By: C.L. Wilson
Published By: Avon
Publication Date: September 2010
Page Count: 416
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Adult - Fantasy Romance
As an addendum to my review, I have to start off by saying that I have read the entire series and it IS utterly SENSATIONAL and EPIC!
This first book in the Tairen Soul series is pretty awesome... and it's only the beginning. It's a love story of EPIC proportions between a seemingly ordinary young woman and a Fey King.
You have to first accept that this story is pure fantasy... where ordinary humans live in a world where the Fey and their magic is real, but more often feared than embraced. The setting is fictitious and set in a time where there is no modern conveniences. The theme of this tale revolves around the deep connection between the Fey and the Tairen... a race of huge winged panther-like-cats that are very much tied to the Fey.
Ellysetta Baristani is the seemingly unremarkable adopted daughter of a woodcarver. She is kind, understated, and very loving towards all whom she cares for. Much is made of Ellie's plainess at the beginning of the story. She is twenty-four and not yet betrothed, which her parents have started to worry over. Yet Ellysetta will soon have her world turned upside when the legendary King of Fey, Rainier vel'En Daris (Rain Tairen Soul), claims her as his truemate. Despite the total fantastical aspect of the story, Ellie is a very relatable character and one of my favourite heroines...EVER.
Ellie has been fascinated with the Fey all her life. She is also quite adept in fey lore and poems. Conversely, throughout her life, she has suffered from powerfully scarey nightmares and seizures... to the point where her adoptive parents thought she was possessed by demons and attempted to have her exorcised. Despite this shadow over the Baristani's, she has a very loving family.
Her adoptive parents, Sol & Lauriana, found Ellysetta abandoned in the woods when she was just a baby. Sol Baristani is an amazing father and one of my most favourite parental figures I've ever read. He's protective yet puts a lot of trust in Ellie throughout the story. Lauriana is a 'gods-fearing' woman and a bit too protective at times but her heart is always in the right place. Ellie also has two younger twin sisters who lend an endearing factor to this story, as well.
Rain vel'En Daris is painfully -- and of course masculinely -- beautiful. He is not only the King of the Fey, he is their strongest and oldest warrior and is also a Tairen Soul. Only the most powerful of Fey warriors are called to be a Tairen Soul, where they can shapeshift between Fey and Tairen. The Fey and the Tairen cannot live without each other but the Tairen are dying, and therefore, the Fey are dying as well. Rain is the last and only Tairen Soul left in the world.
The Eye of Truth (described as a large, all-knowing, magical crystal ball) tells Rain that his answers to saving both races lie in Celieria -- with a woman donning flame red hair and green eyes. Ellysetta Baristani's soul called out to Rain in a moment of despair and he answered... and with that, their incredible love story begins.
Rain has been hiding in the Fading Lands (land of the Fey) for over a thousand years, since he scorched the world in a fit of rage after his first mate, Sariel, was murdered by the evil Mage during the war between The Mages of Eld and the Fey. Rain went mad with remorse after very nearly decimating the world and hadn't been seen outside of The Fading Lands since, until he sets out to Celieria to find the woman that is supposed to help him save his race. But how can a human woman be the savior he is seeking, and his truemate?
Rain's devotion to Ellie is just... well... it's the stuff of epic love stories and induces butterflies in your stomach and makes your heart melt (and that's just the reader). He is fierce and gentle all at the same time. The Fey are an extremely passionate people... in every way.
Passionate love is one thing, but they are also extremely passionate about their oaths and duty. Rain's five fiercest and best warriors are instructed to guard Ellysetta, because she is now in grave danger from Rain's enemies since attracting his attention. You almost expect, with the Fey warriors' devotion to Ellie, that they would soon be fighting over her -- but it's nothing like that -- they literally revere her and guard her with their lives... without an inkling of trepidation. What I also loved about the members of Ellie's Quintet was that each had a wonderful and unique personality and strength and became stand-out characters in their own right. I found I truly cared so much for each of them. They also lend some lightness to the story as well with their camaraderie and humour. I simply loved each of them! (Since Rain is spoken for... can I have Bel??)
Seriously... there is so much to love about this story... it has everything that appeals to me... fantasy, an epic love story, surprising twists and turns, evil, suspense and humour. There is nothing that I didn't like about this story so far. Even the evil Mage spurns a lot of emotion through the author's awesome writing.
C.L. Wilson's fantastical story will set your heart soaring. Where else can you melt into a world where a Fey King literally drops out of the sky to claim his TRUEmate? Thank goodness the series is already out as I'm off to read the next installment right away!
Once he had scorched the world.
Once he had driven back overwhelming darkness.
Once he had loved with such passion, his name was legend...
Now a thousand years later, a new threat calls him from the Fading Lands, back into the world that had cost him so dearly. Now an ancient, familiar evil is regaining its strength, and a new voice beckons him--more compelling, more seductive, more maddening than any before.
As the power of his most bitter enemy grows and ancient alliances crumble, the wildness in his blood will not be denied. The tairen must claim his truemate and embrace the destiny woven for him in the mists of time.