Note: I hate giving out spoilers in my reviews but with this one I found it very difficult to avoid, although I tried to be vague please keep in mind there ARE going to be some spoilers especially towards the end of the review, of which I have given ample warning.
Queen of Song and Souls is the 4th installment of the Tarien Soul romantic fantasy epic series, and is one of the long awaited books I have been looking forward to this year. And when I received the ARC I was ecstatic. The book starts off a few weeks after the major events in the previous books, with Ellie and Rain both living in exile from the Fading Lands, and from the war that is encroaching from the evil Elden mages. To help defend against this threat, Ellie, Rain and the rest of their contingent have to shore up support and defenses against the growing Eld attacks – as well as persuading their human allies and their neighbouring lands to join against the upcoming war. Despite this, there are tensions amongst the human Celerians – who view the Fey with mistrust and are doubtful that the Eld are planning to attack them.
This is very much a transitional book which really sets up the explosive showdown with the Eld. In the previous books, Elden mage agents have sown distrust and paranoia against the Fey among the human Celarians, and they have started making preparations to conquer their neighbours – including the Fading Lands. In addition to this looming threat, Ellie is also battling the evil and insidious threat of the mage marks which she has managed to gain from the chief Elden mage, Vadim Maur, who is planning on forcibly taking over her body and power due to his own ailing health and age. Rain is also facing internal problems due to the fact his bond with Ellie has not been fully formed and it is the only way to save her from being enslaved by Vadim and save Rain from succumbing to insanity.
What I really loved about this book was the political intrigue. And one of the best characters central to this was Queen Annoura, who is caught in the midst of the scheming and plotting by Elden agents,who are using her to cast suspicion against the Fey, due to her own fears and mistrust of the Fey. She was deliciously arrogant, vain and stubborn, which are traits that may lead her down a dark path. Although she is a frustrating character, and one I love to hate I also felt sympathetic because it’s her belief that she is doing the right thing. And I love the fact that C.L Wilson did not make her to be stupid or have her making idiotic mistakes to fit the plotline. At times I felt, nooooo please don’t fall for that scheme or rumour, and it has left me at tenterhooks, especially since she is being set up as one of the major integral characters whose own consequences could lead to heartache and destruction.
The romance was also further developed, both Ellie and Rain are committed to each other despite their initial doubts and fears in the early books. However, in Queen of Song and Souls, they both admit that they are having problems with their own internal fears, such as Ellie’s fear of her mage marks corrupting her and completing Vadim’s dark ambitions. Whilst Rain’s own fear is that he is unable to protect Ellie from Vadim, and the possibility he could go insane and perhaps cause another holocaust.
When I initially read the first book, the introduction of the mate bond trope, which has been overused in a lot of romances, but C.L Wilson tackles this in a realistic way, that despite that this fated bond has happened, both Rain and Ellie are truly in love, but they also have doubts and fears. In this book they have moved on from those stumbling blocks as they both admit their fears and worries, and help each other about their inner threats, as well as the threats from outside.
With each book it feels like C.L Wilson has expanded and developed her world. And it is like an ever expanding tapestry where new developments and characters are included to add depth and tension to the upcoming confrontation with the Eld. In Queen of Soul and Songs this is especially apparent as we are introduced to the mysterious elves, whom Ellie and Rain must ask for help to shore up a resistance force against the upcoming attack from the Eld Mages. I loved the description of the Elves and how different they were in contrast to the Fey, I would love to learn more from the brief glimpse we got of them.
HERE BE REAL SPOILERS
However there was one minor gripe I did have in the book and it was at the end. The Elves are foreseers and are able to see potential fates and paths. But they were unable to tell or warn them of where potential decisions and their resulting outcomes this could lead them into. They would not help the Fey figure out what they could do to combat the Elden mages.
I feel that this trope is used a lot in fantasy and I thought it just bogged down the story, since there was a bit of info dumping as well. I might be missing the point since this series is really is about setting out different story threads and weaving it all together, just like the magic of the Fey, and this encounter will be more important in the final book. But I felt this affected the pacing especially since there were other events coinciding with this encounter that were more tension filled and perhaps that is why I felt like that.
The ending of Queen of Song and Souls does not show major changes in the series, but is definitely one that is filled with deep emotional intensity and ties up some plot lines. But this book really sets out the end game of the story of Ellie and Rain and cranks up the tension. The major players are in place for the huge showdown with the Eld, and Tairen Soul which is book 5, should come out sometime next year to play this out.
I give Queen Songs and Souls 4 out of 5
And to celebrate the new site and the fact this is a fantastic series – We are giving away a copy of Queen of Song and Souls to a lucky reader!
All you need to do is comment in this post.
Competition ends next Friday 6th of November Midnight GMT time.
Giveaway is open to anyone who lives in a country where the Book Depository ships to!
Giveaway is now closed!