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REVIEW: Lady of Light and Shadow by C.L. Wilson

Dear Ms. Wilson:

Book CoverI see how you are and I can’t say I like it very much. Do you honestly think it is fair to write compelling stories without a resolution and then expect a reader to wait an entire year for the next installation?

Lord of the Fading Lands left us with Ellysetta Baristani and Rain Tairen Soul dealing with the ramifications that Ellysetta, a common woodcutter’s daughter, is the truemate for Rain Tairen and integral to the salvation of the Fey.

Ellie is the adopted daughter of a tradesman. She is different from her family in that she has small magics. Upon the arrival of Rain Tairen Soul, she discovers that her magics aren’t small at all and that she must learn to control and wield her power. But each use of her power is accompanied by dark feelings. She is haunted by visions and nightmares of a terrible evil overcoming her and wonders if the use of her power is actually evil instead of good.

Rain Tairen Soul is single minded. He wants to claim Ellysetta as his truemate and spirit her off to the Fading Lands. He cares not for the human world and chastises the human king for allowing any kind of trade with the Eld who he knows to be evil. Rain is forced to recognize that his own selfishness and myopia has placed both humans and Fey in great danger. In failing to maintain a strong presence in Celieria, the absence has been filled by the Eld. The Eld are slowly pervading the city engaging in small power grabs to overtake the world.

The Eld have placed people in key spots, infiltrating the Celierian society at the highest levels. They are fomenting suspicion against the Fey and those closest to Ellysetta become tools in the battle for her as the Eld realize her importance to the strength of the Fey.

Even worse, the leader of the dahl reisen, the outcast and mad Fey, believe Ellysetta to be a danger to the Fey and he sets out to destroy her. It seems improbable that one woman can withstand the threat of the dalh reisen and the Eld, particularly one who is not Fey herself.

Ellysetta is a woman with a secret past and Lady of Light and Shadow peals away the mystery page by page allowing the reader to savor the worldbuilding. Ellysetta’s secret, her position as a truemate, her unbelievable power, is all explained brilliantly and in keeping with the world construct. It was clear that this was carefully plotted out and while I couldn’t have guesssed it, the clues were there for the savvy reader.

I loved the way in which you played on the truemate theme. Neither Ellysetta nor Rain were in love, although that is the ultimate conclusion to their relationship. They had to learn to trust each other and learn their place in each other’s lives. You showed us through other characters how devastating the truemate bond could be, driving characters to engage in humiliating and painful acts, causing heartrending pain when truemates are not allowed to be together. The truemate bond ideally has a dark side and you weren’t afraid to show that to us.

The weakness in this book is that it cannot stand alone. Reading this one without having read Lord of the Fading Lands would be very difficult. I also thought that the beginning was a bit slow when we were reintroduced to many characters.

When I closed this book, I was given a happy for now with Ellysetta and Rain but many obstacles remain for them and for the characters that were spotlighted. I hated reading the last page of this story and some of the parts still haunt me weeks after I first read them. Please write faster. It’s not fair to your readers to keep them hanging like this. A-

Best regards,


This book can be purchased in mass market .

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Jill Myles
    Nov 07, 2007 @ 15:37:26

    LOL at the first paragraph. Darn those tricksy authors…

    I must say, this review is really making me anticipate tackling the first book. It’s on my nightstand as we speak…

  2. Nicole
    Nov 07, 2007 @ 18:31:27

    I have this one and after devouring the first book, I find myself putting this one aside as I don’t want to finish it too soon. I don’t want to wait another year!!!

  3. Angela James
    Nov 07, 2007 @ 19:29:12

    I loved these books so much, I’m really pleased to have gotten them as ARC s and thank God for Dorchester sending me the second before I finished the first. I’d have ripped my hair out.

    I’ve been chatting these books up everywhere I go. Part of it is because they’re just that damn good. The other part (I said this at NJRW) is because I love fantasy romance and I want it to “catch on” and for readers to want more in the genre.

    I can’t wait to read the next installments in this series!

  4. Shannon
    Nov 07, 2007 @ 19:57:15

    I loved the first one and practically ran down a woman with my shopping cart when I spotted this one of the shelf.

