Saturday, November 1, 2008
Lord of The Fading Lands - C.L. Wilson
Another fantasy book and another genre I usually stay away from but am now happy that in this case I didn’t.
Long ago, in the magical holocaust known as the Mage Wars, the immortal Fey and their allies fought to defeat the grasping evil of the Elden Mages and their dark-gifted supporters. During those wars, in a fit of grief-induced madness caused by the death of his mate, Fey shapeshifter Rain Tairen Soul nearly destroyed the world in a blaze of tairen fire.
Now, a thousand years later, the fierce Fey king must fight to save his race from the brink of extinction and once again stop the evil rising in the homeland of his enemies, the Eld. The key to his success lies in the mortal city of Celieria, where the Mage Wars began, and with a young woman whose soul sings to him in ways no woman’s ever has, whose presence reawakens the primal fury of the tairen within his soul, and whose vast, untapped power can either save or destroy him and his people.
I'm finding that these fantasy stories that have medieval resonance and speak of races that have a long history themselves, that have traditions, customs and wars that make them almost an epic are really to my taste.
Lord of the Fading Land deals with Rain Tairen Soul, the king of the Fey who is trying to save his people. A long long time ago they were involved in the Mage wars and since then the Tairen are dying. To try to find a solution he consults the Eye. The answer he gets is a woman, a woman who will save them. To find her he travels to Celieria, the first time in a thousand years, and there he finds Ellie, his soul mate. A soul mate is someone with whom one has a connection of the soul, you can’t fight it or deny it, and it’s a bond for life once it is accepted. Ellie is a woodcrafter’s daughter and has no idea how important she is for the Tairen and for his people. In fact in the beginning she is not only overwhelmed but also intimidated by him and the set of protectors he decided she needs. Ellie is not like other celierians, we know from the beginning that there’s some mystery surrounding her birth and to try and protect her, her mother has made her stay away from all things magic. It makes it double hard for her to accept Rain and all the magic that he controls. It was interesting to see the great Tairen Soul trying to woo Ellie, she is his only hope for the future and not succeeding is not an option so despite an unsympathetic family, meddling neighbors and the surprise of Celieria royal family he starts gaining her trust and slowly making her aware of the magic she also possesses.
But there are enemies working against them. Ellie’s dreams are being haunted but a dark and mysterious figure, the Celierians are planning a treaty with the Eld who were their and Tairen enemies in the Mage wars and Rain is the only one defending that this is an error as the dark is rising again. The Eld are in fact already infiltrating Celieria and they don’t hesitate to use Ellie’s friends and even the Queen in their strategy to gain power and destroy the Tairen.
I did like the characters especially Rain Tairen Soul, I felt he was the most complex character and there’s still more to know about him. He had a previous mate but she was not a mate of his soul, she was a mate of his heart. In his treatment of her memory and the pain he endured during the Mage wars we have a glimpse of how deeply he feels and of how he will deal with Ellie if she accepts him. I also liked Ellie and felt she had more potential. She is still learning what she is and the powers she has, it feels a bit like we had a small taste of them here and more will be developed in future books. She is a common girl who suddenly is elevated to the status of a queen and is a bit unsure of how to behave but she is also a determined young woman, specially where it concerns protecting her family and friends, but is still not as strong as we feel she maybe be capable of being.
Ellie’s family was a hit and miss, I loved her twin sisters but really disliked her parents especially her mother. Too religious and ready to let a child suffer to be exorcised of something s. And I loved the 5th Fey that were charged with Ellie’s protection. They were all interesting and although the one we end up knowing better is Bel I am very interested in revisiting them all in future books.
The book does have a lot of strange names and in the beginning it’s easy to be confused. The author has added a lexicon at the end that really does come handy to understand what they are.
So I’m looking forward to the action to go back to the Fading Lands where I think the setting will be more appealing to me, to see how Rain and Ellie’s courtship progresses (it is a novel idea that even soul mates have to work in their relation) and how they are going to fight the Eld. The story doesn’t exactly have an end, one is in fact left hanging because the story develops through the four books that of the series. Fortunately I already have books 2 and 3 in the TBR pile…