Monday, June 24, 2013

Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara

Book 1 in The Chronicles of Elantra
Cast in Shadow (#1) by Michelle Sagara
4 stars

So this has been on my to-read list for the longest time. It sounded interesting when I bought it at least a year or two ago. I don't know why it took me so long but hey, I finally read it.

There are some negative reviews for this book but I found myself enjoying it. Some world building had to occur for this book and it was difficult to understand when I first started reading. I felt like Sagara needed to have a glossary in the book so I could understand the world a little better before I started reading. Basically this world is an alternate universe. Elantra is a big city. This world isn't technologically advanced and they rely on horses and carriages. It's almost medieval but this world also has magic. There are 5 different races that we are introduced to. You have the immortals: Dragons and Barrani. Then you have the mortals: Leontines (Lion type humans), Aerians (People with wings), Tha'alani (creatures with probe things on their heads. They can read you mind and memories and can almost show you images), and humans. Each race has a different culture and it's pretty interesting.

Kaylin Neya is our heroine. She is a chronically late person who is also a little special. When she was younger there was a series of murders of children around her age. Each child who was found dead had strange markings on their arms and thighs. One day marks appeared on Kaylin but she was never killed. We learn why later. Kaylin’s marks have given her some power that no one understands. She knows she can heal and she does what she can for the midwives. She helps mothers and children in danger from complicated births. She also can heal injuries. Her powers are not always in her control and it's had some deadly consequences. Because of this the Hawklord requires her to wear a bracer that tamps down her powers.

When the murders begin again, Kaylin must face her childhood home in the fiefs. The fief that Kaylin grew up in is Nightshade. It, like all the other fiefs, is run by one person and they are named after the person in charge. Lord Nightshade is in charge of the fief and even though he is an an outcaste Barrani, the Lords of Law do not mess with him. The laws have no control in the fiefs. He gifts Kaylin with a mark on her cheek. It is a nightshade flower. The Barrani and Dragon's can see this mark even if Kaylin tried to hide it. This mark protects her within Nightshade but puts her in danger outside of it.

To help Kaylin find the culprit behind the murders, she is forced with work with a Dragon and Severn. Severn betrayed Kaylin in the worst way even though he did what was necessary at the time (view spoiler).* Because of what he did, Kaylin doesn't trust him. She can't help but feel their old companionship because Severn was part of her life for so long. I find it funny that the first time she sees him she basically tries to kill him (view spoiler).**

I really liked this book but for some reason it took me awhile to review it. I don't know why but oh well. I will reread it sometime in the future. I like to reread because I know I miss things. I would recommend this book. My only problem is that you don't really get a full explanation of the world of Elantra. It's difficult to figure things out sometimes. I have a feeling that there will be more explanation as the book progress but I think that there should have been more of an introduction or world building. I like that we are dropped into the middle of the story but I wish there was a little more background. I would have at least liked a glossary.

Review on Goodreads


  1. Love, love , love this series it is so smart! - yes, it's sometimes confusing but that's what's so great about it. You get to re-read it and have "ah-ha" moments that make you say, Now I get it!

  2. Saw your post from Ilona Andrew's blog this morning, and as a mutual Ilona fan, I figured I would throw in my two cents! I have enjoyed the series so far, I'm looking forward to the next one "Cast in Sorrow" due out in late August. I'll save my reread of the series till right before the next release so I'll have it fresh in my mind. I find myself sucked into the world, and find it fascinating- The Baranni remind me of the Fae in other stories, I love the temperamental dragons, and the Night Shade/ Severn triangle. If you haven't gotten to the rest of the series, I'd recommend it, you learn more about the world and Kaylin as the story progresses. That girl finds herself in trouble after trouble, but she's game. I think she's growing as a heroine with each story!

  3. I think of the Barrani as a mix of elves and the fey. I'm quite enjoying them. I'm working on my review of Cast in Courtlight and I am currently reading Cast in Secret. It's very exciting. I know they've gotten some negative reviews because of Kaylin but I don't have that problem with her. I'm definitely loving it.