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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. Yet they came together despite themselves and the wills of their peoples, joining hearts and minds to fight a race of Dark Beasts threatening the extinction of mankind.

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

When the Aegis strips Ayden of his magic, Freyrík is forced to choose between his love for elf, Aegis, and king, 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.

(This title is a lightly revised second edition of Crescendo, previously released with a different press.)

245 pages, ebook

First published July 10, 2011

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About the author

Rachel Haimowitz

43 books678 followers
M/M erotic romance author, freelance writer and editor, sadist with a pesky conscience, shamelessly silly, proudly pervish. I'm a twitter addict (@rachelhaimowitz), and I blog every M/W/F at Fantasy Unbound. To learn all about my current and upcoming projects, please stop by my website. I love to hear from folks, so feel free to drop me a line anytime at metarachel (at) gmail (dot) com.

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5 stars
509 (34%)
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543 (36%)
3 stars
314 (21%)
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90 (6%)
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18 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 164 reviews
July 25, 2020
Audio 4 Stars
Story 3.5 Stars

In my opinion there was only one true hero in this story and that was Ayden. Fredrik worked my nerves almost until the end. He was too blinded by his humanness to understand the plight of the Elves even if he was in love with one. Ayden deserved better. When he finally made his stance, I didn't care what happened to him.
Profile Image for Darien.
838 reviews327 followers
December 5, 2011


More of my reviews and ramblings at PANTS OFF REVIEWS

Miss Haimowitz has got it, she has outdone herself in this one when it comes to the writing. She could have given us an easy HEA, an easy road for both Freyrik and Ayden but man if she didn’t blow all of that out the water. These lovers were pushed beyond what they could handle and for a little bit man and elf looked as if they were not going to make it. This action packed epic tale will keep you on your toes and have you cheering for the humans and elf alike.

The books picks up after Freyrik is summoned to court, that has him scared for both his life and for Ayden. The trust of his people is waning because his feelings for an elf is noticeable. There is no denying that Rik is in love, but it’s traitorous because their King has taken up with the enemy. Freyrik and Ayden venture into unknown, will they be riding into their deaths or will the Aegis himself be forgiving. Though Rik is happy to be seeing his brother after sometime, he just walked right into a political war. One move with the wrong alliance could cost him his life, because in this war love is not enough.

Rik cannot protect Ayden in the Aegis court, and his mental stability is being pushed the limit. He is taking Ayden to the one place he has no control, the one place he cannot over rule and keep Ayden at his side. As soon as they arrived Ayden is taken stripped of his song (magical powers) and taken away to be treated as the slave he should have been all along. Through this Ayden knows that Rik has no power where they are, but it doesn’t stop the small resentment he has. That once again the ‘human’ he loves has failed to protect him.

While Ayden struggles with trying free his fellow elves and wanting to remain with Freyrik, Freyrik struggles with where his loyalty lies. So blind in his trust of his brother and the love for the Aegis, he is caught between a rock and a hard place. When Freyrik and Ayden is sent to find out where the feral comes from (read first book), to test his loyalty. The mission could cause them their sanity if not their lives. It will lead to some truths and finally an understanding between both humans and elf.

I am not surprised by the awesmazingness that is this book. The bitter hate humans feel towards things they don’t understand/fear is captured splendidly. The adventure would make any fan of fantasy happy in their pants, such imagery and passion filled the pages. I never thought I could fall in love with Ayden anymore; man was I in for a surprise. With all the pain he endures, he still manages shine even without his elf light and at times when he should hate Freyrik he always becomes the sole thing that Ayden lives for. How can you not love such a pure heart, how can you not love them together. Just when you think ‘yep it can’t get any worse’ bam it does. Then when it’s good, hmm it’s really good.

It’s a book not to be missed, and a guarantee that fans of the first will love. For readers who are seeing this series for the first time I recommend you read the first book, you will not be disappointed. I am in awe, I am in love and I am losing my pants. This is fantastic read filled with love, anger, hatred and a plot so deeply intricate you will lose yourself in the pages. When you think about one of the great reads, you will remember this book.

