REVIEW: King of Sword and Sky by C.L. Wilson
Dear Ms. Wilson:
I’ll admit to being a little foolish. Ok, maybe more than a little. After finishing Lady of Light and Shadows and closing the book with a contented sigh, I thought to myself: “What could she possibly do next? Where could she go from here? How could this get any better?” What I found out was that the series, with King of Sword and Sky, actually got a lot better. The book begins a little slowly, allowing the reader to ease back into the story. From there, it starts to build, and then it builds some more until your heart is racing, your pulse is pounding and you’re turning the pages as fast as you can. It was, in a word, fantastic.
The book opens with Rain and Ellie traveling to the Fading Lands. Ellie, still grief stricken over the events in the last book, is not ready to leave her remaining family members behind. I was a little concerned now that Ellie’s fey nature had awakened that she would become this entirely confident, self-assured and bold Tairen Soul. I was worried that we would see this complete transformation and the shy, sweet and generous girl she had been in the first two books would be mostly gone. What I found was that we got a happy mix of the two. The old Ellie is still there, but she’s had to grow up fast. She has powers and a side to her that she was never aware of before. The Tairen in her is fierce and loyal, and very protective of her loved ones. No longer does Ellie see Rain as this near perfect and overwhelming creature from her dreams. Instead, she is his equal in every way and she isn’t afraid to stand up to him and challenge him if needed. In fact, Rain and Ellie’s relationship, and their feelings for each other, continues to grow. I was often left breathless by the sheer depth of their emotion for each other, and amazed by the skill with which Ms. Wilson has created such a continually interesting and exciting romance.
Upon arriving in the Fading Lands, Ellie learns that it’s not the haven she had expected and the challenges begin right away. It seems not everyone thinks that Rain’s beloved truemate is the blessing that she was foretold to be. In fact, some are convinced that they would be much better off without her. In the first two books, Ellie could do no wrong in the eyes of the fey- and I’ll admit to thinking that it got a little tedious at times. Rain adored her. Her quintet would have done anything to protect her. Marissya, Dax and all the other fey in Celieria felt the same. Gaelen, who had set out to kill her, ended up pledging his life to her. Even Rain’s rejection of Ellie at the end of Lady didn’t last very long. In this book, it soon becomes clear that Ellie will face many tests not just from the High Mage Vadim Maur and from within herself, but from the fey as well.
What I enjoyed so much about King of Sword and Sky, and the series thus far, are the characters. Whether it’s due to a lack of depth or originality, too often I close a book and feel that I never really got to know the hero or heroine- let alone the secondary characters. Here, the characters are substantial and diverse and each have a role to play as the story progresses. Some roles are more vital than others, but they’re not just background scenery kicking around for the hero and heroine to have someone to talk to.
And as for the High Mage . . . that is one truly evil character. Every time the point of view went to him, which it did quite often, I felt myself getting a little nervous. If you thought his actions in the first book were bad then wait until you read what happens here. We learn the horrifying lengths that he has gone to in his years of planning. And it has been years. It finally hit home to me just how long he’s had to sink his claws into Celieria, and how much can truly be accomplished in all that time. I actually had trouble reading these sections of the book in a way that I didn’t have even with the last one. Every time I saw that the scene switched back to Eld and the High Mage’s point of view, I turned the page with dread.
However, as difficult as it was to read, I also liked that we have this uncertainty over how bad things are going to get. I liked that we are kept guessing over who will live and who will die. I like that we don’t know what will happen to Ellie in the next book, or how the challenges to Ellie’s and Rain’s relationship may affect them. And that may be why I love this book, and this series so much. It’s just as much a fantasy as it is a romance. The fey world, their society and traditions are skillfully drawn. Their way of life is dying, and the sense of impending doom hovers in the horizon. The battle between good and evil will affect many, and there are no reassurances that the good guys will come out unscathed.
This time when I finished the last page, I didn’t close the book with a contented little sigh. This time, I uttered what could only be described as a strangled gasp of panic. I had to wait how long to read the next-and last- book?!?! How was I going to make it until then?!
This book can be purchased on September 30, 2008, in mass market from Amazon or Powells. No ebook format.
What a fantastic review Jane – I agree with you 100%. In fact King, so far, is my top 1 read of 2008. This series is an amazing example of how well Fantasy and Romance can be done. It takes some major writing skills and CL Wilson has truckloads of it.
“I liked that we are kept guessing over who will live and who will die”
YES, perfect. gaah, I love this series, it may well be my favorite at the moment – and I can’t wait to read the final installment and I totally get your panic. I contemplate hibernating until then.
Ooh! I wants, I wants…
Must buy Lady and King right this moment. Can’t wait to read these!
Wilson’s series just blows me away. King of Sword and Sky was an incredible reading experience. Great review :D
Terrific review, Jane! I struggled with the book at first, I think mostly because of the dumps of information about the Tairens. But about 2/3 of the way through, WHOA, once we get kind of the full scope of what the High Mage has been up to, it became one of those situations where I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!
I too finished the book and wailed about the idea that it’s going to be June before we get the end of this wonderful series!
For those of you who have read the series thus far, would you recommend waiting until June and reading all three books back-to-back? Or are they sufficiently stand-aloney to read two now and wait for the third without being driven crazy with the what ifs?
Interesting review, Loonigrrl. I’m not familiar with this series but I’m intrigued by what you said:
It sounds right on the intersection between the two genres, and that kind of blend can be very creative. I might have to look into this one. Maybe I’ll wait until next June since I haven’t yet started the first one …
I thoroughly enjoyed the first on a recommendation of a friend. I’m sitting on this one as a reward to myself after I plow through some necessary reading. Good to know that it’ll be worthwhile. (And doesn’t hurt to get closer to June so there’s less wailing over the wait.)
Go CHERYL! You rock, dudette! Proud to know you and be your friend. What a fantastic review! :-)
This review was written by loonigrrl — glad you are enjoying it, though.
Great review, Loonigrrl! This series is one of my favorites to date.
The books individually are not very stand alone-ish, though, those of us who read from the beginning did read them alone and waited until the next ones release. If you want the story in full, then I’d say wait until closer till the release date of the last book which is in June 09. If you don’t mind a little cliff hanger then read the first three now.
I’m not a fantasy reader by nature as I O.D.’d on them when I was a kid. Most fantasy romance doesn’t zing me either. I felt that since Lord of the Fading Lands was snagging so many awards I’d give it a try. I’m happy I did. Ms. Wilson’s descriptive abilities are incredible. The stories have enough weight to play in both the fantasy and romance genres. The characters possess depth and experience growth, and that isn’t always the case in either genre. I’m eagerly awaiting King of Sword & Sky and bummed I have to wait until June for the final book in the series.
Thank you loonigrrl! WOW! I can’t wait to read this book! And it sounds so good. I enjoyed the first two so much. Yes, June is a long wait, but I have a feeling it will be worth it :)
BTW, am I allowed to ask if we get lots of Gaelen in this book please?
What a great review! I agree with every word, especially the part about not having any idea what was coming next and then being amazed and awed by what did.
I love this book SO much.
Yes! We do get to see quite a bit of him :)
Brie, you mentioned cliffhangers and I have to add that this is one series that does them well, simply because there is so much meat in each book. Things do get resolved or the plot advances significantly or characters grow noticeably – there’s so much there that a cliffhanger doesn’t feel as devastating in these books. And because we are given so many satisfying elements in each book, it’s much easier to believe and trust that the next book will deliver too. I’m grateful to Wilson for not relying solely on a shocking, gut-wrenching cliffhanger to lead us on to the next book.
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Loonigirl I completely agree with you this series has been phenomenal so far and I simply cannot wait for book 4 Queen of Song and Souls and see how Ellie and Rain's story moves forward. I almost wish I hadn’t discovered this series yet so I didn’t have to wait until June 09 for the next installment I just don’t know how I will make it!!!!!
PS your review is amazing you capture the essence of the book enticing me to read it all over again.
How many times you eat during a normal … every day life?
are you the type of person who eats a bit and often?
or rarely and too much?
i usually have 3 and i’m the 2nd type of person (though it’s not that healthy)
8 am breakfast
9pm a snack.