Title: Crescendo (Song of the Fallen, #2)
Author: Rachel Haimowitz
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Pages: 350 (approx.)
Characters: Freyrik Farr, Ayden Vaska
POV: third person
Sub-Genre: mm romance, fantasy
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
Crescendo is book two of the Song of the Fallen Series and is the conclusion of Freyrik and Ayden’s love story. Book one ends with Freyrik being summoned to High Court, where he must face his superiors and account for his actions. Both Freyrik and Ayden realize that their relationship may be in jeopardy and are uncertain of their future as a couple.
When they arrive at High Court, immediately they are separated, and Ayden is stripped of all his magical powers. Ayden’s human captors use a form of elven Kryptonite called Starfall to bind him, thus muting his elfsong.
Freyrik is thrust into a tenuous situation where he must choose between remaining loyal to his leader, the Aegis, or supporting his brother Berendil in a coup attempt. When he tries to remain neutral, he loses favor with both the Aegis and his brother, and he is banished—condemned to carry out the hopeless mission of tracking down the Dark Elves who have controlled the black magic which has fueled the deadly surges of feral animals which have attacked and killed Freyrik’s people for over three centuries.
If I could summarize book two in a word it would be “balance”. Everything about book one which did not sit right with me was offset by the events of book two. In the first book, it was Ayden who was the hero. He made all of the sacrifices. He was separated from his people, imprisoned, humbled, vilified, demonized, and even tortured. In book two, it is Freyrik who must sacrifice for Ayden.
Freyrik loses his kingdom, is imprisoned, faces beatings and humiliation, and finally must decide whether or not to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his lover and his people. Freyrik and Ayden are yin and yang, the completion of one another. The story is a beautiful portrayal of shared sacrifice in which leadership and heroism are not defined by lionizing the few who claw their way to the top but rather by presenting a character who is already at the top but is willing to humble himself and assume responsibility for wrongs previously committed in order to cleanse his people of their sins.
The concept of the story is not a novelty. It’s the greatest story ever told.
The writing and editing are impeccable, and the intricate details of the world building which are so masterfully woven into the plot are almost beyond comprehension. Crescendo is a powerful story of love, loyalty, forgiveness and redemption. The series as a whole is a must read.
Reviewed By: Jeff