Win Crown of Crystal Flame by CL Wilson (and see why I have trouble reading fantasy)

Building up to a big release date for lots of new books on Tuesday! Check out the Fiction Affliction columns on Tor.com to see what’s coming out on Oct. 26.  Today, I’m giving away a copy of C.L. Wilson’s super new fantasy novel Crown of Crystal Flame. Read on to win, and come back next week for more surprises!

Confession time: tradition fantasy often baffles me. I will guiltily shuffle my feet and admit I didn’t even read Lord of the Rings until about 2000, when my friend Nick virtually held me at gunpoint and insisted I read the whole trilogy before the first Peter Jackson movie was released. I fell in love with the books, of course. And then with the movies as well, where I indulged in many a fantasy about Boromir and Faramir and Aragorn.

But I digress.

I love the idea of traditional fantasy, where one can lose oneself in a different world without the constraints of reality. But I have the attention span of a gnat, so many of the trad fantasies I’ve tried to read do three things that have me stabbing ice picks in my temples before it’s had a chance to pass or fail the 100-Page Test (a book has 100 pages to grab me or I’ll move on).

1) Worldbuilding before Character. I need to invest in people before I know Lord Ar’guth’nirz’s proud and noble history that has morphed over the millennia into…well, you get the idea. 

2) Prologues. This is an offshoot of #1. If Lord Ar’guth’nirz’s noble history is set apart in a prologue, I can pretty much guarantee that I will never know about it. I really hate prologues and have been known to skip them, which I realize is probably my loss. Me=gnat.

3) Names. Any name with more than one apostrophe will make my eyes cross. I “hear” text in my head as I read, and if I can’t pronounce a word without studying it a while, I can’t bond with the character. Attention span=gnat. 

I’m happy to say that C.L. Wilson’s Tairen Souls series completely avoids these pitfalls with her epic tale of love conquering darkness. Here’s the scoop:

Seers had long foreseen an extraordinary destiny for Ellysetta Baristani. Already she had won the heart of the Fey King—the magnificent Rain, ever her ally, eternally her love. She had saved the offspring of the magical tairen and fought beside her legendary mate against the armies of Eld. But the most powerful—and dangerous—Verse of her Song had yet to be sung. As the final battle draws nigh and evil tightens its grip upon her soul, will Ellysetta secure the world for Light or plunge it into Darkness for all eternity? As she and Rain fight for each other, side by side, will they find a way to complete their truemate bond and defeat the evil High Mage of Eld before it’s too late, or must they make the ultimate sacrifice to save their world? 
Want to win a spankin’ new copy of Crown of Crystal Flame? Tell me your favorite–or least-favorite–thing about traditional fantasy. I’ve told you mine, after all!
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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate’s Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man’s Curse; Black Diamond).

6 thoughts on “Win Crown of Crystal Flame by CL Wilson (and see why I have trouble reading fantasy)

  1. Ugh…can we go back to when I tried really really hard to be as cool as everyone else and read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy? I made it through the Hobbit with no trouble. But then the “real” books? Sorry. The Two Towers was the end for me. Just too much…boring stuff. Not enough romance. The movies were bearable because Vigo Mortensen, but that’s the only reason I can sit through the 5000th screening when my hubby and kids get out the DVD’s.

    It’s the world building. It just wears me out. I need characters to connect with. I don’t even give it the 100 page test…it’s the first chapter or nothing.

  2. LOL–Teri, you make me feel better about waiting so long to read LOTR. If I hadn’t had such severe peer pressure to push through, I probably wouldn’t have. And, okay, sometimes I don’t make it 100 pages either. I try, but…

  3. I write both urban fantasy and medieval fantasy. I love everything about knights and armor and adding dragons and magic – sweet!

    With my stories , I try to make the characters first, then the world and its history. It’s all about finding balance.

    I think what I love most about fantasy is the freedom, how you can escape the mundane.

  4. If you put character before worldbuilding, I’m sure I would love yours, Nicole! And come to think of it, I’m kind of fond of dragons too:-)

  5. Well, writing a fantasy novel is like building a bonfire, isn’t it? Presuming you don’t have gasoline, you’ve got to start with a tiny spark of interest, apply that to something small that catches fire easily, and nurse it through successively larger and larger fuel until you can throw just about anything on the fire and it’ll burn.

    LotR is not the most skilfully executed fantasy novel in that respect. For about a hundred pages or so, Tolkien pants his way along, trying to discover the story he’s writing. The saving grace is that he writes so beautifully — the scene where Frodo leaves Bag End is one of the most wonderfully evocative I’ve ever read. That keeps the fire going, and by time you get to the end of Return of the King, you’re up for going through a hundred pages or so of appendices.

    I think by “traditional fantasy” you mean “people who are copying Tolkien”. What I like least about them is that they aren’t as good at it as Tolkien.