Profile Image for Seregil.
734 reviews4 followers
December 16, 2011
This is the sequel of "Counterpoint", which ended with a cliffhanger, and it's about the hunky protagonists being called before the Big Boss of the humans. They have to pretend they're not in love with each other and the elf gets cut off from his magic, which is quite ... unpleasant for him.
To be honest I liked the second book less. It focused more on the hate between humans and elves and the intrigue at the human court than on the romance. This wouldn't be a bad thing, but the whole situation was very violent and sad and the elf and his human lover were barely even together.
The end was rushed (a lot): the end of the last chapter is the highest point of a decisive battle and then we're straight at the epilogue (several months later).
Some important issues were left unresolved - mainly about how their relationship is going to work considering that elves live a loooong life and human kings tend to have less than average livespans.
Meh... 3 - 3.5 stars because it made me sad even if it had a happy ending.
Profile Image for Lori K.
162 reviews42 followers
January 17, 2020
What a great series. I hate to see it end but this book is perfect, I wouldn't change a thing. Well maybe I would .

Profile Image for Heather C.
1,456 reviews210 followers
November 23, 2011
Finally! Finally! Finally!

After waiting forever (okay, I admit that its actually been less than 6 months) Ayden and Freyrik finally get their Happily Ever After...or is it merely a Happy For Now? (Rachel, will you please stop torturing me!) I will admit that I was really nervous about reading this. Not because I don't trust Rachel, but because I've had several bad experiences with sequels over the past few months. This sequel did not disappoint!

The story begins about 3 weeks following the end of Counterpoint and I loved and savored every tortuous word of it. And when I say torture, I mean torture! It took me a week to finish because I kept having to stop and breathe. It was so angsty! I think my heart was breaking for Ayden for about 97.3% of the book. Every time I thought things would start getting better for him...nope, they would just get worse and worse to the point I wanted to scream for him. Even though I could feel so much love between Ayden and Rík, Rík was really starting to piss me off. He was too humble and too weak (eh, he was human after all). He kept thinking about how willing he would be to sacrifice himself for Ayden and I kept wondering if he would ever grow a pair a stand up for the one he loved. I think I screamed out loud when he finally did!

Like with the first book, there were many great, awesome lines from the Ayden and I have highlights all over the place. But I am going to share one of my favorites from Freyrík instead:
"Dark beasts, night terrors, and Ayden with manners? These woods were terrifying indeed."

Once I finally figured out what “Song of the Fallen” actually stood for, I felt a little silly. My brain never even suspected that, nor did it ever think it was of any importance!

I do feel a little cheated by the abrupt ending (a 2 month gap in story-time where many things happened and were left unexplained), so I feel I should at least knock off half a star for that. 4.5 Stars! I can’t wait for the next story set in Ayden’s world. Just give me more Ayden!

I didn't really care for this book cover at first, but after reading it I can see some of the details pulled straight from the story itself. Unfortunately, it is not as beautiful, nor as hot, as the cover for Counterpoint! No cover can compare to that.

Please don’t let my review scare you away from reading this. I think if you loved the first book then you will love this one, too. Ayden and Freyrík’s journey through prejudices and self sacrifice is totally worth it in the end. Their story is amazing!
Profile Image for Trio.
2,898 reviews170 followers
October 21, 2020
Stunning! I'm mad at myself for waiting so long to listen to the second half of this amazing story.

What an epic tale - these characters, this quest, the lavish and gorgeous way that Rachel Haimowitz tells the story. It's quite an experience.

Audiobook fans, you've just got to do it. Giles Barron does a stunning job with this varied and enormous cast.
Profile Image for Emanuela ~plastic duck~.
805 reviews115 followers
November 18, 2011
Awwww! Beautiful!

The writing is really a part of the story and it enters your mind, holds your hand and takes you to another world, another place. There's also a fine humorous vein that made the darker moments a bit lighter. It was as if the author was telling the story whispering in my ear, but the writing is not shy at all. It's intimate and personal, the perfect instrument for the narration.

In the previous book, Ayden and Freyrik had to face their own prejudice and that of Freyrik's people to find love in their relationship. Ayden was the one who faced distrust and danger, who had to fight to keep his pride intact, while falling in love with the enemy, with the man who kept him prisoner. Freyrik had to balance his status as a ruler with his role of lover.

In this book, Ayden and Freyrik both have to face danger, deceit and betrayal in a hostile setting. The political scheming in the Aegis' High Court kept me always on edge because it translated into Freyrik's inner torment and into Ayden's physical harassing, but it was beautifully balanced by the sweetness and tenderness of Ayden and Freyrik's relationship, their pure and unquenchable desire and love.

Both men have to question their loyalties, which have the potential of bringing them apart. Both aim to noble goals, to the freedom of their peoples, and these may be conflicting, but Ayden and Freyrik are loyal to each other and incredibly they find the way to make things work, each sacrificing something in turn. Each of them has to make difficult choices and sometimes it's only the blind faith in their love that makes them strong and makes them endure their trials.

