From the BLURB:
Ellysetta Baristani and her betrothed Fey lord, returning hero Rain Tairen Soul, are days away from their wedding, but the wicked Eld lords are drawing ever closer to locating Ellysetta, whose magic they hope to use for their own ends. As the intrigues of the Eld plot ripple throughout the court, Ellysetta wrestles with personal demons and the mysterious power within her. Meanwhile, tensions on the country's borders mount as the specter of war draws nearer.
‘Lady of Light and Shadows’ is the second book in C.L. Wilson’s ‘Tairen Soul’ series. This book picks up right where ‘Lord of the Fading Lands’ left off, the timelines are literally side-by-side.
When Wilson left off in ‘Lord of the fading lands’, she hinted at dire things to come for Rain and his truemate, Ellysetta. I can’t give anything away without spoiling a huge plotline – but in this book much is revealed about Ellie’s origins. There was a huge build-up to this ‘big reveal’ concerning Ellie’s birthright, and I personally don’t think Wilson delivered a big enough pay-off.
When the truth about Ellie’s origins is revealed, as readers we expect there to be a huge tumult – and there is, initially – but everything is smoothed over and forgotten pretty quickly. Considering the fact that Ellie has been pretty blessed so far in this series (woodcarver’s daughter turned Fey Queen – ultimate rags to riches) I would have appreciated it if Ellie went through a period of real struggle and doubt, just to shake her up. That being said, Ellie does go through a lot in this book as she learns about her bloodline and growing powers – as well as dealing with her ever-evolving relationship with Rain.
He was her hero, the magic prince she’d dreamed of all her life, a legend larger than life. She was just a twenty-four-year-old woodcarver’s daughter, a nobody. She should not have the power to make a legend tremble, and yet she did. She didn’t want that power. She could not bear to see Rain humbled, especially not by her hand.
I must admit, this ‘Tairen Soul’ series is very romantic. Wilson certainly knows how to write a captivating romance with just the right amount of sizzle – and considering the fact that in this book Rain and Ellie still aren’t officially married, Wilson does an admirable job of writing some very hot scenes that make up for the lack of outright sex.
I really liked the fleshing out of secondary characters in this book. Bel is one of Ellie’s guards; he has the weight of death on his soul, but feels lightened because of Ellie’s powerful healing magic. I really love him and his rough exterior, and I hope he finds his own truemate in books to come. I also loved the introduction of a character called Gaelen, who was previously mentioned in passing as a sort of Tairen ‘boogeyman’, but comes to life in this second book. He is a fantastic secondary character – funny and charming with Ellie, bull-headed with her other guards. I can definitely see the potential for great things with Bel and Gaelen’s storylines.
Even though I firmly believe Wilson could have done a lot more with the reveal of Ellie’s origins, the series as a whole is progressing nicely; enough that I am looking forward to reading the 3rd book. The plot is thickening and Wilson’s villains are taking shape and showing themselves to be very disturbing and macabre bad guys – among the best villains I have ever read. I’m also enjoying the rough progress of Rain & Ellie’s romance (and in this book the romance heats up!)