Aisling Book Three: Beloved Son by Carole Cummings
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: GLBT, Fantasy
Length: 119,000 words or 388 pages
Newfound love might not be enough. Trust holds the possibility of both salvation and damnation.
Circumstances having forced them to seek asylum in Lind, Wil and Dallin are momentarily safe, but find themselves at the center of a convergence they’re not sure they’re strong enough to face. The power of the land and the Mother awaits Wil in the bowels of Lind, but it comes with strings attached. With Dallin's help, Wil must find a way to defeat the soul-eater, save the Father, Her Beloved, and manage to keep his soul in the process.
Through deduction and magic and mutual strength, Dallin and Wil must accept their roles as the Guardian and the Aisling and stand together against a ruthless god in a climactic battle of dreams and wills. The fates of their souls and those of all mortals hang in the balance. But what good is the power of love if the one who needs it doesn't know how to trust?
Aisling: Book Three, Beloved Son, is the third book in the Aisling series. Other titles in the Aisling series include Book One: Guardian, and Book Two: Dream.
Carole Cummings has presented a sweeping dénouement to her stunning trilogy. Aisling Part Three, Beloved Son, completes all the story arcs that have been building to give as a monumental tale of men, gods, love, and oh yeah, saving the world, too.
Apologies for spoilers for books 1 and 2, but it’s nearly unavoidable. Aisling must be read in order to make proper sense, but it’s well worth it. Start with Guardian, then read Dream, and then Beloved Son will cap this epic.
The one thing Wil Calder fears most is being subsumed and kept in a cage, forced to do the will of others stronger than he. Yet with his Guardian, Dallin Braden, he comes to know that his is the strength, his are the decisions, and that all he is will become enough to save the Father, the Mother, and the people he may one day call his own. He’s being herded to this fate by those who would take his strength for their own, and he’s fought against it, but cones to see that he cannot even mount the fight without doing exactly what he’s worked all his life to avoid.
Dallin, who has sworn to prevent Wil from falling victim to what he fears most, is deeply torn. The tightrope he walks is to give the Mother and the Father the help they need in defeating their worst foe, which Wil can do, against giving Wil the freedom he needs to survive. Dallin’s honesty and his perception of need, mixed with his very real and great love for Wil, threatens to tear him apart.
This is a very character driven story; plenty happens but much of it is in a realm inaccessible to people. Wil and Dallin shift back and forth between states once they have reached the people and the power of Lind and a sacred place that Wil has feared for his entire life. The lies and half truths fed him by his keeper and betrayer Siofra still work at the back of Wil’s mind; his growth is phenomenal, and greatly due to freedom and Dallin’s belief. Success isn’t a given—they must fight for everything, over and over. Beset by men who think they know best, each step is a battle of its own, with betrayal lurking around every corner.
There are battles on the physical plane, which are important but not truly the focus of the story; what Wil must do is in the realm of the gods, the Mother, the Father, and the usurper Aeledfyres. Little is what Wil believes it to be, even his true name, which he finds at last in a rush of love.
The language is beautiful: what Carole Cummings does with words is artistry, I stayed up late every night to finish this, pulled by the power and the beauty, as well as the excitement. She makes us bleed with Dallin and fear with Wil, and believe that the fate of all lies within their hands.
Everything comes together in a crashing climax: all of Wil’s fears and potentials, all of Dallin’s skills and beliefs. I cried at the end, and then again at the epilogue, for the simple relief. All three volumes of Aisling live in paperback on my Keep Forever shelf. And I’m sniffling a little now.
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