Lady of Light and Shadows ~ C.L. Wilson

Since her earliest memories, Ellysetta Baristani has feared magic, even as she has been inexorably drawn to all things Fey, especially the poetry and legends of Rain Tairen Soul. Now claimed as Rain’s truemate and no longer able to deny her own magic, Ellysetta is swept into the very center of a struggle filled with the magic and darkness she has always feared. The High Mage of Eld wants to capture her. The most murderous dahl’reisen who ever lived wants her dead. And her enemies will corrupt even the people she loves most in their quest to claim her magic for themselves. (Synopsis found on C.L. Wilson’s website)

Back in November I reviewed the first novel in this series, Lord of the Fading Lands, and I mentioned how vexed I was that for all intents and purposes the book was being presented as a romance novel. The genre placement didn’t fit, no matter the romantic plotline, and I uphold that thought even more after reading this second installment in the Tairen Soul series. If C.L. Wilson has proven one thing it’s that she is completely capable of providing her readers with solid fantasy world building and edge of your seat action.

More so than the first, this book belongs to Ellysetta Baristani; she isn’t a cardboard cutout romance heroine – which plays into my dislike of the label most often placed upon these books – but instead she is a strong female just realizing the extent of her power. In fact, if you took away the magical element, Ellie could be your little sister or best friend. And because her motivations are so very human, wanting her to overcome the obstacles in her path is an automatic response that grows stronger as the pages turn. But what’s even better than one sympathetic, fully developed character? A whole host of them. Wilson presents both friend and foe to her readers, providing back stories while building a bridge between varying elements of the novel. Her ability to create strong characters is evidenced, I think, in the fact that my favorite character of all is secondary to the two leads. And this time around, another member of the Fey steps into the spotlight, increasing the tension tenfold.

I’ve enjoyed the first two books in this series so much, I can only say thank goodness the next book, King of Sword and Sky, is set to be released at the end of the month.

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