Crown of Crystal Flame

Crown of Crystal Flame  - C.L. Wilson So, these books are really more romance than fantasy; the fantasy is pretty standard with a Mary Sue who is a speshul little snowflake who is speshul, saves the world, and every single fucking man lurves her because of reasons. This review is more of a summary of all the books, because I'm too lazy to write one for each.

The characters:
The characters developed little throughout the books; Rain is tormented by his past actions, because a tormented male hero who is much older than his love interest and has a deep and dark past never gets old. *sigh*

Ellysetta is a young woman who can only be descrubed as a Mary Sue. She is a speshul little snowflake, has no real flaws and is completely unbelievable. She doesn't have to fight to gain skills, she doesn't have to practice to be able to fight, she doesn't need to practice and go through a lot of hard work to become powerful. Everything is handed to her on a silver platterr (not really, actually more in the form of deus ex machina). Sure she has a darkness of her own and must overcome her fears of herself, but it's never a actual handicap that truly affects her, and it finally is solved for her by others, instead of her actually having to do the work herself and thus grow into a strong confident woman and learn how to be a good queen of the fey.

And Ellysetta is the über Mary Sue of all Mary Sues. She can do fucking everything without having to work for it, she is a powerful magic user, without training, she can fight without training (because of a ridicous patched up story about her having her father's skills or something, all just because it's easier for her to just have all the skills than for her to actually have to work to get better, train to become a fighter). Fucking Mary Sue!

I can't stand it if a hero/heroine doesn't have to do the actual work to become strong. I want my characters to have actual flaws, to sometimes fail and make mistakes, then learn from those mistakes, and to have to work really hard to achieve their goals. This makes up a good character, because they are realistic. If a character just gets everything handed to them: their powers, fighting skills etc. makes the character unrealistic and takes all the excitement out of the story, because I'll know that in the end, they will win without any real losses.

The supporting characters play a big role during the entire story and are often used as deus ex machinas to solve all the problems for the heroine; we have the star-crossed lovers who are killed because of their love, the girl who chooses light over darkness even though she has knows nothing but darkness, and the outcast dahl'reisen who still manage hold on to their "lost" honor and protect the Fading Lands even though they are exiled from it. And of course we have the scores of men who give up their future happiness and potential mates in order to serve Ellysetta, because she is a fucking Mary Sue, and everyone falls into unrealistic love with her. This was so fucking annoying, I eyerolled everytime another idiot fell for fucking Mary Sue-Ellysetta, by the end of the books my eyes hurt.

The Romance:
There is insta-love between the hero and heroine, while Ellysetta is enchanted by all things fey; Rain falls in love with her because she is his chosen or whatever because of reasons, and falls more in love with her because she is perfect in everything she does. Because she is a fucking Mary Sue.

Thankfully these books exist, because there are never enough romances between a possessive and dominating alpha male and a speshul little snowflake who has no flaws but no real character either.

The World Building:
The world and world builiding are stndard fantasy trope, just instead of dragons there are tairen. There are humans and fey, the fey are powerful magic-users but are dying out. There is evil whose reasoning and mptives are not explained, they are only evil because they're evil.
Like I said, there are mythical creatures, the tairen, but they are basically dragons with a bit of cat thrown into the mix, they are intelligent creatures that speshul little snowflakes can ride into battle.

The Plot:
As I already mentioned, the fantasy is pretty standard. There is a black and white, big evil that threatens the whole world and a heroine who fights the evil with her speshul powers - and with their speshul power of lurveee - but doesn't actually have to fight to gain that power.

With a final showdown between Good and Evil in the end. It fast became clear, that Ellysetta would have to overcome her fears of her own darkness and choose between Good and Evil. This is what the whole story was leading up to and she was even told, that she has the power to choose between Light and Dark. So naturally she would have to make a tough decision in the end and hard decisions usually come with a steep price.

Well, if you break everything down, basically she chose evil, because by not sacrificing Rain she gave herself up to Vadim Maur and thus to Darkness. Which means that Evil won and she sacrificed the whole world to save her true love... But of course she and the world is saved by deus ex machina in form of the supporting characters.

But had it all been up to her, evil would have won; this weak ending fucking disappointed me, this could have actually saved the book in my eyes. But no, in the end it turned out that Ellysetta has no spine and would rather save her love than the whole fucking world! I mean, dammit, she knew that Rain would suffer a worse fate if he lived while she became the very thing he swore to destroy and Evil would have won.

I just expected her to choose Good over Evil no matter the cost, especially since she knew exactly what would happen to the world and to everyone loved were she to choose evil. But in the end she surrendered herself to evil to save Rain, fully knowing that the world would fall to Darkness. That she couldn't sacrifice the person she loved most for Good and the well-being of the entire world and everyone she loved was disappointing.

The ending feels hastily written, the way they just decide to infiltrate Vadim Maur’s fortress was clumsy. It had “trap” written all over it, yes they had a back-up plan, but it was obvious that Ellysetta would be captured and thus the world would hang in balance. But because of the supporting characters (and the power of the deus ex machina), who finally managed to defeat the evil that was Vadim Maur, they all made it out alive.