Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Review: King of Sword and Sky

Title: King of Sword and Sky
Author: C. L. Wilson
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Tairen Soul/Book 3

Tairen's breath of fire reigns,
She of red hair feeds the flame.
She soothes the soul cast in chains
Because of love she holds no blame.

While he embraces her love so pure
And guides her to her waiting fate.
With magic and sword they will secure
This land of legend and truemates.

The third book in the Tairen Soul series is nothing short of wonderful. After reading Lord of the Fading Lands and Lady of Light and Shadows it was obvious that C. L. Wilson wasn't just a one hit wonder. She has what it takes for amazing world building and fascinating storytelling. This isn't just a fantasy romance. This book has everything ~ action, romance, friendship, magic, darkness, light, good and evil. It's epic without being overwhelming. The flow of events and character development is done with a gentle touch here and a push when needed there.

Rainier vel'en Daris. Rain Tairen Soul. Rain. This is the story of his journey to his rightful place as King of the Fading Lands. His battle with himself and with the Fey who still question his leadership. His need to keep his people, both Tairen and Fey, safe from death is what drives him. His love for Ellie is what keeps him from losing hope.

Rain is one of those heroes that stays with you long after you've moved on to other books. You find yourself comparing the hero of your current read to Rain. Is he as loyal as Rain? As smart as Rain? As good looking as Rain? Can he fly? Breathe fire? Can he make that adorable chuffing sound when he laughs? Yes, Rain is a difficult hero to follow. But he does have his faults. He can be overbearing, arrogant, stubborn. But all of that is what makes him such a compelling character. He's not perfect even with all his magical abilities. He is still flawed. And that is what makes him so special. So real.

His love for his blade brothers (love that term) is demonstrated time and again. I think it's so important for the hero to have that core group of friends. It doesn't have to be a big group, just ones that give the reader a chance to see the hero interact with and allow us to get to know him better through those interactions. To see all sides of him, not just his relationship with the heroine.

Ellysetta Baristani. Feyreisa. Ellie. She has come so far since we first met her. She was the shy, quiet daughter of the master woodcarver Sol Baristani and his wife Lauriana. She is now coming into her own power and beginning to feel comfortable with her abilities. Her love for family and her desire to help the Tairen lead her to her destiny.

Ellie wasn't the easiest heroine for me to connect with at the beginning of the series. She started out a little too timid for me but has evolved into a strong, remarkable woman. Her courage comes not necessarily from confidence in her abilities but from her love. It's in everything she does. In the decisions that she makes. Her love is there. She is the driving force behind Rain and his ability to overcome his past. I have come to adore her calm strength and her stubbornness in the face of Rain's own stubbornness. I think Rain acknowledges Ellie's strength by not sheltering her from the truth, even though he knows it will at times cause her pain.

The love between Rain and Ellie isn't just in the way they lean on each other. The physical lovemaking is a very large part of who they are and how they connect. The love scenes are sweet, tender and very hot. With lots of giving and taking by both. There are enough of these scenes to leave no doubt that Wilson can write some very steamy love scenes.

As the story progresses the reader gets to see Rain and Ellie deal with the obstacles that every king and queen may face. Questions about there leadership and their loyalty. The politics that go on in every kingdom also occur in the Fading Lands. We get to see how they deal with these issues, how they rely on each other's strengths. The day to day workings of a kingdom. I found it gave a realistic feel to this magical world that Wilson has created.

Vadim Maur. High Mage of Eld. Nasty bastard. This guy is the Hannibal Lecter of mages. He is evil incarnate. And he is exactly what this book/series needed. To have an antagonist that wasn't up for the challenge of what Rain, Ellie and company could dish out would have left the story lacking. Give me a powerful opponent, one who keeps me guessing. Oh sure, I know in the end the good guys will win but the end isn't here yet and you don't win the war without losing some battles.

And that leaves us with some of my favorite secondary characters. Although, I don't really think of them as secondary, they are such an integral part of the story. They are Gaelen vel Serranis, Belliard vel Jelani (Bel), Kieran vel Solande and Keil vel Tomar. These Fey warriors are the ones that Rain and Ellie trust with their family and at their backs. There is also the pride of Tairens. These great, winged cats. The character development of the Tairens is so vivid. They are not merely large, magical cats but beings with emotions and needs. With love for their pride that is just as strong as what the Fey and mortals feel.

I do want to thank you one and all who read my attempt at poetry at the beginning of the review. I'm not sure what came over me but when I sat down to write that's what came out so I went with it.

Just in case you were wondering, yes, I would highly recommend this book/series. lol It isn't a stand alone so you really need to start with the first book of the series.

King of Sword and Sky is a book you can literally curl up with and loose yourself in. The next and final book in Rain and Ellie's story is Queen of Song and Souls, due out in June 2009. For more on the writings of C. L. Wilson she has a magical website full in information about the Tairen Soul series, characters, language and the world of Rain and Ellie.

Rating: A+


  1. That's it. I absolutely have to read this. Maybe I can find it on audio, as I am just finishing Sharon Shinn's Mystic and Rider, and am on a fantsay kick!

  2. *opera voice* Aaaawwwesome!

    Could.not.agree.more! Great review!

  3. Aaaah, I want to read this series sooo bad, but I've never been able to find it in my local bookstores (particular because a) all the smarter romance readers bought it first, ha or b) the clerks didn't know whether to put it in fantasy or romance). Heck, though, my birthday's coming up and I've got money coming in, I'm not going to wait anymore - "Lord of the Fading Lands" is the first one, right?

  4. Jessica ~ If you love fantasy and romance Wilson's series is for you.

    KMont ~ Aaaww - she sang for me. lol
    Is it June yet? Luvs this series!

    AnimeJune ~ Sorry you've had a hard time finding the books. Yep, Lord of the Fading Lands is first. psst ~ I found a copy today @ B & N. I think a giveaway is in order. : )