In this book Freyrik seemed to me more emotional and fragile. He is forced to become a leader against his inspiration, he doesn't shy away from his responsibilities, but he is conflicted and I liked the way he sought comfort from his elf. Ayden, stripped of his mind-ear, devoid of his song, has to learn to be human in a way, to get accustomed to imperfection, and to understand Freyrik the hard way, with human senses. For his king Ayden swallows his pride time and again, trying to keep him sheltered from the things which could hurt him.

The story, the romance, the setting, the writing, each element is really beautiful and crafted with skill and passion and took me on a journey that I enjoyed to make. Big time.
Profile Image for Tere.
105 reviews
April 10, 2013
I'm so mad with this book!!! Rather, with the author. I read Counterpoint last year while reading Prisoner because I was trying to make Bloodraven last as much as possible, it was like my fantasypaloza. In retrospective, I think while I liked all three books, Bloodraven being my absolutely favourite, Counterpoint was my less favourite, hence, I read the second part several months after.

Like I said, I'm MAD, even more after reading the acknowledgments because Rachel said this was a three years project and I totally believe her because the lore and world building was terrific, the musical theme was GREAT and I want it for a movie and/or TV series. Everything was great, a wonderful crescendo of events until... the "are-you-fucking-kidding-me" ending. I can't believe, it's like taking a almost fully baked cake (a huge bridal one) and burning and kicking it one minute before serving it. What should had been the mother of battles and confrontations at the end (at least, that's supposed to happen in fantasy in general if you have one big bad ass evil one as your villain) was so lackluster and, as if that wasn't enough, IT FADES TO BLACK! It freaking fades to black and then we're presented with a nice wrapped epilogue, two months ahead. Why, Rachel, why?! I've only read, besides from this series, Power Play from the author, but in both we see this magical epilogue were everything is solved, no further explanation whatsoever.

It pains me to my bones, this was easily another 4 stars book for me (I may have cut some of the multiples scenes were Ayden was being tortured, it was very repetitive) but after that ending, I cannot give it more than three. I could count a lot more questions easily ignored by the author and after all the love and effort she put in this series, that's almost as she didn't care anymore at the end. Really, the ending is SO bad I can't even comment on all the other stuff I really liked!
Profile Image for Karen.
1,859 reviews84 followers
July 6, 2018
4.5 stars rounded down to 4. Loved this one.

and the story continues...

You might remember that I reviewed the audio book for 'Counterpoint' the first book in this duology about a month ago and I loved it...well, some things haven't changed because I loved this one as well.

'Crescendo' picks up right where we left off at the end of 'Counterpoint'. Freyrik and Ayden are heading for the High Court where their presence has been demanded by the Aegis Exalted.

As the tensions between elves and humans grows, so does the love between Freyrik and Ayden. Things go from bad to worse when the Aegis binds Aydin's magic and Aydin discovers that he's not the only elf being held prisoner by the high court. Between the intrigues of the high court, the threat posed to mankind's existence by the dark beast and the machinations of Freyrik's brother as he plots the down fall of the Aegis. Freyrik and Aydin are fighting not just for their survival but the survival of both of their races.

This book...Wow! Just wow! It's been quite a while since I've read a fantasy novel that contained a plot that captured me as strongly as this one did. The plot for this story was a little more complex than the usual and things often weren't quite as they seemed especially where the Aegis and the high court were concerned and I loved it but I have to admit keeping track of all the subtle twist, turns and nuances of events as they transpired and the impact that they would have on events and individuals was a bit challenging.

I loved the pacing and the ongoing world building that occurred in this book always being given enough of both to keep my imagination fully engaged and the story moving at what for me was a steady pace and while not to fast it also didn't drag.

I was on the edge of my seat pretty much from start to finish as Freyrik and Ayden struggled to find a solution that would save both of their races and allow them to be together. Their's is not an easy relationship and sadly more often than not it's Ayden who pays the price in blood, pain and ultimately with the binding of his magic. While his faith in Freyrik may falter at times it never fails and in the end when they need each other it holds strong.

My one and only niggle was the ending and even this by no means spoiled things for me. I have to admit that after all that they went through to save their races and each other I would have liked a little more happy times with Rik and Ayden but still all things considered knowing that they got to be together was a big plus.

While Craig Beck was the narrator for the first book, Giles Barron took on the challenge of narrating 'Crescendo' and I was really pleased with his narration. While I had a month between the first and second book it was by no means enough time to forget the wonderful narration that I enjoyed in 'Counterpoint' and fortunately Mr. Barron was equal to the task drawing me back into the story effortlessly and giving me voices that held all of the expression and consistency that was present in the first book.

