The Taellaneth Series and The Hundred Series by Vanessa Nelson
Self-Published (finished in 2020 and 2021 respectively)
I’m going to review things a little differently today – as I just glommed two completed series by a new-to-me fantasy author. If you are interested in picking up a completed fantasy series (free on Kindle Unlimited!) that brings major Tamora Pierce vibes, then I have two great choices for you.
The Taellaneth Series
The Taellaneth series starts with the book Concealed, and it follows Arrow, our heroine, who starts the series nearing the end of her magically-bound 15-year servitude to the Erith, a fae-like people who have various levels of magic. Arrow is considered an abomination because she is a mix of Erith and human, and she was forced to swear her magical service to the Erith government to save her life. The Erith see her as disposable and send her on life-threatening missions. However, they have also trained her in magic to make her more useful, and she is a character who is in survival mode, living on her wits and hoping for a better tomorrow.
In Concealed, she is sent on behalf of the Erith to investigate the death of a high-ranking shifken, or shifter, where it looks like the Erith may have played a role in the shifken’s death. As the series continues, the reader follows along as Arrow finds her place in the world and develops a romantic love interest. This series is very much about a hero who takes on saving the world against various forms of evil, and the romance is very limited; the romantic elements are mostly absent until the middle of the series, and the romance is very clean. In fact, the romance is the weakest part of the story, as the hero is lackluster – we aren’t ever really sure why he falls in love with the heroine, but once he is there, he is supportive.
Read this series if you like a plucky loner heroine who has the odds stacked against her. Each book wraps up the action nicely, and although the plot continues from book to book, there are no cliffhangers at the end of each addition to the series.
The Hundred Series
After finishing the Taellaneth, I eagerly started with Vanessa Nelson’s next completed series, the Hundred. The Hundred series starts with The Gathering, where the reader is introduced to Yvonne, a human who is part of the Hundred, oath-bound to protect anyone who needs help. She has magic that she uses to help others, an interesting mix of potions, spells that are written and released, and magic that is activated when others ask for help. The world-building is interesting, with goblins, wulfkin, rangers, and humans intermingling throughout the series. In this book, Yvonne has a very clear love interest in a goblin prince, Guise. The romance is sweet and closed door, which makes sense given Yvonne’s traumatic history- before she became a member of the Hundred, she had been sexually and physically abused and occasionally has flashbacks from that time.
Unlike Arrow who is a loner, Yvonne has raised her two adopted children to young adulthood. The rest of the Hundred act as her makeshift family, and she enjoys interacting with the many people she meets along her travels. Despite her trauma and abuse, she has an unerring sense of right and wrong, and she uses those instincts to focus on helping those in need.
If you love a strong heroine who builds a found family around her, this series might be for you.
Both series brought strong heroines, light romance, and interesting world-building. As Vanessa Nelson finishes up her next series, I will be sure to pick it up on Kindle Unlimited and spend a weekend in that new world. I’d give both series a B grade.