who appreciate her work. It’s the thickest book yet, and all the major players in the series have gathered for the final act.

At this point, I’ve given up expecting change on Haydon’s part. Her writing and plot has been fairly consistent in the past few books. That is, Haydon is formulaic and her characters and events are predictable. They’re fairly complex characters though, mind you, but nonetheless predictable. The best analogy I could think of is that Haydon is as modern-day McKillip. I mean they both utilize lovely prose, and insert poetry into their text. The main protagonist holds back to a previous era where those who had a pure heart were the heroes, and the rest of the angst and anti-heroes is left to the supporting cast. Perhaps a big difference between them though is that Haydon writes thicker novels and utilizes more sophisticated words, while McKillip tries to keep it as simple as possible. But I think the former is just part of the current trend of fantasy nowadays to be bigger and thicker.

If you’ve read the other books in the series, you probably know what to expect in this book. There are still some surprising battles, but in the end, Destiny is more of an example of the archaic fantasy novel. Another thing noticeable about Haydon is how she frequently quotes her other books as a means of flashback. I’d just like to point it out because at this point, I feel Haydon is overdoing it. Not that refreshing your memory is a bad thing, but the book would probably be significantly less thicker if it weren’t for Haydon’s repeated flashbacks quotes. And as I mentioned before, the book would have been easier to read if it had a glossary at the end.

Of course being formula has its strong points. If you haven’t been disappointed by Haydon yet, then chances are you’d like this book. And her prose has this appeal that enables you to keep on reading, much like the effect that David Eddings has. Destiny and her ilk are addicting books, but more in the sense that it’s a guilty pleasure rather than something innovative or new.

Everything that could be said has been mentioned in my earlier reviews. If you’re interested in pursuing the series, I suggest you start at the beginning of the trilogy, with Rhapsody. Give it to your friends who want formula fantasy, to those who want a happy ending, or to those into romance. If you’re looking for something new and epic and modern like, say, George R. R. Martin, this isn’t it. The series is enjoyable, just as long as you have the right expectations.

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