'Song of the Fallen' is my first time reading this author aside from a short story and a book co-written with another author and I have to admit maybe that's not such a good thing because for me this one has set the standard pretty high for future books by Ms. Haimowitz and needless to say I'll be adding Giles Barron to my list of narrators that I like.


An audio book of 'Crescendo' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Fani *loves angst*.
1,616 reviews229 followers
December 18, 2014
What a huge disappointment after the first book this one was! Not only was it too dark and painful with Ayden getting humiliated and punished all the time, but lovely, wonderful, sweet Freyrik of book #1, turned into a blind, self-righteous, hard headed a$$hole, who couldn't hear anything wrong about his King or humans in general. Near the end, I was positively hoping they would end up separated because Ayden deserved so much better than this. And what an ending it was! Everyone who's read a fantasy or two, knows the final battle's supposed to be epic, the battle of all battles. Here though, it barely spanned a couple of pages. Talk about complete let down:(

The plot was satisfying though and intriguing enough to keep me guessing about loyalties and secret agendas all the time, hence the 3 stars. Romance-wise though, it was a huge disappointment, as those two spent most time bickering or planning their separate courses of action, than together. After what they went through in the first book, I expected to see them happy at least for a while; alas, it did not happen.

Profile Image for Dreamer.
1,775 reviews128 followers
June 4, 2016
Unputdownable sequel to Counterpoint. Great tale of m/m romance and epic fantasy adventure.

"You have never laid your pride down, Freyrik. Not once, for me or anyone. You don't know what it means to give that up, even for a moment. And yet you ask it of me again and again! Tell me, Freyrik, what more can you wring from me? Have I not done enough for you to trust me, gods crack you?"

Re-read 14th April 2013
Profile Image for Claudia.
2,596 reviews82 followers
November 17, 2019
2nd review Nov 2019
Still loved it but was really disappointed with Ferick.
He always tries to do better by Aden but never pulls through.
Especially the one sentence "would it have been so bad" .... I am not sure I could have forgiven him
But the second half was more satisfying. The ending is a bit quick but well done.
All in all 4.5 stars

1st review
even though I was a bit disappointed with both I loved this book nearly as much as the first one
great series
Profile Image for T.J..
Author 56 books31.5k followers
December 3, 2011
Enjoyable, though not as much as the first.
Profile Image for ⚣Michaelle⚣.
3,672 reviews202 followers
November 8, 2019
4.5 Stars

Gah! Rachel is so good at world-building and telling an engaging story that it didn't matter that I'd read the first book over 2 years ago; I had no problem picking up where the tale left off and immediately dropped into the action. Once again I find myself wishing that more Fantasy-based books were this engrossing, this detailed, this sexy and romantic. Fantasy isn't a genre I read a lot of (not including UF/SPN/PNR) but I would read (and listen) more if I were sure I'd get this kind of quality.

Loved the narration...now I need to go back and listen to the first one!
357 reviews139 followers
November 11, 2014
~Arc provided via Netgalley in exchange for honest review~

"...and suddenly it didn't matter that their songs couldn't twine when their bodies and hearts and minds fit so perfectly, harmonized so exquisitely well. He hung in the moment, a perfect crescendo, and wanted for absolutely nothing."

Crescendo- A steady increase in intensity or force; a gradual increase in the loudness of a sound or section of music.

The 2nd and the final installment in the Songs of the Fallen series had everything I felt the 1st was missing. I liked the 1st book in the series a lot, but I wished that there had been more in-depth building of the fantasy world and less of the war strategies and this time to my delight we get that and much more.

The 2nd book continues right after the ending of the first one and that worrisome cliffhanger. Freyrik & Ayden are being taken to see the Aegis, Freyrik's king who heard about Freyrik's victory and infatuation with the beautiful elf slave and doesn't seem so pleased with the fact that Freyrik kept Ayden hidden from him, but there's also a hidden purpose to it all about which they find out from the Aegis himself later on. After their arrival Freyrik & Ayden get separated and forced to get involved in the ruthless and corrupting politics of the court which puts again their love, life and possible future together on test and what's even worse they take away from Ayden the one thing he always could rely on, the core of his being- his magic.

"Deaf...No. Worse than deaf. For all the beauty in the world's music had been shattered, stripped away, leaving only this broken wailing wrong in its place."

