Queen of Song and Souls is the fourth book of C. L. Wilson’s Tairen Soul series. I will buy and read the fifth, Crown of Crystal Flame, even though I have mixed feelings about these books. This series is published as paranormal romance, but it’s really high fantasy with a romance running throughout. There’s a strong wish-fulfillment element running through it as well — the hero is able to shape-shift into a Tairen, a giant flying panther that breathes flame and has a poisonous bite and stinger on it’s tail. The heroine discovers over the course of the books that she has extremely powerful magic that the bad guys want to use. These two are true-mates, and of course the fate of the world depends upon them being able to complete their bond.
It sounds horribly trite put this way, but Wilson writes well, and managed to draw me in despite the rough opening of the first book, Lord of the Fading Lands.
Over the years, as I’ve written more and more and participated in critique groups, my inclination to put down a book that wasn’t measuring up has increased. I have sooo many books in my “to be read” pile that there’s no point in spending precious life reading a book I’m not enjoying.
I debated putting down QofS&S throughout the first half of the book even though I was in the middle of the series. It’s not bad, it’s just not compelling. But I kept reading because I wanted to find out how she handled the elves (a race we hadn’t met before). (Elvia is sort of like Lothlorien on steriods.) And then the pace picked up and the emotional stakes became more immediate and I no longer contemplated putting down the book. She closes with a powerful emotional scene that though cliched, I still enjoyed. (“Enjoyed” isn’t really the right word since it was rather tragic, but you know what I mean.)
I give this book and the series it belongs to a qualified “thumbs up.” It’s an enjoyable read, but it’s rather derivative.