Reading level: Adult
Trade paperback: 544 pages
Release date: August 7, 2012
Series: Chronicles of Elantra #8
Source: Review copy from Harlequin
Reviewed by: Jenn
Usually disaster doesn’t strike quite so close to home…
It has been a busy few weeks for Private Kaylin Neya. In between angling for a promotion, sharing her room with the last living female Dragon and dealing with more refugees than anyone knew what to do with, the unusual egg she’d been given began to hatch. Actually, that turned out to be lucky, because it absorbed the energy from the bomb that went off in her quarters…
So now might be the perfect time to leave Elantra and journey to the West March with the Barrani. If not for the disappearances of citizens in the fief of Tiamaris – disappearances traced to the very Barrani Kaylin is about to be traveling with…
Michelle Sagara's Chronicles of Elantra is one of my favourite fantasy series. It's this neat hybrid of high fantasy and urban fantasy and I've been in love with this author's world and characters since I read the first page of CAST IN SHADOW a few years ago. If you want the scoop on the overall series, I suggest you check out my Daring You To Read... post from November. But in case you don't want to click over, here's the (really) short version from the author's website:
These [books] follow the adventures of Private Kaylin Neya, a young woman who serves the Hawks in the towering Halls of Law. She’s Elantra’s version of a police officer, a mortal in a city ruled by Dragons.
There is, of course, a bit more to it than that, and this is one series that you should definitely read in order. There are references to previous installments in each book, the mythology is rich and layered, and the characters grow and change significantly over the course of the series (and it's not done yet!). These books are more like chapters in one bigger story so I wouldn't recommend jumping in here. That being said, I think you'd have the most success jumping in with this one, since much of the history between the characters is referenced and Michelle Sagara has, as always, done an exemplary job of reminding readers of the key facts about her world and its history. Plus, by removing the story from Elantra, many of the familiar faces are gone and we're all meeting some new characters.
In CAST IN PERIL, the eighth novel in the series, Kaylin actually has to leave the city of Elantra and the surrounding fiefs behind as she goes on a Barrani pilgrimage. She's not excited about her journey to the West March, even though her friend and fellow Lord of the Barrani Teela will be with her. I, on the other hand, was very excited because this was our first chance to really explore the world outside of the city and the fiefs. I've been curious about the rest of the world for some time and it was so great to finally see what else is out there. This made the book extremely interesting for me and I think that's one of the reasons that this one may be my favourite in the series so far.
And even though the world has begun to grow for Kaylin, there are some wonderful things that remain constant, including Kaylin's prickly personality and her complicated relationships with Severn and Nightshade. She's out of her natural environment in CAST IN PERIL but she always perseveres, sometimes through sheer mulishness. How can you not love her? CAST IN PERIL is also an opportunity to learn more about Severn and what he did when he was a Wolf (the more clandestine arm of the law in the Empire). I thought that was really neat because he's so much more comfortable away from Elantra than Kaylin is, and because it shows us how much more there is to learn about his life when he and Kaylin were apart.
In case you haven't guessed, I adore the characters and the world that Michelle Sagara has created and I'm always excited to get my hands on each new book. Kaylin's story is becoming more and more epic and I have no idea where her journey will take her (and us). I can't recommend this series enough!