The fantasy fans will be in for a treat with this installment, because the author truly did her best when it comes to creating a unique and interesting fantasy world. We get to meet both sides of the courts- the human's and the elven's, their politics and their background and in the end we finally find out what really had happened between their ancestors in the past and made humans and elves sworn enemies. In a magical world of lies, secrets, betrayals can something so pure as love survive?

The story was dark, thrilling, heart-wrenching with some steamy scenes inbetween. I liked Freyrik a lot, but Ayden has stolen the hit spot yet again and remains my favorite character in this series. Whereas he did have a few spoiled and immature outbreaks in the first book, in this installment his more mature and brave side came to attention and what was even more admirable- his unwavering devotion and love towards Freyrik. In comparison to him Freyrik had a few moments of insecurity and doubt this time making him quite selfish in my eyes and making me believe that Ayden put more on stake than him when it comes to their forbidden romance, but you just wait, because eventually he will do *something* truly brave and heart-wrenching which will redeem every moment of doubt.

One of the best characteristics of this story is the beautiful, poetic writing style. It truly shows the amazing talent of this author and when all secrets come out you'll understand the true meaning behind this title and the series and how they fit perfectly into the story. The only thing I wish she did a bit differently is the search and the battle against the Fallen in the 2nd half of the book which I felt concluded too quickly and considering its importance I think the author should have described it more thoroughly. Other than that the story was perfect and the ending was more than satisfying. I recommend this series to all mm readers who are fans of mm fantasy books with an epic love story. This series were my first books by R. Haimowitz, but they definitely won't be the last.

"He risked meeting Freyrik's eyes, saw within them a reflection of the malestorm he heard in Freyrik's song. Fear, anxiety, carefully controlled panic...And love, gods, such love. Trust me, his gaze said. Always, he thought back..."

This review is posted on Way Too Hot Books.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
Author 21 books105 followers
November 28, 2011
I re-read Counterpoint for the bingo challenge and that one ends so up in the air I had to read this immediately. =) Rachel does not disappoint. She evokes emotion so viscerally I spent about middle third of the book close to tears as Rik dealt with being powerless to help those he loves and Ayden dealt with the hopelessness of being captive and as they both did their best to do what was necessary for their people while remaining true to each other. I have to admit though, the ending seemed rushed. As the next to last chapter ended (on a significant cliff hanger), I thought the book was over. And that there would need to be a whole nother book to resolve everything. But then there was one more chapter and it was all resolved in a deus ex machina feeling way. It was such a rich story with such great characters, plot and world building that the resolution lacked the depth the rest of the two books had. So, however much I loved most of this book I can't give it 5 stars. It is a 4 star rating. But despite my complaints about the end it definitely worth reading. So go out and read it!!!
Profile Image for ❂ Endless.
162 reviews6 followers
September 19, 2012
I think Ms. Haimowitz loves to invoke very strong emotions in her readers. There were several instances where i simply put the book down and did not want to read further 'cos i was led to believe that horrendous events lay ahead which i would be better off not reading. It's kinda like the stimulus of closing your eyes tight right before something hits you and you saw it coming a split sec in advance.

But...!!!! I picked up the book again and again from where I left off multiple times and finished it!

All of the above is testament to the masterful way this saga has been written. For 2 entire books I lived and breathed in a beautifully crafted world conjured up by the author, with some of the most cleverly put-together believable characters I've ever met!

It has been a most exquisite experience.

Can't say this enough - RECOMMENDED!
Profile Image for Dee Wy.
1,456 reviews
November 28, 2011
This sequel to Counterpoint does not disappoint. Freyrik and Ayden continue to face many challenges, first from Freyrik's people, especially their supreme ruller and then from Ayden's Elvin people as well. Together they continue to support each other, though circumstances often make them wonder if that support can possibly continue.

Overall this was an exciting read that had me wanting to knock my head against a wall in frustration at all the setbacks and punishment they endured and at other times holding my breath when I wasn't sure how they could survive to live another day.

The moral of this story is "love and courage can conquer all."
Profile Image for Chris.
2,854 reviews204 followers
November 27, 2012
4.5 stars. Very good m/m fantasy romance picking right up where the first book left off, as a human prince-regent and his elven lover-slave try to find their way through deceit and betrayal and perhaps save both their races.
Profile Image for Jeff Erno.
Author 62 books629 followers
January 2, 2012
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.
16 reviews1 follower
May 28, 2012
It was a terrible idea to start off EXACTLY where the first book left off. That in itself seemed very unimaginative, boring and rushed.

Again, the setting was very believable (the writing was the same but easy to ignore) but the characters where everything but! I had lots of issues with the Aegis It was like the author was playing nice and couldn't stand the thought of killing off characters.

