Book Review: Queen of Song and Souls by CL Wilson

Once again, I’ll try not to give spoilers.

I took a peek at my receipt, which I’ve used as a book marker, and see I purchased this book December 27, 2009. I’m not sure when I started reading it, but I know I’ve been at it for a few weeks. I finally finished reading it March 4, 2010 even though I’m just now getting around to the review. Talk about procrastination.

I’ll begin by saying, The Tairen Soul series is the first fantasy romance I’ve ever read or at least remember reading. I remember thinking the first book was very similar in concept to Christine Feehan with her soul bonds. The similarity ends there, however. The further I advanced through story line, the more apparent that was. And the hook from CL Wilson’s website:

The first deadly battles of the new Mage Wars have been fought, and victory has been won at a terrible price. As the toll of an unfulfilled matebond and the torment of war begins tips Rain towards madness, Ellysetta knows if she cannot find a way to defeat the darkness growing inside her and complete the truemate bond, Rain will die and she will become the prophesied monster Vadim Maur uses to destroy the Fey and enslave the World.

My opinions of Queen of Song and Soul are rather mixed. This book was meant to be the last, but somehow Ms. Wilson has managed to squeeze another book idea for the story line. I’m beginning to think this is a never-ending epic saga with no end in sight.

Fantasy: In my younger years, I was a big fantasy fan (see here). I kind of grew out of that phase though. So, I’m really not sure how I managed to get involved in this series. Even so, I think Ms. Wilson did an excellent job creating a fantasy world. She’s very descriptive, giving a clear image of the environment. I have to admit, though, I did gloss over a lot of the descriptions. Not because the descriptions were bad, I just wanted to get to the action, and I’m impatient. The ones I read were great though. The only thing which was lost on me was where the Fading Mist is? I remember the Fey had to cross it in order to get from Celieria to The Fadings Lands. It was a big deal. This time they were able to bypass the Fading Mist entirely on the way back. I just don’t understand what happened. I’m confused. Please, if someone can explain it to me, I’d love it. Then again, perhaps I’ve just forgotten. 🙂

Romance: As far as the main characters, I have to say this was more fantasy than romance. I honestly don’t understand what the antagonist is between the two main characters. It’s supposed to be the bonding, but I can’t understand why the bonding hasn’t happened yet. What’s preventing the last cord from forming? I don’t get it. Of course if the last thread did form, then that would be the happily ever after (HEA), and the story would be over, right? But forestalling the HEA for the sake of keeping the story going just isn’t enough for me.

Subplots: Mrs. Wilson had several subplots happening in the novel told from viewpoints of minor characters. Personally, I think all the subplots (with the exception of the Evil Mage’s POV) could have been omitted and nothing would have gone missing from the story. They seemed rather frivolous, but we’ll see how they all form together in the next book. Even though I thought they were unnecessary, I did like one in particular. Adrial and Talisa return in this novel, and things really heat up. For me, this was one of the highlights of the novel. From beginning to end, this subplot drew my attention. Though I imagine a lot of romance readers will hate it, I absolutely loved it!

If I could ask Mrs. Wilson one question about this book it would be: How much of this novel was necessary to advance the story?

I trudged through the first 275 pages of a 384 page book, traveling across the lands with Rain and Ellysetta, but nothing significant really happened to push the story forward on the romance end. Honestly, I can say the same for the last 100 pages or so also, nothing moved the plot forward. The story didn’t capture my attention until  the Adrial/Talisa and Shan/Elfeya subplots toward the end. But shouldn’t the main characters capture my attention?

My complete honest opinion of this book without reading the final is I could have done without it. It’s not that the writing was bad; it was that my expectations for the novel were different. I picked up the novel thinking I would enjoy a Fantasy Romance. What I got was a Fantasy Suspense. My disappointment lies in not getting what I wanted. Kind of like going to an Italian restaurant and finding all they serve is Thai food. It’s still food, and I like both. But when I sit down for Italian, I want Italian. Same thing here. 🙂

Ms. Wilson renamed her final book The Crown of Crystal Flame, which should be the end (so she says on her blog and website). I certainly look forward to reading it, despite my review of Queen of Song and Soul. I’ll also go into it with different expectations. I’ll hope for a plot heavy with romance but have the attitude it might be a Fantasy Suspense with mild romantic elements.

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