by CL Wilson, fantasy (2007)
Leisure, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-8439-5977-2
The world building of CL Wilson's fantasy series isn't bad at all, although it is still a rather generic sword and sorcery kind of setting. Lord Of The Fading Lands kicks off the series and is best read along with the rest of the books in the series if you want some conclusive closure in your stories.
I have heard many rave reviews about this book, so perhaps I am expecting too much, but Lord Of The Fading Lands remains too much like a typical Mary Sue fanfiction to me. There is nothing truly inventive or original about it. Substitute "fae" or "tairen" for "elves" or something and this could easily be any middle-of-the-road fantasy series. Perhaps because it is shelved among romance books that it stands out in a way, but I personally find very little that is memorable about this particular book. The dullest aspect of it is the heroine.
Ellysetta Bristani is not what I'd call an interesting main character. She is a stereotype of a Mary Sue heroine. She has beautiful hair, exotic eyes, full lips, a full top-heavy figure... and yet she's supposed to be plain and unattractive. She is adopted, which we all know is short-hand for "Ohmigod, special powers are about to be discovered and her parents are going to be like, ohmigod, wonderful!" Or, in the romance genre, "her private parts... will save the world!" Her mother wants her to be married off to a fat and unattractive suitor. Because she is adopted and is therefore grateful to her foster parents (or, rather, her adopted daddy, because we all know mommies suck), she feels that she has to go along. Oh, and she is also tormented by nightmares, taunted by jealous bitches, et cetera. All the better for her to weep tragically, I suppose.
Our hero is Rainier vel'En Daris Feyreisen. I see that Ms Wilson believes in the philosophy that it ain't high fantasy until you have an apostrophe and a few V and Y in the names of the characters and places. If that name isn't already a mouthful, he is known to humans as the Rain Tairen Soul. Don't ask me if the sister Sunshine Cheerbelle Lily will be getting a spin-off. Rain is the King of the Fey, but alas, the Fey and the tairens (lion-like guardians of the Fey) are dying - only one fertile female tairen is left in existence - even as the bad guys, the Mages of Eld, are multiplying and gathering power to finish off the Fey. After molesting the Eye of Truth to get... er, the truth, he heads over to the "mortal" lands...
... Where he somehow mind-melds with our heroine and realizes her distress as she is molested by her unwanted suitor. When our hero, resplendent in his wings and all, comes forth to claim our heroine as his soul mate and helps her bring all her wonderful special magical pretty powers, destiny, et cetera forth, what now does the future hold for our cute, waifish, special, unique, beautiful, amazing, selfless, and extraordinary heroine and her perfect soul-mate?
Much of this story is devoted to the courtship of Rain and Ellie, which to my dismay is pretty much all about how special Ellie is. I am not enamored of this kind of annoyingly waifish yet so noble heroine who, after being lost for so long, finally finds love and friendship upon the plot HSS Mary Sue love boat and starts discovering all those special aspects of herself that she has never known until now. Ellie is already half in love with the 1,000-year-old or so Rain even before she meets him. After all, as the author puts it so beautifully, Ellie weeps when she first sees this painting of Rain defeating evil a thousand years ago only to lose his soul mate. If you ever see someone weeping in front of a painting in a museum, don't call security. It's only Ellie. She's... sensitive.
I suppose in future books there will be a showdown between good and evil as our heroine's special powers will heal the world while her special and tireless ovaries will repopulate the Fae like the beautiful breeding cow that she is. But in this book, too much emphasis is on the tedious heroine and how special she is. The more interesting aspects of the story are, unfortunately, rather unimaginative staple of every other generic fantasy series out there.
Perhaps I am expecting too much, but I honestly don't find anything particularly interesting in Lord Of The Fading Lands. However, as you probably can tell from my opinion of the hero, the heroine, and the plot, I suspect that this book will be a big hit with fans of Christine Feehan, JR Ward, and other authors of the sort.
This book at Amazon.com
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