Which, all the characters you meet in this book is a little over whelming. You meet so many and yet don't really get a proper development or feel of the character before there's another one popping up.

The situations Freyrík and Ayden got in where horribly predictable; Freyrík failing to help or protect Ayden and Ayden being his predictable self-righteous, elf-ways-are-better-than-humans self and getting beaten by the (terribly portrayed) humans. (To the point of irritation, really.)

It was a very disappointing read.
Profile Image for Christina.
727 reviews120 followers
November 3, 2016
This was a great sequel. A solid 4.5 stars. Crescendo picks up with Freyrik and Ayden being summoned to the High Court. Over and over, their love is put to the test. They are both put in utterly hopeless situations. Once again Ayden is enslaved. His magic and his ability to hear songs is blocked. What Ayden went through was simply heart-breaking. Freyrik also had to make impossible choices. This time, not only was his love for Ayden on the line but also his loyalty and love for his brother and the Aegis.

I loved the adventures they went on. The world is exquisite. The description of the road into the High Court and the quest leading to the final battle with the dark elves and ferals was so vivid I felt I was right there with them.

My only complaint was the ending. It felt completely rushed. One minute the elves and humans are in the final battle with the ferals and the next we're back at the high court. After over 300 years of hatred it was all erased with one battle. This seems very unlikely. It's completely feasible that after time the two races could come together but this was way too quick. I would have loved to have seen the reaction of the Aegis when Ayden and Freyrik returned. I also thought the romance was a bit lacking. Even with these two points, I still loved the story.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ili Anuar.
49 reviews6 followers
December 1, 2011
I wanted to like this book. I really did but it was such a frustrating and torturous read. I think it lacks the actions and the thrill of the first book.
Things I liked:
2)The Elven Kingdom. I wish they had spent more time here instead of the High Court.

Things that made me pull my hair out:
1)Freyrik. It’s frustrating to see how he failed Ayden time and time again. He should have shown at least a bit of backbone and stood his ground. At some point I think Ayden would be better off without him.
2)The High Court drama stretched for far too long. It thrilled me at first but then I lost interest.
3)The ending. It feels like things are too easily wrapped up. And a bit too cheesy too :p
Profile Image for Em.
648 reviews132 followers
October 26, 2014
I enjoyed reading this one even more than the first, it had a lot more angst and the last 20% or so was full of nail biting action. Freyrík and Ayden are closer than they have ever been and determined to appreciate every second they have together in case it's their last. I was a bit anxious about the ending and how it could possibly turn out alright for them but I couldn't be happier!

Profile Image for Mercedes.
1,063 reviews93 followers
April 4, 2015
3.5 stars

I didn't like how everything gets swept up under the rug at the end. The plot is literally solved in the last 2% of the book with a handy epilogue. What's the point of the plot then if it gets wrapped up neatly off page?
Profile Image for Marc | Rainbow Gold Reviews.
481 reviews50 followers
October 4, 2014
Song of the Fallen Series Review:

The Covers: The new covers are very beautiful! Perfect art for fantasy stories. I find it most amazing that the artist Simoné managed to capture an aspect of the novels that is extremely important, but does not naturally translate to graphic art. Sounds. Songs. Music. Everything has it’s own song for those able to listen and in the first cover the elf is almost glowing with music and power surrounding him, in the second cover it is very significant that he seems ashen and weak, without any light around him.

The Titles:The meaning of the series title ‘Song of the Fallen’ only reveals itself fully to the reader in book two, but it sounds ominous and intriguing. Book one is ‘Counterpoint’ and works well with the dangerous game the two main protagonists are playing in it. Book Two is ‘Crescendo’ which works well with the songs of all things and how Aiden is affected in this book.

The Story: ‘Counterpoint’

I must be honest. ‘Counterpoint’ is one of the very first books I read and loved in the M/M genre. I found it by discovering the Goodreads list ‘Best Fantasy with LGBT protagonists. You could even say that Rachel is one of the people responsible for me becoming becoming addicted to the genre and eventually becoming a reviewer ;)That also means it has been quite a while since I read book one and did not remember everything. I have read about 400 M/M books since, so that was to be expected. However, I never forgot about the book. I remember it as one of the best fantasy books in the genre I read and highly enjoyed the shifting dynamic between elf and human, hate and love.

