Review: Cast in Secret by Michele Sagara ★★★

Cast in Secret by Michele Sagara
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Chronicles of Elantra #3
Publication Date: July 2007
ISBN: 978-0373802807
Page Count: 521

Summary:

Stolen goods are so much easier . . . Still avoiding her magic lessons -- yet using her powers when need be -- Corporal Kaylin Neya is relishing investigating a regular theft once again. That is, until she finds out the mysterious box was taken from Elani Street, where the mages and charlatans mingle and it's sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the two. Still, she hopes this might be a mundane case . . . Then in a back room, Kaylin sees a lost-looking girl in a reflective pool . . . who calls out for Kaylin's help. Shaken, Kaylin tries to stay focused on the case at hand. But since the stolen item is ancient, has no keyhole and holds tremendous darkness inside, Kaylin knows unknown forces are again playing with her destiny -- and her life . . .

REVIEW


Sagara's writing felt a bit wordy and self indulgent in this instalment. There were some excessively long dialogue scenes and just long scenes in general, taking a long time to change to new locations, settings and characters. I was also very confused at one point about what was going on, who was speaking, (I think she was speaking to water at one point? Or witnessing a conversation between water and the Keeper of water from a long time ago???). Anyway, I was lost, so I had little choice than to just let the words flow over me (ha) and hope I got it in the end.

It's funny, actually, because no doubt Michele Sagara considers this a stronger instalment than the first two; that she has excelled herself in her poetic prose. And maybe she has, but I'm not necessarily looking for poetry. I want a story. You know, that story thing you were telling me? Yeah. Can we get back to that, please?

That said, there were a couple of positives. Kaylin seems to be developing a little from that compulsively tardy, impertinent girl of books one and two. A bit, anyway. Although I feel like more progress would be welcome. And there were some slight (and boy, do I mean slight) hints of possible feelings from Severn that are not of a platonic nature. A slight edge to his voice when he thought Lord Nightshade had dressed her up. But please, please, please can we expand on this angle, and soon? She needs to have some kind of inter-character relationships going on. You can't tell me she's the only 20 year old in existence that doesn't think about men! And why is she not putting Lord Nightshade straight when he calls her his consort? It doesn't appear to be what she wants, so why keep schtum?

Oh, dear. Now look what's happened. I've gone and made one of those ranty, frustrated reviews to go with the many other ranty, frustrated reviews about this series. I was really hoping not to do that, but it seems to be an easy trap to fall into. The series shows so much imagination and potential that it is frustrating to see it being executed in such a long-winded, aggravating manner.

Okay, I am going onto the next one about the Leontines and am hoping to be better impressed. Wish me luck!

3 Stars! ★★★

2 comments:

  1. I like this series, but the writing really needs to be tightened up. And the character development is dragging to the point of frustration! I completely agree on your point on 'indulgence'.

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    Replies
    1. Agreed on the writing - they could probably be 100-200 pages shorter and more to the point. And why isn't her publisher badgering her to move the character relationships forward? It has such a great foundation and back story for a romantic relationship. Get on with it already! Grr.

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