REVIEW: Crown of Crystal Flame by C.L. WilsonTuesday, October 26, 2010 1:00
When I think back to 2007 when I received an ARC for review of the first book in this series, Lord of the Fading Lands, and I kept looking at the cover, telling myself “That’s fantasy, you’re not big on fantasy, you probably won’t like that book,” I’d put it aside to read something else, I can’t believe I might have missed the best books and best series to come along in a very long time. C.L. Wilson has written the book of her heart and readers have taken her story and her characters into theirs. This last book of the series is a perfect ending to the perfect series. I hate to see it end, but Ms. Wilson is now well into her journey as a best-selling author, so I know more good things — no, great things — will be forthcoming from her.
We go into this last book with Ellie still not completing her truemate bond with Rain. He is slowly dying, suffering madness without their bond. Of course, like any fan of this series, I’ve had my own ideas of what I’d like to see happen between this awesome couple, what Ellie’s Tairen looks like, her first flight in that form, and a number of other things. Ms. Wilson gave me what I wanted in spades — and then some.
War has been waged against the Fey by the Mages of Eld and the fighting becomes much more intense and personal in this book. The action is nearly nonstop once battling begins. We lose a few good friends, inevitable in the face of war, but sad to say that final farewell. The High Mage has huge plans, thought out over millennia, and while he succeeds on some level, Ms. Wilson masterfully spans the reader’s tension and anxiety over Rain and Ellie’s plight chapter after chapter until the last possible moment. She had me tied up in knots when it seemed capture was finally imminent and I just couldn’t stand to read any further, not wanting to know what happens to them. I literally would let book in hand fall to my lap and my head drop back to the top of the couch, insides twisting with despair. This book is filled with those types of moments. I, of course, kept reading, letting that despair then be overwhelmed by curiosity, only to plunge headlong back into that former state. Back and forth it went over and over again.
And all of that is nothing compared to the moment Ellie and the High Mage do come face to face. Her parents, who have been in his evil, torturous hands for centuries, are used against her. Her twin sisters, who are recently his prisoners, are used against her. Ellie’d seen all of this in her dreams and she’s able to hold out as the mage taunts her. It’s not until she discovers what has befallen Rain that her Tairen bursts free. And what happens next is astonishing. More than I could have imagined. More than I could ever put into words, so I won’t try. It’s the author who does it to perfection. Ms. Wilson’s superb job with the bonding completion and the resulting events, one of my fervent hopes that comes true, is entrancing and spellbinding. Ellie is beautiful indeed.
I knew there would be times during my reading that tears would threaten. What amazed me is those tears came at points I didn’t expect, nowhere close to those moments I did. The most poignant and surprising came with Annoura, Queen of Celieria, who is a character many have come to dislike somewhat in the last couple of books. I find my heart softening. my sympathizing toward her unexpected but in hindsight not surprising when in such talented author hands. There are other very emotional scenes in the book, some with those characters we’ve come to love and some with new characters who we can’t but love instantly.
Having been on the edge in 2007 of nearly missing this entire series is a moment of disbelief for me now that I’ve read the entire series. I know what I would have been missing, a terrific story with awesome characters in a world worth fighting to the death against evil for, and I’m now glad to have been a part of it. But not having read the words of the talented C.L. Wilson is such a shame for any reader. Trust me on that one.
If I could add another ten, fifty, a hundred, or even more pluses after my review grade for this book, I certainly would. It deserves that and so much more.
A Song of Love won her heart.
A Song of Darkness haunted her soul.
A Song in the Dance would seal her fate.
Seers had long foreseen an extraordinary destiny for Ellysetta Baristani. Already she had won the heart of the Fey King?the magnificent Rain, ever her ally, eternally her love. She had saved the offspring of the magical tairen and fought beside her legendary mate against the armies of Eld.
But the most powerful–and dangerous–Verse of her Song had yet to be sung.
As the final battle draws nigh and evil tightens its grip upon her soul–will Ellysetta secure the world for Light or plunge it into Darkness for all eternity? As she and Rain fight for each other, side by side, will they find a way to complete their truemate bond and defeat the evil High Mage of Eld before it’s too late, or must they make the ultimate sacrifice to save their world?
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: