C.L. Wilson’s Queen of Song and Souls picks up the action from where her last book, King of Sword and Sky, left off. The magical fey are at the start of a war with the evil mages of the Eld. Rain, The Tairen Soul and his shei’tani or true soul mate, Ellie have been thrown out of the Fading Lands. Ellie’s young twin sisters are under attack causing them to flee into the mists surrounding the Fading Lands. Rain and Ellie know that to win this war they must call on their allies for help.
This is the fourth book in a quintet of books telling the story of Rain and Ellie. Like the previous books, there are several things going on at the same time. Readers watch as the High Mage of Eld tries to take control of Ellie wanting her body and his manipulations at the Celierian court. Ramifications from a certain state dinner come out and they are shocking to everyone! The Elves request Ellie’s presence as they share her major role in the Dance and give her a glimpse into her past. Things aren’t always as they seem and acceptance isn’t always easy.
I’d like to be able to say that this is a stand-alone book but I can’t. To fully appreciate this book, you must have read at least the previous one but preferably all of the previous books. This book is could be called a bridging book, bridging what has happened and preparing readers for the ending. Loose ends begin to come closed and few new twists are developed.
Though Ms. Wilson’s books are published as romance, this book is almost pure fantasy with a slight romantic flavor. There are few pure romance scenes though we are following the love story of Rain and Ellie. Another couple’s story is brought to a close by the end of this book yet even their story stresses more on solving their problems than finding them in bed with each other.
As a fantasy, you are exposed to lots of magic, unexplained happenings and wonder. There are many magical creatures living in Ms. Wilson’s world and new ones are introduced and those we’ve known are expounded on. The Elves and the Fey have distinct and separate purposes that usually compliment each other. Eld mages aren’t born evil but their culture makes them that way. The High Mage’s experiments come to light causing some distress.
On everyone’s mind is the war that is coming. Traditional allies suddenly aren’t there and the outcome of the world is on Ellie’s shoulders. And as the bond between Rain and Ellie is not complete, will Rain go mad before it happens as the pressures of the war pushes it closer and closer.
For me, I have been greatly anticipating this book. I’ve been following Rain and Ellie’s story since the first book, Lord of the Fading Lands, came out. Once again, I found myself not wanting to put this book down. This book isn’t as light feeling as the previous 3 books as it’s predominate subject, war, is gloomier but it does have it’s light moments with the Fey’s love of practical jokes. The characters are still compelling and the writing is riveting. Once again, I stayed up late reading and couldn’t wait to finish this story in the morning. It ended as it started, with sacrifice for those that the fey love.
I strongly recommend this series but I would not start with this book. Start at the beginning in order to fully enjoy this series and Ms. Wilson’s world. These books are more than just a romance series. They are more than just fantasy. They encompass the fight of good against evil, a vision of a bright world, the power of faith and love and much more. To place a single genre on these books do them a disservice as they take on a life of their own and deserve a place along side Tolken’s Lord of the Rings.