Returning to the Fading Lands with his Celierian truemate, Rain discovers a dissension among the most powerful members of his own council. As the Eld plot their next deadly strike, Ellysetta struggles to master her powerful magic and discover how to save the tairen, while Rain confronts open challenge to his rule and prepares to lead the Fey army to war.
While I read this series, I picture the faeries as the elves from the Peter Jackson LOTR trilogy and the Fading Lands to be as Rivendell from Fellowship of the Ring, all dreamy and shining. I know it's not technically correct because Rain and Ellysetta are fey, not elves, but as there are no elves in this chapter in the Tairen Soul story, I don't feel too badly.
This is such a well-written series and reminiscent of Tolkien with a world of different lands and peoples full of compelling characters, both good and evil, who are engaged in a millennia-long war. I believe Vadim Maur, the leader of Eld and chief villain in this world, is one of the most heinous foes I have ever read and that includes Voldemort and possibly Sauron. He is horrifying. Vadim Maur is pure evil and he has absolutely no remorse, no conscience, no limits in his penchant for doing whatever is necessary to further his cause and vanquish all Light in their world. Dramatic, right? Well, Wilson's story is definitely dramatic and is equally so on either side of the fence.
Rain is a Tairen Soul, currently the only Tairen Soul in their world. He is the King of the Fading Lands and can change from his human form into a Tairen. Picture, if you will, a big cat that looks like a cross between a lion and bobcat but make it as big as a dragon and add wings and talons and fire and then you'd be close. Rain desperately wants his truemate, Ellysetta, to complete their soul bonding so they can be complete but Ellie is so filled with doubt - of herself, of her abilities, of what will happen - that she can't figure out how. It's weakening Rain, leaving him open to losing himself in madness again, and Ellie needs the truemate bond to protect herself from Maur's magical influence. Rain and Ellie are also battling their own people in an internal power struggle and working to keep the Tairen from dying. Needless to say, Rain and Ellysetta are very busy in book three.
King of Sword and Sky is the third book in the Tairen Soul series and it did lag a bit in places but by two-thirds the way through it picked WAY up and sped to a conclusion that made me instantly pick up book four, Queen of Song and Souls. I enjoyed following Ellysetta on her journey and seeing her coming into her powers (she's still not there yet). One of the best parts of King is finally meeting the Tairen pride. They are in crisis; some unknown force is killing the unborn Tairen babies and some of the adults too. They are a great facet in the group of characters, Steli in particular, the Tairen that adopts Ellie as her Pride-daughter. Mama bears have nothing on Steli.
I enthusiastically recommend this series to anyone who likes paranormal romance. Books one through four are available now; Crown of Crystal Flame, the finale and fifth book, is scheduled to be released on October 26, 2010.
Other reviews: (careful - there's spoilers everywhere)