Lord of the Fading Lands
Although this book revolves around a central romance, the tone of the book felt much more like an epic novel to me. This is the first novel in a series concerning the age old confrontation between good and evil, which always involves an intricate story line. Lord of the Fading Lands is no exception, and I’m intrigued enough by the premise to seek out the forthcoming book.
Rain Tairen Soul, the King of the Fey and a special shapeshifter, knows his race is dying. The tairen is a large, powerful, black cat-like animal with immense powers, including the ability to fly. As a Fey, Rain also has unique and strong powers, and the two combined create an almost unstoppable force. He attempts to gain answers from the Eye of Truth, a truth-telling orb, and pays dearly for his affront, but it shows him (after exacting terrible pain), how he can save his people. He has a Truemate, a shei’tani – an unheard of happening for the Tairen Soul, the leader of the Fey. However, his mate has no knowledge of her true self or her destiny, and Rain is at best, a difficult man.
Ellysetta Baristani is an orphan, but was taken in by kind-hearted people in the land of Celieria. Celierian’s have no use for magic, and have short memories when it comes to the magical enemies that the Fey defeated to keep them safe centuries ago. Still, there is a truce in place, and Ellie has hidden her secret dreams of the Feyreisen (another name for the Tairen Soul) for years. Her parents want to marry her off to an overweight and pompous – but wealthy – man who gives her lewd glances in private, but appears acceptable when her parents are present. It is this situation that nearly brings chaos down on all of them.
When a Fey finds a true mate, it is a deeply passionate courtship; combine that with a tairen and the possibility for disaster looms very close as the animal part of Rain wants to claim Ellie as his mate, with no thought for her desires or opinions. Rain literally swoops in on Ellie, and nearly frightens her out of her wits. When he discovers that Ellie’s heinous suitor tried to force her to marry him, it nearly causes an international incident.
This is no gentle courtship – and Ellie is frightened of Rain. Strangely enough, it’s his fey guardsmen who protect Ellie, who allow her to see Rain as more than an overbearing jerk. I enjoyed both Ellie and Rain as characters, although Ellie’s disbelief grew tiresome at times, as did Rain’s high handedness.
The plot is packed with intrigue and there is more than one villain trying to achieve nefarious ends. At times it felt like Ellie and Rain couldn’t possibly win against the evil they face. Ellie is much more than she seems, however, and unless she learns to accept who she is, she and Rain will not have a chance to overcome them.
There are numerous secondary characters, but they are well written and all serve some purpose in Rain and Ellie’s story. I loved Ellie’s interactions with her guardsmen and look forward to learning more about them in the next book. In fact, I’m terribly glad the next book comes out in November, because I want to revisit Rain and Ellie and discover how they face their upcoming challenges. Fantasy fans who like alpha heroes will most likely enjoy Lord of the Fading Lands . I may even re-read it before the next book is released.