Review: Cast in Shadow by Michele Sagara West ★★★★

Cast in Shadow by Michele Sagara
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Chronicles on Elantra #1
Publication Date: 2006
ISBN: 0373802544
Page Count: 512



Summary:

Seven years ago Kaylin fled the crime-riddles streets of Nightshade, knowing that something was after her. Children were being murdered -- and all had the same odd markings that mysteriously appeared on her own skin . . . Since then, she's learned to read, she's learned to fight and she's become one of the vaunted Hawks who patrol and police the City of Elantra. Alongside the winged Aerians and the immortal Barrani, she's made a place for herself, far from the mean streets of her birth. But children are once again dying, and a dark and familiar pattern is emerging. Kaylin is ordered back into Nightshade with a partner she knows she can't trust, a Dragon lord for a companion and a device to contain her powers -- powers that no other human has. Her task is simple -- find the killer, stop the murders . . . and survive the attentions of those who claim to be her allies! 

REVIEW


I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book. Having done a bit of homework before I started I'd noticed all sorts of contrasting reviews- lots of 1 or 2 star ratings and just as many 5 star ratings- so I gathered it was a sort of "you get it or you don't" kind of thing.

I also struggled to get a clear answer on what genre this is, and having now read it, I can see why it was hard to categorize. The cover looks like a standard Urban Fantasy, but it's not. I would say it's definitely full or high fantasy, but not the swords and sorcery type I'm used to. It's set in an alternate world and we focus specifically on the City of Elantra. There are a wide variety of species: humans, winged Aerians, half-man half-cat Leontines, ethereally beautiful Barrani and Dragons to name but a few. The city has a law system split into three branches- the Swords, the Wolves and the Hawks. Our main character, Kaylin, is a Hawk. The city is also split into two specific sections; the law abiding side, and the Fiefs. The Fiefs are a dichotomy of the very rich and powerful but outcast Biranni, and the pitifully poor humans, the dregs of society.

The world-building is quite complex and there is a lot to absorb. It feels like you are sort of expected to hit the ground running and pick things up very quickly as you go along. You really have to pay attention and memorize all these new races and hard to pronounce names. But I didn't really mind all that. I'd rather have to pay close attention at first than to have pages and pages of info-dumping. And a complex world, if done well, is worth it in the end, as it really captures you and stays with you long after you finish the series. And that's what I predict for this series once I get further in.

By far the best thing about this book for me was the story of Kaylin and Severn's relationship and just what he did when she was 13 to make her want to kill him on sight. This also links nicely to the current case Kaylin is assigned, involving strange markings showing up on murder victims' bodies in some kind of sacrificial killing spree that the Hawks- including new Hawk, Severn- have to investigate.

The main negatives for me were that the lead character doesn't seem to eat or sleep or wash or do any kind of mundane, inconsequential stuff that, whilst maybe not the most riveting thing to read about, is nonetheless necessary to make your character seem more real. And the other thing was the writing at the end section. I got kind of lost. I realize it was meant to portray the chaos of the situation, but I was quite confused about who what and where at one point. Which was a little annoying. Oh, and one other thing that might annoy some people is that no one tells Kaylin anything. She's largely treated like a bratty little sister by her fellow Hawks who are all older than her and have known her since she was 14 (she's now 20), so they try to protect her by keeping things from her. And since we only know what Kaylin knows, this can be a little frustrating. Or, if you are more like me, intriguing. I don't mind the dangly carrot method of story telling, personally. As long as you give me answers eventually, I can wait.

Overall, I am excited for this series and these characters and look forward to diving straight into the next one right now!

4 Stars! ★★★★

No comments:

