Title: Beloved Son (Aisling Trilogy #3)
Author: Carole Cummings
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: December 19, 2017
Genre(s): Gay Fantasy
Page Count: 306 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
When a man’s identity is built on lies, can he find the true self buried beneath? For Wil and Dallin, newfound love might not be enough. To heal themselves and their world, they must learn to see things as they truly are and break free of what they have been tricked into believing.
Wil and Dallin stand at the center of an approaching convergence they’re not sure they’re strong enough to face. The power of the land and the Mother waits for Wil in the bowels of Lind, but it comes at a price: he must defeat the soul-eater and save the Father, Her Beloved, and manage to keep his soul in the process. He can’t do it alone. But where can he turn for aid when friends are not necessarily friends, trusted mentors are not necessarily to be trusted, and good intentions are sometimes the most dangerous kind?
Dallin and Wil must accept their roles as the Guardian and the Aisling and stand together against a ruthless god in a cataclysmic battle of dreams and wills, the fates of both of their souls and those of all mortals hanging in the balance. Trust, if they can finally embrace it, holds both the promise of salvation and the risk of damnation.
At the end of the previous book there was a drawing together of themes such that there was an expectation that the final book would provide the necessary excitement and resolution that such a series would expect. Sadly, the outcome was disappointing. It is true that plot lines reach their natural conclusion but they did so not with action and adventure but rather through internalisation and theology. This is a very internalised book with much occurring in dream state. Everything is quite subdued, even the showdown with the baddy was anticlimactic. As for the deities, the female is one minute doting and loving and the next cool and distant, the male lacks any real presence and the evil one offers little other than taunts and mirages. The writing remains approachable and it is a pleasant enough read.
The relationship between the central characters is tested a little with doubts being introduced. Nevertheless this does not dominate and the strong underlying bond remains evident throughout. As with previous books passion is hinted at but not explicit.
There is a steady flow of action and plot development throughout, but there is no real sense of tension. As such the reader is drawn along by the narrative, as well as by a desire to resolve the themes.
Under the banner of happy endings, there are obviously a number of ways in which a series like this could end: passionately, sweetly, or even left open for a later series. Here it sort of fizzles out; they apparently both still have work to do, although what that might be is unclear, and off they jolly well go. It is sad when something starts out so very well doesn’t live up to expectations. Perhaps the author was trying for something different than the standard formula, which is fine if it was clear what the reader was supposed to come away from the experience feeling. Unfortunately this reader is somewhat at a loss.