Usually, i can’t read stories with slavery. It is such a terrible and horrible thing to me that reading about it is often too much. In fantasy and historical settings I can sometimes stomach it, if it is well written. This story is at times dark and gritty and the characters make some bad decisions, but I appreciated that Freyrik was not interested in having Ayden in his bed against his will. He never forced love making on his elf prisoner, though of course the relationship between a prisoner and his keeper can never be equal and Freyrik held the elf’s sister safe from harm, giving him additional power over Ayden.

It is an enemies to lovers story between a human and an elf, two enemies at war! I loved discovering more about their shared history, how differently they see what happened in the past and how differently humans, with their shorter life span, look at the world. They were not there when the terrible thing happened that brought war and destruction to the two people and created a dark force that the humans can only barely and at great cost hold at bay. Rachel Haimowitz’ world is unique – a new, inspired setting with a well drawn mythology. There is the constant threat at the edge of the human kingdom, the expectation people have of their ruler, the social pressures that have to be navigated and most fascinating of all, the magic of the elfs. All of it changes the world from one that would be similar to our to one that has to adjust to the realities they are faced with and their behavior seems very authentic to human nature, even if the stimuli they react to is not something people in our world ever had to worry about in that extend.

Ayden is able to hear the song of everything in the world, which also gives him the emphatic ability to know how Freyrik feels, which often helps him to analyse the man and determine truth from lies. The whole concept of that is immensly interesting and I was a s curious about the magic as Freyrik was.

It is something not a lot of humans seem to know a lot about. They are still not at peace, but have a fragile agreement not to kill each other as long as the borders are not crossed. Still, there is a lot of hatred in the hearts of both races, which can easily be seen in Freyrik and Ayden. A lot of distrust and hatred, but there is room for more than that. Freyrik is interested in learning more about Ayden and his culture, open to that, even as he blindly trusts the stories about the war that he has been told. Ayden is highly suspicious of the human and as prisoner of the human prince, has a hard time accepting his positive sides, even when his senses make them known to him.

I love stories where enemies fall in love (even if at first there are different reasons for the human and the elf to be together). They are not supposed to love each other, but they just can’t help themselves. Against every reason and their own judgement, a tentative trust and affection develops between the unequal pair. Something that surely can never lasts in a dark world such as this.

It does not take very long until the freshly forged connection is tested to the very extreme – by a threat that could destroy them all.

If you like fantasy stories, this is a definitive ‘MUST READ’. it felt very similar to ‘The Captive Prince’, though ‘Counterpoint’ has a faster pace and more fantastical aspects. I thoroughly enjoyed myself – HOWEVER there is a big cliffhanger in the end. A huge cliffhanger that completely changes the game and the way this story was headed. Be warned and get both books at once! Both are integral to get the whole picture and reading only one will feel completely incomplete. ‘Counterpoint’ and ‘Crescendo’ are the complete series, though, so you can start it without worrying that you have to wait a long time for a sequel and will have to hang from the cliff for the whole time.

9 out of 10 pots of gold


The Story: ‘Crescendo’

As mentioned above, first book ends in a major cliffhanger and really both books should be read back-to-back. They very much belong together. After reading book 1 I didn’t have time to continue the journey immediately and when I finally had the time again, too much time had past to feel comfortable reading book 2, before reading the first book again. I never got around to it, but when this tour came along I could no longer resist. It was the perfect timing and I remembered that I really liked book one.

I was a bit surprised just how much I enjoyed it. It was a great read and after going back to it, I couldn’t wait to start ‘Crescendo’. I was ready.

Well, the story has a different setting, different secondary characters and a very different feeling. After the twist of book one, Ayden and Freyrik are thrust into new circumstances and their loyalties are tested. There are so many opposing loyalties at work here that it made things rather complicated, but at no time did I have problem following the plot.

At this point we know that Freyrik and Ayden love each other and would sacrifice a lot for each other. However, they stil believe much of what they have been told by their people, they just recognize that despite their beliefs, they can trust the other. To a certain extend. I was very naive to think that their love would come before everything else. Of course the circumstances they find themselves in, leave little room to navigate.

They might love each other, but they both have loyalties that have to come before themselves and their own feelings. They have different priorities and different struggles. Both are drawn into their own plots and there are high stakes at play in both. Through it all, however, I was glad that these facts did not diminish what Freyrik and Ayden found in each others arms. They were just powerless to really change the situation they found themselves in and had to follow their own paths to make a difference, even if they might both die for it.

Even as a reader you had no idea what is right and what wrong, who the good guys are and where this book would go. There are difficult choices to make, but whenever I believed I knew what the right thing to do was or what Ayden and Freyrik would choose to do in the end, I was proven wrong. I did make a few assumptions at first, even was annoyed at one of the characters for making decisions that seemed obviously stupid to me. After all that happened, why could Freyrik still so adore his brother and his ruler?

