Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: Crown of Crystal Flame

Crown of Crystal Flame (Tairen Soul #5)
Published By: Avon
Publication Date: October 2010
Page Count: 469
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Adult - Fantasy Romance

I'm done... and I'm so sad... it's all over!!!

Reading this EPIC series was probably the best way to spend the cold and snowy months of January/February because I got to snuggle up with one of the most ultimate love stories every written about!!
Crown of Crystal Flame is the concluding book in the Tairen Soul series.  And what a conclusion!!
C.L. Wilson wrote such an amazingly, intricately woven story that just boggles my mind--much like the multi-level magical weaves often described throughout the books--but the story was never hard to follow.  The characters were so well developed.  Cheryl's portrayal of the Fey was just simply gorgeous.  The Fey are extremely passionate about everything...the way they love, their friendships and family, their traditions and beliefs, their wars... everything!  You just have to read these books to truly experience the phenomenal world and character building put forth by the author.

Plenty of action, intense suspense, and incredible romance laced the pages of all five books.  There were also some very difficult to read parts too... but that made me as a reader appreciate the triumphs that much more. 

By now, everyone knows that the Fey and their allies are on the cusp of a major war with Vadim Maur and the Eld for not only control of The Fading Lands and Celieria but ultimately who and what will control the world... light or darkness.   Vadim's personal stake in this war... having Ellysetta in his possession, because with her, he will be unstoppable.

As much as I'm not one to be too interested in war strategies... I found it worked in this series.  Each allegiance gained, Rain and Ellysetta had to fight tooth and nail for... but again, it made their triumphs all the more satisfying.
Added to the pressure of the iminent battle, Rain is trying to keep Ellysetta from falling into the hands of Vadim Maur, all the while he and Ellysetta are also quickly running out of time to complete the truemate bond that will ultimately protect her from being claimed by darkness.  The bond madness is already taking its toll on Rain (and Ellysetta) and he won't survive the madness much longer.   Meanwhile, Ellysetta's nightmares have become terrifying visions of what she believes is her fate and ultimately the fate of the world (should she fall to darkness).  The visions are extremely disturbing to her and to us.  Her courage to face her fears and inner demons continues to strengthen her character and resolve.  Will it be enough to succeed?  You have to read this incredible story to find that out.

Another journey we witness is Rain's.  From the beginning of the story, Rain never felt worthy of the leadership of the lands bestowed upon him, because he inherited the responsibility simply because there was not another Tairen Soul left.  With Ellysetta's help in the previous books, he did overcome his incredible guilt for scorching the world in a wild rage of grief, but he still has his self-doubts about his ability to lead his people to victory.  Rain's journey was more subtle but not any less important than Ellysetta's.  

Ultimately, Rain and Ellysetta have become one of my favourite couples of all time and you will appreciate this once you've read this incredible series.  

An important message that is not lost in this story, is acceptance.  The Fey have always believed that the weaving of Azrahn was to practice evil magic.  They also believed that the dahl'reisen were no longer honourable Fey.... but circumstances presented to Rain and several of the Fey proved that these beliefs were just simply outdated and no longer relevant and only added to the weaknesses of the Fey.  

In this installment, we really get to see what has been going on behind the scenes with Gaelen's former world of the dahl'reisen.  It's a real eye-opener for everyone, but not so surprising since we already know Gaelen.  This important message is completely integral to the story, and the final battle.

Another brilliant life lesson weaved into the story was that no matter what you think the fates have in store for you, YOU have the ability to change your destiny.

The supporting cast of characters were incredible... there's really no words to summarize my feelings for them.  To me, they are as interesting and integral as Ellysetta and Rain... but they don't clutter the story at all.  They are all part of that special "weave"... Gaelen, Bel, Tajik, Gil, Rijonn... Kieran and Kiel... Adrial and Rowan... just to name a few of the Fey.  Ellie's family were also completely lovable as well.

Shan and Elfeya are another formidable truemated couple... their love for each other and for their daughter... there are no words.  They left me just totally awestruck by how they endured centuries of unspeakable torture but continued to put the other's needs before their own.  

I also have huge spot in my heart for Melliandra.  She is another character that I really can't come up with the appropriate words to describe her.  She is just amazing (for lack of anything better to say)... to overcome what she has lived with all her life... wow!

And of course, you can't NOT mention the Tairen--they are every part beast but really have a sort of human element to them that makes the reader relate to them easily.  I loved how they, at times, even were the unlikely sources for providing some of the lighter moments in the story.

While I suspected how things were going to turn out... I had many different scenarios built in my mind of how it was going to end.  The ending was completely satisfying, even though some tragedies did occur in this last installment that left me bereft.  There were also just enough little loose threads to be picked up on for future world-building with some of the other characters rumoured to have stories soon to be written about them... Gaelen, Bel, the twins, Kieran & Kiel...  I do hope that we get a sneaky-peak into Rain & Ellysetta's world too in these future books... because I will never tire of hearing more about this incredible couple.  This will be a series I will reread again in the future... it's that good! 

A Song of Love won her heart. 
A Song of Darkness haunted her soul. 
A Song in the Dance would seal her fate.
Seers had long foreseen an extraordinary destiny for Ellysetta Baristani. Already she had won the heart of the Fey King--the magnificent Rain, ever her ally, eternally her love. She had saved the offspring of the magical tairen and fought beside her legendary mate against the armies of Eld. But the most powerful--and dangerous--Verse of her Song had yet to be sung. As the final battle draws nigh and evil tightens its grip upon her soul--will Ellysetta secure the world for Light or plunge it into Darkness for all eternity? As she and Rain fight for each other, side by side, will they find a way to complete their truemate bond and defeat the evil High Mage of Eld before it's too late, or must they make the ultimate sacrifice to save their world?

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