Cast in Shadow ~ Michelle Sagara West

  • Title: Cast in Shadow
  • Author: Michelle Sagara West
  • Series: Elantra Chronicles #1
  • Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
  • Format: Large Paperback
  • Source: Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Soo
  • Rating: 5 out of 5

Description:  Seven years ago Kaylin fled the crime-riddled 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 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:  Read Again: 2013-02-10 – Rating Changed from 4 to 5 Stars

Private Kaylin Neya grew up in poverty and fought to make her place with the Hawks, a branch that police the City of Elantra that helps to keep the peace. Hot tempered, uncouth Kaylin tries to stay out of trouble, to stay one step ahead of the office betting pool, aids in difficult births to safely deliver babies, works hard to keep the city safe, hides her past, and avoids higher ups & politics. Unfortunately, trouble dogs Kaylin’s steps, events center attention on her whether she likes it or not, love is painful & desire is uncomfortable, her marks are an unavoidable annoyance that draws more attention and ALL Kaylin wants to do is kick some ass, eat, sleep and win the latest wager staked in the office betting pool.

Recently, I read Cast in Peril and decided to go back to the beginning of the series. Michelle Sagara has a style of writing that mixes simple writing and subtle layers that speak volumes. I knew I had forgotten pieces of the story and it was fun to go back to rediscover them.

For the longest time, my mental vision of Severn was totally wrong! Due to the crazy adventures that Kaylin and Severn are thrust into, I’ve had this image of Severn being a dark haired, lithely muscular man with dark eyes. Ha! He’s a red head with blue eyes! Boy was that a shocker when I read that! What else do I have wrong? I just had to find out.

I remembered that Kaylin and Severn shared a painful past that caused a rift for a while. I had totally forgotten that Kaylin’s first response to seeing Severn again was to attack with daggers drawn and lethal anger clouding her mind. Finding out the minute details all over again was more powerful now than the first time I read the book.

When I get caught up in a story and really root for the characters, I fly like a storm into the story and zoom to the end! Reading like that has an edge of collecting clear images of the characters and setting but it’s easy to forget exactly how harsh important threads are when they happen because that moment is quickly eclipsed by the next action.

Kaylin’s life isn’t a case of shiny sparkles and roses. Her life is based on one moment of loss that leads to other memories that are better left untouched. Yet, she manages to find a family, a home, and a cause of Justice with the Hawks. Driven by an inner core to protect and heal, Kaylin’s careless exuberance captures the heart of fellow Hawks and they are proud to call her one of their own.

More than seven years have passed since the moment Kaylin’s world was torn apart. The nightmare isn’t over yet. The children are dying again. The deaths are happening faster than before. Will they be able to find out what’s behind the murders? Will Kaylin be able to lay the nightmare to rest?


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