I wanted him to realize all the horrible and unforgivable things they had done and place his only loyalties into his lover. But Ayrik made some mistakes as well and they are both flawed and ‘human’ characters. There is no one who is entirely good or bad. The ‘bad’ guys we want to hate have reasons for their actions, even if we hate them for some of the things they do and say. The good guys will make decisions that show their dark sides, but even in betrayal, it is easy to see that every action has a reason. Everytime the direction of the story seems obvious, it become clear that it is in fact not.

The story and the characters continued to surprise me in refreshing and unexpected ways and I felt like the end was very satisfying. Even too much. There will probably be many people glowering at me for saying this, but it felt like the bittersweet ending that almost happened should have stayed the ending. For a dark and gritty fantasy story, it would have been a poetic conclusion. But, alas, there is a happy ending and since I know a lot of you need to know that everything will end up alright in some way, don’t worry. You will not be left wit a bleeding heart! Since HEAs or at least HFNs are ‘required’ for M/M stories, I won’t take away from my rating, just because I personally don’t need them to have a HEA. And in fact, the ending that does happen left me happy and with a smile on my lips *g*

Again, ABSOLUTE ‘must read’ for fantasy fans and easy to read even for people with little fantasy experience!

10 out of 10 pots of gold
Profile Image for AGandyGirl.
687 reviews1 follower
September 26, 2017

This was amazing...but my heavens, an entire book was missing between the last 2 Chapters.  
I mean...

...surely we will get THAT "chapter".  For goodness sakes.
Now aside from that aspect, this was absolutely breathtaking, equally stressful and even painful at times.  So many heartbreaking moments depicted with some of the most beautiful writing I have read.  I was kinda a mess the entire book. But it was so worth it.
*Highly Recommended*
Now let me stalk the author for more.  *grumbles*
Profile Image for Diane.
619 reviews
March 20, 2012
I just loved this book! I loved the characters of Ayden and Freyrik. Their relationship was just so wonderful. Warm and loving and trusting. I liked the way the first book of this series (Counterpoint)was about the way that Ayden and Ric started out as enemies, but came to love and trust one another.This love and trust was really put to the test in this second novel in which they are summoned to High court and Ayden had to play the part of slave instead of lover to Freyrik. They are sent on a journey in which they have to learn to trust one another and perhaps make decisions just because it is for the good of the other person in the relationship even though it may mean the end of their relationship. I loved that they are each other's quiet place to get away from the storm of everything that is happening around them.
I did feel that the end of the book was a bit rushed and was glad that there was a chapter to explain what happened.
This was a marvelous book and I would highly recommend it to anyone...especially after reading the first book in the series.
Profile Image for Don Bradshaw.
2,304 reviews93 followers
November 30, 2011
This was an amazing HEA ending to a terrific fantasy series. Just as Freyrik was going to let Ayden escape back to his people, he is summoned to the capital city. Forced to bring Ayden with him as a slave by the Aegis or king of all kings, Freyrik is caught up in court politics. Ayden is stripped of his song and beaten, abused and almost killed. Freyrik's allegiances are split between his love for his brother and the Aegis when a plot to assassinate the Aegis is formed. The tables are soon turned and Rik and Ayden are forced to march on the Elven Republic where Freyrik learns what the indignities inflicted upon Ayden feel like. Ms Haimowitz masterfully pulls the reader right into the book and makes the emotions of her main characters felt. It was a tough book to put down once I finished it because I didn't want to leave the world so intricately woven. This series is a must read by and fantasy fan.
Profile Image for Shelba.
1,848 reviews34 followers
January 21, 2018
This series was a disappointment for me. I'd read good things about it, but in the end it probably comes down to the fact that I couldn't stand Freyrik. Ayden's affection for "Rik" is just baffling, I figure he must be suffering from Stockholm. And I liked Ayden as a character, but his love of Freyrik just seems like a huge character flaw. I am surprised that there are any sex scenes in this book, given that Freyrik lacks balls to do anything but make excuses for never lifting a finger for Ayden. The point in which he asks Ayden if it would have been so bad to have been gang-raped was pretty much the point in which I was over this book, over this series. It took me an unbearable long time to finish this book...though at this point Freyrik was beyond redemption. And of course, the day & humanity is saved in some vague, glossed over manner...though maybe I actually missed the one sentence explanation, because I more scanned over the last 1/4 of the book than actually read it.
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