Remember how much I loved The Winter King by CL Wilson? Well, I went out (introvert code for online) and bought the first book in her first series, Tairen Soul.
So, now I’m sucked into a five book series…my blog appearances over the next week will be spotty. Rather than review each book, I’ll lump them into a series review when I finish all of them.
But I’ll review the first now, because I can’t wait to rave about it.
Lord of the Fading Lands is the first book in the Tairen Soul series. What the heck is a Tairen? A magnificent, fire-breath cat with wings. Some tairens are actually Fey who are Tairen Soul and can transform into tairen. The tairen is depicted on the cover of the book, so basically I’ve been picturing a panther with wings. You can also Google ‘tairen soul’ and find a bunch of awesome fanart.
The story focuses on Ellysetta (I will refer to her by her nickname, Ellie, here on out because I dislike the name Ellysetta), who is the woodcarver’s ginger-haired daughter, and King Rain, who is the king of the Fey (he is also depicted in the cover art, but I pictured him as a black-haired Legolas). The tairen are dying, which means the Fey will die with them. In a vision, Rain sees he must visit Celeiria to find the key to helping the tairen.
Oh boy, does he. Ellie’s soul calls out to him and he realizes she’s his truemate—the mate of his soul. The rest of the book focuses on Ellie’s adoptive background, their courtship, and a bunch of crazy political stuff involving soul stealing Mages, bossy lords, and catty ladies. There is plenty of magic and fantasy to go around.
I absolutely loved this book. Wilson’s storytelling is fantastic, and I think I enjoyed this one even more than The Winter King.
The worldbuilding is phenomenal. The history and background between the Fey, Celeiria, and Eld (the land of the Mages) is incredibly rich and full of detail—but not so much detail all at once that the reader is overwhelmed. I found myself clearly picturing Ellie’s house, the castle, the Fading Lands, Eld, and the bordering cities. The magic platform was fantastic, too. There are six different forms of magic—Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Spirit, and Azrahn (dark magic). Some Fey are better at certain elements, and some have mastered all five. Azrahn is forbidden.
The character building was even better. As it did in The Winter King, the perspective shifts from character to character. Though it primarily focuses on Ellie’s point of view, it frequently switches to Rain’s, too. It even gave a peek at Bel (Ellie’s bloodsworn guard), Lauriana (Ellie’s mom), Den (her terrible ex-fiance), and several more characters, giving the story a rounded approach. Even though I knew what the other side was planning or thinking, there were plenty of plot twists to keep me engaged and staying up wayyy past my bedtime.
There were several sex scenes, but not nearly as many and as descriptive as in The Winter King. Their courtship is less about the sex and more about establishing a relationship.
The odd thing was that the book took place over the series of two or three days. I’m used to books that cover months, so it was different to cover such a short period of time.
I highly recommend this book—I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Definitely a 5/5 on Goodreads.