Fifth and final story in the Tairen Soul fantasy series revolving around Ellysetta Baristani and Rainier vel’En Daris.
The deaths of Talisa Barrial diSebourne and Adrial vel Arquinas have set Rain and Dorian at critical odds. Great Lord Sebourne has taken his army and left the allies to face the might of the Eld on their own while Lorelle has discovered the lie beneath the seemingly wonderful life she is living with her sister and parents in the Faering Mists.
The truth of the dahl’reisen is revealed when Rain and Ellie’s rescuers turn out to be those outlawed fae who take them to their almost-a-city in the middle of the Verlaine Forest. Already prepared to accept the dahl’reisen because of Ellie’s abilities to pull them back from that fatal step and reinforced by their care of them and their injuries, Rain is stunned at the tiny city’s fruitful population as he realizes the contrasts between the moral, upright fae and these damned fae and how it affects its extermination.
Ilona Brighthand, the Elf Queen of Silverwood discovers with her brother, Galad Hawksheart, that Ellie encompasses all the magic of their lands, that her Song is the one that sings all songs with the ability of changing all and anything depending upon her choices.
Ellie is Rain’s truemate and her fear of her true self is holding her back from completing the mate bond with Rain. She loves him. She would die for him. But she is terrified that if Rain should see what is in her soul, he would back away from her. Never love her again.
Rain is the fey king and his bond madness is upon him. Even if he should survive this war with the Eld and its Mages, he only has a month or so before he dies if Ellie does not complete the bond with him.
Vadim Maur is the Chief High Mage. He’s been plotting this war since the Eld Mages lost the last war 1,000 years ago. Maur has planned well. Revenants in cold storage. The weapons buildup over 1,000 years and the improvements that have been made to the killing power. His genetics program. The torture he’s used to force dahl’reisen further down the path to the Dark.
Melliandra is a daughter umagi of Maur’s. One of his “failed” genetic experiments, Melliandra plays an extremely important behind-the-scenes role for Shan and Elfeya’s escape and the eventual success for the good guys.
There are so many betrayals in Crown of Crystal Flame as well as heartwarming support and I had the hardest time getting through this story. The predicament in which the allies, Rain, and Ellie found themselves felt so hopeless; I’m still not sure how I managed to keep from reading ahead to be sure the characters I loved survived!
Love is a powerful force and, in spite of all the torturous trials Ellie and Rain endured, I could wish for such.
Wilson really built the drama on this one except that she spent so much time building way beyond what the human brain/soul can take, pitching it higher and higher to within mere pages of the end. And she didn’t leave any room to conclude. Everything just ended up so easily and quickly. Although, it could well be that Wilson simply brought everything to that point and there was no where else to go…
This is probably the busiest cover of the five books in this series with what is probably a life-size (proportionally speaking) profile of a tairen head filling the background and Rain protectively holding Ellie against his chest both dressed quite medievally. The title, Crown of Crystal Flame, is a short blip at the end when the crown of the Feyreisa is described.