Title:Lord of the Fading Lands
Author: C.L. Wilson
Page Count: 402 pages
Publisher: Leisure Books
Genre: fantasy, paranormal romance
Copy for review obtained from Paperback Swap
50 words or less: Rain is a Fey king who pretty much destroyed everything after his first love was killed. Ellie is a woodcutter's daughter who dreams of love and a better life. Fate flings them together; politics percolate around them. Love blooms and the plot thickens.
You'd think by now I would have learned that if I read about a series and I think, blech, I should give it a try anyway, since in the vast majority of cases I've ended up really really liking the series in question.
That was exactly what happened with Lord of the Fading Lands, book the first in the Tairen Soul series. It tells the tale of Rain, Fey king and last Tairen Soul, and how he met Ellysetta Baristani (Ellie), the adoptive daughter of a woodcarver who's inches away from marrying Den, the butcher's son and a capital D douchebag. There's a well-drawn cast of supporting characters too, and a rich historical background that provides a clever setting for the story.
Ellie is Rain's truemate; they are irrevocably tied together, which means that Ellie gets elevated almost instantaneously from a forgettable middle class daughter bordering on spinsterhood to a fey queen with a retinue and guards and social obligations. Add to the mix that Rain once almost destroyed the earth after his first love, Sariel, was murdered as an act of war and that that debacle went down over a thousand years ago and has since become the stuff of myth and legend and it's understandable that Ellie's ego might be a little, shall we say, fragile.
While we're watching Ellie and Rain get to know one another and delving into plans for their upcoming wedding, we also see that all is not well in the world that's the setting for the book. Evil forces are regaining their strength, but the atrocity of their deeds has been lost to history and most people are now content to let bygones be bygones, which is certainly a dangerous position. While these side stories are intriguing, they did lead to my one major issue with the book, which is that there's a lot of scurrying around at various points with lots of nefarious and underhanded doings, but I didn't understand why any of that was happening or what that was going to contribute to the story. I knew going into this book that there were subsequent volumes, so hopefully some of these side stories and fringe characters will play more developed roles in those books.
While there are a variety of elements of fantasy in this book, it doesn't ever become self-aggrandizing or boring. I also have to say, all the names in the book are logical and easy to pronounce. Maybe it's mean, but one thing that turns me off in a fantasy novel is character names that look/sound like my cat took a nap on the keyboard.
This is a great book that hopefully is the start of a great series. I immediately requested the second book from Paperback Swap so I'll fill you in soon.
Overall Grade: A-
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