Lady of Light and Shadows

By: C. L. Wilson

Series: Tairen Soul

Book Number: 2

Star Rating:

Sensuality Rating:



Spoiler Disclaimer


For simple woodcarver's daughter Ellysetta Baristani, it was like something out of a fairy tale when Rainier vel'En Daris, the Feyreisen, King of the Fading Lands, and the one and only Tairen Soul swooped down from the skies and claimed her as his truemate. Their courtship has been a whirlwind of activities as they prepare for their upcoming wedding, and during this time, Ellie has also been coming into a greater knowledge of her magical powers. Up until now, they've been something she's feared because of her mother's belief that all magic is evil, but Rain has been encouraging her to embrace them as a part of herself. Unfortunately she has little control over them, and at a royal banquet, she unintentionally sent everyone into paroxysms of lusty desire. While some attendees were merely amused, others were embarrassed, and still others are now using it as a pretext for no longer trusting the Fey. This presents a problem for Rain who is trying to court the votes of the Celierian nobles who will decide whether the borders will be opened between Celieria and Eld. Knowing that the Elden Mages have once again arisen and present a very real danger to them all, this is something that Rain cannot allow to happen. As Rain and Ellie continue their courtship and a political battle of wills plays out in the halls of Celieria's government, the High Mage of Eld has been channeling his apprentice who has mage-marked several Celierians to use for his nefarious purposes. Meanwhile as Ellie's magical powers seem to grow, there are those who begin to question the source of those powers, and when her origins are finally revealed it may drive a wedge between her and Rain just as an Elden plot to abduct Ellie on her wedding day begins to unfold.


Lady of Light and Shadows is the second book in C. L. Wilson's Tairen Soul series. It picks up precisely where the first book left off, in the aftermath of the lusty Spirit weave that Elysetta accidentally created while at the royal banquet. The Celierians who were present have had differing reactions. Some are appreciative and amused, while others are embarrassed, and still others are upset for entirely different reasons, thinking that the Fey are trying to control their minds. The latter creates a diplomatic issue for Rain, Marissya, and Dax who are trying to persuade the Celierian nobles to vote against opening their borders to Eld. While some are on their side, they have an uphill battle convincing most of them that the Elden Mages have indeed arisen again and pose a grave threat to everyone. As the negotiations continue, so does Rain and Ellie's courtship, which is sweet and romantic. Rain also tries to teach Ellie the basics of controlling her magic, while her mother, who is adamantly against magic of any kind, believes that Ellie is in danger of losing her soul. Meanwhile, the High Mage of Eld continues to rise in power, channeling his apprentice who has been in Celieria from the beginning and has mage-marked a number of Celierians who can then be used for nefarious purposes. Ellie's magic increases as well, leading some to start questioning the source of her power, and revelations about her origins could drive a wedge between her and Rain just as the Eld have gotten a strong enough foothold to attempt to abduct his shei'tani on their wedding day.

I feel like the first book of the series focused a little more on Rain, while Ellysetta was someone who was unexpectedly drawn into the world of the Fey when he claimed her as his truemate. This book focuses more on Ellie, as she continues to prepare for their wedding and slowly comes into a greater realization of her power. She's still the same shy, sweet girl we met in the previous book, but as her power grows, so, too, does her confidence and assertiveness. Although Rain begins to train her in the use of magic, she still has very little control over it. When she deliberately tries to weave magic, Ellie is mostly unsuccessful, yet she accomplishes some miraculous feats in moments of passion that are pretty much purely accidental. By the end, we're made aware of her full origins and the full extent of her powers that are absolutely phenomenal. I loved seeing all this unfold, and as it did, it led to many moments of surprise for me as there was a lot I didn't see coming. I don't want to reveal much more than that, because it's so much more fun to find out as you read along, but suffice it to say, that Ellie turns out to be Rain's equal in every way and his perfect shei'tani. I've loved Ellie from the beginning, but the amount of growth she goes through in this book is amazing and made me love her even more. I can't wait to see what other things she'll accomplish as the story continues.

Rain still exhibits the power of the Tairen Soul in all his dealings with everyone. He begins the story trying to smooth things over with King Dorian, Queen Annoura, and the Celierian nobles after Ellie's accidental release of magic that led to everyone present at the royal banquet having a long, lusty night. He wants to stave off an international incident and also save the talks that are designed to prevent the Celierians from opening their borders to Eld. Although he finds allies amongst them, many are hard-headed and use what happened at the banquet as yet another excuse to not trust the Fey even though they've been a friend to Celieria for eons. Rain continues to sweetly court Ellie and they even share a few lusty moments of their own inside a Spirit weave in order to get around Celierian customs regarding a bride being pure of her wedding day. During their time together, he also patiently trains her in magic, although it's a slow process. Overall, Rain is still the loving, doting shei'tan, although when the truth of Ellie's origins come out, he has moments of doubt about her, which were completely understandable under the circumstances. Luckily he comes to his senses in time to save his truemate from a lethal attack and makes appropriate apologies. I'm still enamored of Rain in much the same way I think Ellie was at the beginning. He's definitely not perfect, but he knows his faults and owns them. He can be sweet and romantic, but at the same time, he's an incredibly powerful being. I still feel like squeeing every time he shapeshifts into the Tairen. A giant cat dragon? Yaaassss! How creative is that on the part of the author? It's certainly unique to my reading experiences thus far. So I still adore Rain in every way.

I was utterly crazy about the first book, Lord of the Fading Lands, but sometimes a follow-up book fails to live up to that promise. When I started Lady of Light and Shadows, I wasn't entirely sure, because it is admittedly a little slow in the beginning, mostly covering Rain and Ellie's continuing courtship and Rain's efforts to smooth things over with the Celierians after Ellie's little magical mishap. However, about a third of the way in, it hit it's stride and didn't let go of my attention until I turned the final page. There was so much that happened in this book with most of the plot points that had been left hanging at the end of the first one being resolved in one way or another. The story also went in directions I never could have predicted, leaving me stunned a number of times and thinking, "OMG, did that really happen? Yes, that happened!" By the time I got to the end, my reaction was "Dayum, that was a hella good story!" It more than delivered on the promise of the first volume, while still leaving a few things yet to be explored in future books. Clearly another war with the Eld is now imminent, and after the destruction they wrought in this book, I'm eager see them taken out of the equation. But in the meantime, Ellie still has yet to visit the Fading Lands for the first time, and we still have to see exactly how she's going to save both the Fey and the Tairen as was prophesied. It should all make for some thrilling reading. The author's writing skills are stellar and her plotting and world-building are phenomenal. It's been a while since a book series has gotten me this excited. I'm now a genuine C. L. Wilson fan and I truly can't wait to see what happens next for my beloved Rain and Ellie.


C. L. Wilson


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