Series: Tairen Soul series
Author Website contains lots of information about the world, the people of the series. Check it out!
Desperate to save his land and his people, Rainier vel'En Daris, Lord of the Fading Lands, went to Celieria, even though the place brought him nothing but grief and terrible memories of the slaying of his heart mate and where he, in his madness, almost razed the world with his tairen fire. He never expected to find salvation in the form of Ellysetta Baristani, the woman who called out to his soul, his true mate. But who is Ellysetta Baristani? How could this mortal woman call to him, when a true mate bond--the highest form of bonding--can only occur between unmated immortal feys?
I love love love this book. Why? Let me break it down for you.
The world that the author created is fantastic, with rich details and back history on the mortals and immortals who mix and live together in the same world, complete with humans, feys and elves. The story is full of intrigue and politics and jealousy, and we have a truly evil villain that you'll love to hate. You don't see much of him yet in this book, but wait till the next two books.
The fey men are tall and handsome and powerful. Not just powerfully built (their main mode of travel is by running! and they're not even winded after going on for long distances), but excellent warriors (they spend hundreds of years in training) and powerful in terms of the magic they can summon to their hands. The fey women are beautiful and good and full of compassion, the very base of their healing art. The men are intensely protective of their women, and the sole reason they trained so hard is to be judged worthy enough to protect a shei'dalin (fey women who can heal) when she leaves the Fading Lands, like when she's requested to perform healing on people who live in other nations. Many times throughout the book, I wish I were fey. You don't see that kind of men anywhere here, certainly!
Rain...to be honest, I can't imagine a guy named Rain. I look at the cover art and he doesn't look like a Rain, but that's a personal bias. I thought it would be better if his full name--Rainier--were used all throughout instead. Anyway, Rain is a great hero--tortured, loyal, protective. I think he didn't dare accept Ellie at the start, because he didn't want to replace Sariel, his heart mate whom he loved, and I think he couldn't believe he could have a true mate. That's because he's a Tairen Soul and Tairen Souls don't have true mates. Why? If I tell, it would be a spoiler, so I'll leave it to you to discover, though I'm dying to say why.
It's because to be true mates, each party must be the equal of the other in every way, and that's all I'm saying.
Rain does have to exert effort to court Ellie, as per fey custom and win her over so that she would bond with him and thereby complete their true mate bonding. Ellie, however, resists the bond, because she had secrets that she didn't want Rain to know, because she was afraid he would be repulsed by her should he know. The true mate bond would enable your mate's thoughts to be your own, so that it's like talking in your head and knowing all your deepest secrets. But Rain is determined to win Ellie and save his people, and there's nothing more sexy than a guy who's determined to have you (that is, if you want him too).
Ellysetta, on the other hand, is sweet and young and timid, and in this book, quite passive. She is described as having orange hair, which is unusual, and is the object of ridicule by the people she knows (except for her family). The one thing that stands out about her is that she's very kind, and she's scared of what she perceived as something evil that is in her that she tries very hard to keep imprisoned. I find she didn't have much personality, and this is something that bothered me in this book.
The pacing of the book is slow at times, but there are enough exciting parts to make up for it. There's also a running mystery throughout the series as to Ellie's real identity. The presence and wickedness of the villains and their villainous acts make the danger real, and I just can't help but to keep on turning the page to know what happened next or to unravel another small mystery. In view that I've already read the next two books, this is a very well-plotted series, and the way the author hands out the pieces to the readers make for a very engaging and addicting read.
This book is the first in a series of four, which tells the complete story. It is better to read it in sequence: Lord of the Fading Lands, Lady of Light and Shadows, King of Sword and Sky, and Queen of Song and Souls. When I finished Lord of the Fading Lands, I felt slightly cheated, because it was very obvious to me that the story isn't finished. There are a lot of loose threads left hanging. If this were marketed as a fantasy book (and not a romance, which seems to have a maximum word or page count), the four books would be packaged as one into one big tome, like the Kushiel books by Jacqueline Carey, which reached approximately 1,000 page per book (depends on the edition you're holding). Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book enough that I quickly went to get the next two books and am looking forward to the last and fourth installment. A keeper, this book deserves a special place on shelves. I will certainly read this book over and over.
Book Rating: 5.0