King of Sword and Sky
C.L. Wilson
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Buy *King of Sword and Sky (Tairen Soul)* by C.L. Wilson online

King of Sword and Sky (Tairen Soul)
C.L. Wilson
467 pages
September 2008
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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C.L. Wilson's first two books in this series, Lord of the Fading Lands and Lady of Light and Shadow, were an astonishing debut pair of novels that introduced us to the world of Rain Tairen Soul, a powerful shape-changing fey king and his truemate, the apparently ordinary Ellysetta Baristani. There was far more to Ellysetta than met the eye, and the first two novels gradually revealed her powers and how she began to understand her position as truemate to Rain.

The third book, King of Sword and Sky, continues the story directly after the end of the previous book. After the shock of Elly's mother's death, she and Rain, their bodyguards, and the remaining members of her family set off for the Fading Lands. This isn't going to be happy ever after: many problems afflict the lands of the Fey as their lands become barren, their women no longer have children, and the Tairen, the great cat-like flying beasts, also seem to be sickening. Can Elly's arrival change things, or will the dark forces buried deep inside her cause more problems? Can Rain continue to be king, or will his association with Elly result in his being put under suspicion? Can Elly come to terms with her powers? Will she understand from where they spring?

I read this book almost a year after the previous two, and it took me some time to get up to speed with the story, events, characters, and - particularly - terminology. This would be a difficult book to understand if you hadn't read the previous books, and it makes few concessions to a reader with a rusty memory. The author piles on more and more terminology and phrases in Feyan, a foreign language that appears to be liberally sprinkled with apostrophes. I found the first half of the book particularly heavy going, it seems to take a long time to get around to any action. Elly is still a rather difficult character, one who leaps before she looks and tends to do her own thing, albeit usually with the best of motivations. There are some slightly disturbing scenes in which the evil High Mage plays a part, along with more focus on sex than in the previous book.

Despite some of these criticisms, King of Sword and Sky is still a very good book. C.L. Wilson's imagination is impressive, her characters interesting and varied, and her world-building congruent. Those who enjoyed the previous books will enjoy the continuation of the story - as long as they can remember the people, events and Feyan phrases from the previous two books.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Helen Hancox, 2008

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