July 2, 2014

Review: Cast in Shadow

Cast in Shadow
Chronicles of Elantra, Book 1
Michelle Sagara

Published: 2005

Harlequin LUNA, paperback, 309p.
ISBN: 0-733-57274-X

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 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! Something is stirring again…

With the release of the 10th book in the series, CAST IN FLAMES, due for release on July 29, 2014, I thought it appropriate to review the book that started it all...

Private Kaylin Neya is a damaged soul who we first meet just before she attacks the man she holds responsible for the pain from her former life in the fiefs.  Corporal Severn Handred is also tormented by past choices, and despite enduring Kaylin's rage, he is determined to once again risk her hate to save her from a killer from their past.

This story is so enthralling and sucks you in as you follow Kaylin and her painful journey as she revisits the past she thought she'd finally escaped.  Sagara's world building is delightful and so well done that you don't even question why a dragon has mood eyes, or that a Leontine is in charge of office.  Aerians?  Sure, them too.  The use of mythologies that were specifically adapted for this series was so well done and very convincing that you almost have to stop yourself from checking the encyclopaedia for the definition of being a 'chosen' one.

With bursts of humor and action, Sagara seems to have a knack for knowing just when to pull back and tug at your heartstrings, then have you laughing 30 seconds late.  The first book in the Chronicle of Elantra series, I would recommend Cast in Shadow to anyone who loves a great story sprinkled with images out of mythology, love and forgiveness.

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