    Unfortunately I must have been tired when I picked it up because one look at the extremely miniscule font had me chucking it back into the pile. Holy visual density, Batman.

  5. KCfla
    Nov 07, 2007 @ 20:38:05

    *comes out of lurk mode*
    I loved the first book so much ( on your recomendation, mind!) that I scarfed up the second.
    And all I can say after that is – When, where and I’m there.

    She’s doing a signing at my local B&N next week. I’m hoping for some tidbits, but I know I’m wishing on a star there. But if I get any, I’ll share with you all.
    And did I mention I “pimped” it out to 2 of my co-workers? Those who think “Romance novels” are crap? And they LOVED the books??!!

    Yes, I’m working in the background- changing minds as we speak ;-)

  6. Kat
    Nov 08, 2007 @ 07:49:20

    I loved the way Wilson reveals the consequences of truemating. One of these scenes was so well done, I’d keep the book just for those few pages.

    I’m with Angie–I love fantasy romance and I wish there were more of it so I don’t have to go around reading the last few pages of my novels.

  7. Angela James
    Nov 08, 2007 @ 11:12:04

    lol, Kat, so true. Because in “regular” fantasy you never know which character is going to get killed off. I do the same thing sometimes!

  8. Jane
    Nov 08, 2007 @ 11:17:22

    Can we talk obliquely about how awesome that storyline was of the captured fey truemates? I was completely riveted. I swear if those two don’t get an HEA or some type of positive resolution (at this point death might be that positive resolution), I might have to hunt down the author and do terrible things to her.

    But the play on the truemate thing was really one of my favorite things in this book. I thought it was genius to insert the part of about the young Fey and how he couldn’t be with his truemate but he also couldn’t be parted and how she had felt all of his indiscretions. . .

    And, I thought the story behind Ellysetta’s magic was perfect. Did any of you guess how it would unfold?

  9. Kat
    Nov 08, 2007 @ 12:12:32

    Well, I have to confess that I read the book backward, kind of. (I blame the first book because I wasn’t sure if this book would resolve anything at all, and I wanted to be prepared if it didn’t.) So I didn’t get a chance to guess anything. That said, I probably wouldn’t have guessed anyway. And that’s part of why I love this book.

    Can we talk obliquely about how awesome that storyline was of the captured fey truemates?

    The first scene with these characters was the scene in which I fell in love with this series. And I think the way Wilson pulled back on revealing the truly terrible details of their ordeal was spot on. The way she worded those scenes gave me chills of dread.

    …the play on the truemate thing was really one of my favorite things in this book.

    Mine, too! I loved how Wilson turned an essentially internal romantic conflict into something that has political and moral consequences and wove it into the story so that it’s crucial not only to the romance but also to the external plot.

  10. Shannon Stacey
    Nov 08, 2007 @ 12:22:20

    Curses! I was going to save this for Thanksgiving break when I’d have to time to savor the tiny, tightly packed words, but now I’m going to have to start it. Like…right now.

  11. Jane
    Nov 08, 2007 @ 13:40:41

    I just heard that Lady of Light and Shadows will be No. 26 on the NYT Extended Bestseller list! I am so thrilled because I do hope it starts a trend of great romance/fantasy hybrids.

  12. Jane
    Nov 08, 2007 @ 13:44:20

    I also loved how Wilson wasn’t afraid to make her characters suffer in a way that made the expenditure of magic dangerous and to create instability and uncertainty about the future.

  13. Sherryl
    Nov 09, 2007 @ 14:52:01

    I picked up this book because of my favorite author, Christine Feehan’s, recommendation and now I have another favorite author named C.L Wilson! I fell in love with Ellysetta & Rain’s story with each book and I am devastated to learn that I will have to wait an entire year for the next books! The wait is going to be horrible! I love how Wilson wrote their story in 4 books instead of the traditional one. She doesn’t have to rush their falling in love and we, as the readers, can see how their relationship grows and expands a bit more realistically. Plus the more I read about their adventures the more I grow to love this characters. I REALLY wish that the next books would come out sooner!

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