Post a Comment

Authors

Adrienne Basso (1) Aimee Carson (1) Alison Bliss (1) Alyssa Everett (1) Amanda Ronconi (1) Amanda Scott (2) Amanda Stevens (4) Amie Kaufman (1) Amy Butler Greenfield (1) Amy Jarecki (3) Angela Highland (1) Angela Quarles (1) Ann Agguire (2) Anna Cruise (1) Anthea Sharp (1) Ashlyn Macnamara (1) Auralee Wallace (1) Barbara Longley (2) Bec McMaster (2) Beth Revis (1) Bianca D’Arc (1) Brenda Hiatt (1) C. J. Barry (1) C.E. Murphy (10) Cara Lynn Shultz (1) Carolyn Crane (1) Carrie Vaughn (3) Cassandra Rose Clarke (2) Cate Rowan (1) Cathy Yardley (1) Cayla Kluver (1) Cecilia Robert (1) Cecily White (1) Cecy Robson (1) Charlaine Harris (1) Chloe Jacobs (1) Chloe Neill (4) Chris Cannon (1) Christine Feehan (1) Christine O'Neil (1) Christine Warren (1) Cindi Madsen (1) Colette Ballard (1) Colleen Hoover (3) Connie Mason (2) Cora Carmack (1) Cynthia Hand (2) D.L. McDermott (1) Danielle L. Jensen (1) Danielle Monsch (1) Darynda Jones (3) Deborah Harkness (1) Deirdre Dore (1) Delilah S. Dawson (2) Devon Monk (5) Diana Pharaoh Francis (4) Dianne Duvall (2) Elizabeth May (2) Elizabeth Norris (1) Eloisa James (2) Emily Murdoch (1) Emma Jane Holloway (1) Emma Pass (1) Erica Kiefer (1) Eve Silver (1) Gail Carriger (1) Gail Z. Martin (1) Gena Showalter (4) H. P. Mallory (8) Hannah Howell (1) Heather McCollum (4) Helen Boswell (1) Ilona Andrews (10) Isabel Cooper (1) J. C. Daniels (1) J. Lynn (1) J.D. Robb (13) J.R. Ward (1) JA Huss (2) Jaime McGuire (1) Jax Garren (2) Jay Kristoff (1) Jaye Wells (4) Jeaniene Frost (3) Jenn Bennett (3) Jennifer Ashley (1) Jennifer Bray-weber (1) Jennifer Estep (5) Jennifer L. Armentrout (1) Jessa Slade (2) Jesse Petersen (1) Jessi Kirby (1) Jessica Andersen (1) Jessica Sims (3) Jessica Sorenson (1) Jessica Spotswood (1) Jill Monroe (1) Jim Butcher (1) Jo Barrett (1) Jocelyn Drake (1) Jocelynn Drake (1) Jody Wallace (3) Jolie Wilkins (4) Julianne Maclean (1) Julie Kagawa (4) Juliet Blackwell (2) Juliet Marillier (1) Juliette Miller (2) Kait Ballenger (1) Kalayna Price (5) Karalynn Lee (1) Karen Chance (7) Karen Greco (1) Karen Lord (1) Karen Marie Moning (1) Karen Rose (1) Karina Halle (10) Kate SeRine (4) Katherine Owen (1) Katie MacAlister (1) Katie McGarry (3) Katja Millay (1) Kelley Armstrong (2) Kelly Creagh (1) Kelly Hunter (1) Kelly Meding (2) Keri Arthur (2) Kerrelyn Sparks (5) Kerri Lake (1) Kevin Hearne (6) Kim Harrison (6) Kimberly Derting (1) Kresley Cole (4) Krista Holle (1) kristen Ashley (2) Kristen Britain (1) Kristen Callihan (3) Kristin Cashore (2) Kristin Miller (1) Krystal Wade (3) L. Shannon (1) L.M. Augustine (1) Laini Taylor (1) Larissa Ione (2) Laura Wiess (1) Laura Wright (1) Laurell K. Hamilton (2) Lauren Layne (1) Lauren Oliver (1) Laurin Wittig (1) Leigh Bardugo (1) Leigh Evans (4) Lesley Young (2) Linda Poitevin (4) Lindsay J. Pryor (3) Lindsey Piper (2) Lisa M. Basso (1) Lisa Shearin (5) Liz Long (1) Lizzy Ford (1) Lynn Kerstan (1) Lynn Kurland (1) Maggie Shayne (3) Maggie Stiefvater (1) Maisey Yates (1) Margaret Mallory (3) Mari Mancusi (1) Maria V. Snyder (4) Marie Force (2) Marie Rutkoski (1) Marilyn Brant (1) Mary Behre (1) Maya Banks (4) Meagan Spooner (1) Melissa Landers (1) Meljean Brook (2) Mia Marlowe (1) Mia Marshall (5) Michele Sagara (3) Michelle Diener (2) Michelle Rowen (1) Michelle Sagara (1) Michelle Willingham (1) Moira Young (1) Molly Harper (4) Monica McCarty (5) Morgan Matson (1) Nalini Singh (2) Natasha Hoar (2) Nenia Campbell (2) Nicola Cornick (1) Nicole Peeler (1) Nina Berry (1) Nyrae Dawn (2) Olivia Hardin (1) Ophelia London (1) Pamela Palmer (6) Patricia Briggs (7) Paula Altenburg (1) Paula Quinn (1) Rachel Van Dyken (1) Rachel Vincent (1) Ranae Rose (1) Rebecca Ethington (1) Rebekah R. Ganiere (1) Richelle Mead (1) Robin D. Owens (1) Robin LaFevers (2) Ruth A. Casie (1) Ruth Silver (1) Ryann Kerekes (1) S.M. Reine (1) Samantha Young (2) Sarah Harian (1) Sarah J. Maas (3) Seanan McGuire (5) Seleste deLaney (1) Seressia Glass (2) Shannon Richard (1) Shiloh Walker (3) Skye Callahan (1) Sophie Littlefield (1) Stacey Kennedy (1) Stacia Kane (6) Stephanie Rowe (3) Susan Ee (1) Susan Krinard (1) Susannah Sandlin (1) Sutherland series (1) Suzanne Brockmann (1) Suzanne Collins (2) Suzanne Enoch (1) Suzanne Johnson (2) Sylvia Day (1) Tahereh Mafi (3) Tammara Webber (1) Terri Brisbin (1) Thea Harrison (2) Theresa Weir (1) Tonya Kuper (2) Tracey Martin (1) Veronica Roth (1) Victoria Scott (1)