A little less than a month ago, I posted a review of C.L. Wilson’s novel, Lord of the Fading Lands, the first book in the Tairen Soul series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn’t wait to read the second, Lady of Light and Shadows. Yesterday I finished it, and here is my review!
In Lord of the Fading Lands, we met Rain Tairen Soul, King of the Fey, and his newly claimed truemate, Ellysetta (Ellie) Baristani. The Tairen and the Fey are in danger of dying out, and when Rain appealed to the gods for a way to save his people, they led him to Celieria City in the land of Celieria — and to Ellysetta, a peasant, a woodcutter’s daughter.
The first novel spent a lot of time introducing Ellie and Rain and the tensions caused by their mating. In Celieria, the social class structure is very rigid, and many of the nobles weren’t willing to welcome someone they considered a common peasant among their ranks. But at Rain’s insistence, people gradually start to warm up to the idea. Dorian, the King of Celieria, is also part Fey and so he’s sympathetic as well. Ellie is trying her hardest to become “cultured” into the noble society. Plans for her and Rain’s wedding are under way. After the wedding, the two will head to the Fading Lands, where Rain hopes Ellie can help him figure out a way to save the Tairen and the Fey.
In Lady of Light and Shadows, Ellie must come to terms with the power that dwells inside of her. As we found out in the previous installment, Ellie is not her parents’ natural child; rather, they found her abandoned in the woods when she was an infant. Determined to save her soul from the dark demons, Sol and Lauriana Baristani adopted the baby and raised her as their own. They raised her to believe in the Celierian God Adelis, the Lord of Light. As a child, Ellie suffered from horrible nightmares and encounters with a mysterious figure she calls the “Shadow Man.” Her parents believed she was being possessed by demons, and so they arranged for her to be exorcised. However, when Sol saw how painful the exorcism was for his daughter, he ordered them to be stopped for good. That led to a very deep bond of trust between him and Ellie.
Lauriana on the other hand was raised in the north, where all kinds of sorcerers performed magic in a bad way. As a result, she is very prejudiced against magic and those who wield it. She taught her daughter that all magic was bad. Her patience with the Fey is on its last hinges, and she is not even sure she still supports Ellie’s decision to marry Rain. She senses that her daughter is wielding magic, and believes Ellie’s soul is going down the dark path, despite all her efforts to save her. But, Lauriana’s husband Sol is more tolerant of magic than she is, and he’s usually able to calm her down whenever she has outbursts.
Ellie senses that she has great magic inside of her as well, and so does Rain. The extent of her power seems vast, yet no one seems to understand exactly where it comes from and how she, a seemingly mortal girl, is so powerful without even trying. Ellie does not know how to control her power, nor is she willing to fully embrace it and admit that she has it — due to her mother’s insistance that all power is evil and dangerous. Rain tries to teach Ellie how to tap into her power and control it.
Meanwhile, in the land of Eld, the High Mage Vadim Maur is sure he’s found the child that was stolen from him over two decades ago — Ellie. He and his apprentice, Kolis Manza, set in motion plan after plan that will test this child’s power and bring her to him. Vadim Maur has two captured Fey as prisoners, Elfeya and the great Shannisoran v’en Celay. Elfeya and Shannisoran were responsible for the disappearance of the child, and Vadim is still punishing them for that. But now the child is getting closer and closer to him, and he is looking forward to the reward.
Gaelen vel Serranis, one of the most feared dahl-reisein and known as the Dark Lord in all of the legends and tales, is on his way to Celeria City because he has heard that the High Mage’s daughter is about to marry Rain Tairen Soul, King of the Fey. He cannot let that happen, because the High Mage may use Ellie to destroy the Fey and then take over the world. So, he must kill the High Mage’s daughter, and fast.
Rain’s biggest issue in Celieria now is trying to convince the border lords not to open Celieria’s borders up to Eld. Rain has a deep hatred toward the Eld because he’s seen the type of destruction they are capable of. Many of the Celierian border lords are in favor of opening up the Elden borders to allow free trade and access to goods. They are not convinced that the Eld are dangerous and believe Rain is just prejudiced against them due to wars that occured centuries upon centuries ago. Rain insists, and does everything he can to try to convince them to vote against opening the borders. Little does he know — his own truemate may be related to the most powerful Elden Mage of all.
As the novel progresses, Ellie becomes stronger and stronger as she learns more about the Fey, about her family (especially her mother) and of course, about herself. She must eventually face who she really is, and endure a great sacrifice.
I’m not going to give away much more, because I don’t want to spoil all of the little surprises and twists! The fun thing is, there are clues within the novels that lead up to each twist.
We see a lot of character development in this second installment, especially within Ellie. She finally begins to gain some self-confidence as she discovers her true nature. She realizes that her fairy-tale romance isn’t always a happy one. There is hardship that goes along with every “happy-ship.” Yet, she can survive each time and become a stronger person for it. She will need that strength as she and Rain prepare to save the Tairen and the Fey as well as confront the Elden Mages.
I eagerly await the third and fourth installments in this series! Hurry up, October and February! 🙂