Monday, March 17, 2008

Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson

I haven't read fantasy in quite some time. I'm not sure if CS Lewis' Narnia books count (cuz I read those things ad naseum in my childhood) but I think I can safely say that I'm somewhat of a newbie to the genre. Oh yeah, I did the requisite Tolkien read in college mainly because I dated a guy who was obsessed with them and who gave me the entire LOTR boxed set as an X-mas gift. I remember (vaguely) kind of liking the concept of the neat worlds and magical powers and stuff, but missing the romance and lurve action that I really do like to have in my reading diet.

Enter C.L. Wilson. What I quite like about Lord of the Fading Lands is that it feels very much like the fantasy books that I remember reading, but with a good strong thread of romance running through it. Do I dare attempt a summary? There are so many characters, subplots, machinations and whatnot, that I'm not sure it's possible to do it justice.

Rain Tairen Soul is a really old (and yet hot and young-looking) tairen who lost his wife a long time ago in a big epic war against EVIL. (and as we are reminded time and again, that would be Evil with a capital E). Rain is the King of the Fey and the leader of the tairen, otherwise known as the Tairen Soul. His kind, the tairen, seem to be facing extinction because all of the female tairen are barren (oh man, that rhymed and I totally did not intend it). All these years later, he is alerted to the existence of his truemate, who happens to be a young peasant girl. Elysseta or Ellie is the adopted daughter of a woodcarver in the kingdom next door. Her life is turned upside down when Rain literally falls out of the sky and claims her as his mate. Wowza! Before she knows it, this hot masterful king with the kick-ass powers (he can turn into a winged-cat thing and FLY!) has a one-track mind to marry her. Lil' ol' her. She spends the majority of the book protesting that it must be a mistake. She's just a nobody. Not worthy. Etcetera. But of course we readers know better. Ellie has special powers of her own and she's just starting to come into them. Will Rain claim his mate and will she save all of tairen-kind and by extension the entire world? [insert dramatic music]

Well, I don't know because this is a series and apparently book one is more like episode one. There is more to come. And ultimately, that is my whine with the book. I liked the writing. The author has a very strong voice and does a skillful job with building her world. It felt authentic and real and dare I say, epic. BUT at the end of the book, we do not get to see Rain and Ellie together in the truest sense of the word. It is like we get to the end of part 1 of their courtship. You gotta read the next book to find out how/if/when they actually get their mateship on. Arg! I hate cliff-hanger endings. So as a romance novel, this brings the grade down for me. As a fantasy epic, it's probably just par for the course.

That said, I like the book and I will read the next one. Probably pretty soon in fact. I have a soft spot for stoic yet sensitive heros and Rain has that going for him in spades. Yum. And if Ellie doesn't come to her senses and marry him posthaste, I may just beat her to it.

Grade: B


Katie(babs) said...

Rain is seriously rockin the cradle with Ellie. And he is one alphs, angsty beautiful man/creature. Now, imagine the frustrations between these two when you read Lady of Light and Shadows!! Heh heh.
The sequel will keep you on the edge of your seat and as for mating.... oh yeah.

lisabea said...

Been out ALL day. So: Yay Sula! One down, 4 to go. I should pro'lly read these CL Wilsons, huh?

Carolyn Jean said...

Wow, I can't believe these two didn't get together. When you have a hot masterful king with kick-ass powers, you want to see the sex scene.

KB: can you give a preview of that???? Or Sula, when you read the next, maybe you can.

Stacy~ said...

I LOVED this book, yet cannot fathom why I haven't read book #2 yet, other than at the time it was ages before #3 & #4 were going to be released. Hot stuff indeed.

Katie(babs) said...

CJ: Even though Rain and Ellie haven't sealed the deal, there are many lovely, shall I say foreplay scenes that almost gets to that point?
It is all because Ellie is such a good girl and Rain made a bit of a promise to wait till they are merried.
A tairen cat with blue balls!! LMAO

Zeek said...

I LOVE this series.

just sayin

sula said...

kb, just please promise me that they do actually get it ON in book 2. Cuz I don't know if I can handle another session of virtual-reality make-out. lol. And yes, that Rain is robbing the cradle. He's like 2000 years old? heh.

lb, I am 3 for 5 now. On a roll. If you wants I should send ya some books, you just holler.

cj, yes you are exactly right. I want my kick-ass kingly hero to show his truemate a good time. I am banking on the idea that the payoff will be commensurate to the buildup.

stacy, I know what you mean...I'm thinking of holding off on book 2 until book 3 is available because I suspect another cliffhanger.

zeek, glad that it's a series that is working for you. I've enjoyed it so far and can see why people love it. :)

Katie(babs) said...

Well Sula, I would be giving away the special love Rain and Ellie have for each other in LOLAS. Let's just say they practice a lot!

Sarai said...

I love this series too! I was disappointed in the first book as you mentioned but I have to say the second one made up for it tenfold! I can't wait for book 3 and 4 to come out later this year (I believe)
Great review. Fantasy books and the HEA don't always mix which really sucks and is the main reason I read Romance ;)

Tumperkin said...

nice review. has I got the patience to wait till BOOK TWO though.....

sula said...

hey sarai...happy to hear that book two makes up for it. Like you, I need my HEA or I get real grumpy. Maybe that's why I don't read fantasy as a general rule?

T, I dunno. The writing is pretty good though and if you like those epic-y larger world-building types of stories, it's got that in spades. Me I preferred the Abe books (reviewed one today) because of more focus on the romance. But that's just me. *g*

Katie(babs) said...

Oh the HEA is one fabulous one!! After 60 pages of sitting on the edge of my seat.