Monday, 11 October 2010

Cast In Shadow by Michelle Sagara West Review

Summary: (Goodreads)

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! 

Seven years ago, Kaylin fled from the city of Nightshade to escape the mysterious and brutal deaths of children who just happen to know Kaylin in some way or another...they also bear the same unusual marks that Kaylin happens to possess.

Seven years later and Kaylin is a Hawk serving under the watchful eye of the Lord of the Hawks and in turn the Emperor.

But when the killings begin again and secrets are revealed to Kaylin, she is forced to return to a place of horror and nightmares to try and find answers to a mystery that could destroy Kaylin and people she has grown to love.

This book had one of the most intriguing plots I have read in a long, long time. It was original to say the least. It started off as what seemed like so many different things going on at once - which kind of made me scratch my head in confusion multiple times - but then, towards the end of the book, it all connected and was suddenly relevant like putting together a jigsaw piece by piece (I know lame analogy right?).

An example is Kaylin's past with Severn; at the beginning of the book we learn that Kaylin hates Severn with a passion and longs to kill him...but we don't know why. It was constantly mentioned throughout the book which made me want to throw the book across the room at times because this past was refusing to be revealed (God Severn, what did you DO?!). It was only towards the end when Kaylin brings to light this past which was so much more than I was expecting. It was like a light went off in my head. It was a flawless point in the story that made me say 'oh, so that's why!'. A marvellous turning point that enables you to connect the dots, if you will.

What I also loved about this book was the writing style at times. It was almost poetic, particularly during a fight scene or when Kaylin happens to use magic. It took my breath away.

Having said all that, I thought there were far too many characters involved in the story. It got to be too much at times and I had to go back to the beginning to figure out who was who. It happened too many times for comfort.

As well as there being loads of characters, their names were too similar! It got really frustrating trying to figure out what role each character played, who they were and what they did. It made the story drag and considering how long it was in the first place, that's saying something.

I also thought Kaylin's magic and marks could have been explained a little better at points in the book. I know there are still a lot of unanswered questions that will inevitably be answered eventually but for what was accounted for; it could have been better.

On the whole I enjoyed this book. It set the scene for the next book in the series, Cast in Courtlight, and left me with a whole load of questions that I definitely want answered.

About the author:

Michelle Sagara is a Japanese-Canadian author of fantasy literature, active since the early 1990s. She has published as Michelle Sagara (her legal name), as Michelle West (her husband's surname), and as Michelle Sagara West (a combination of the two).

She lives in Toronto and is employed part-time at Bakka.

My Rating: 7/10

Publisher: Luna

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1 comment:

MarthaE said...

Hello - I saw your review link at Cym's and liked the look of the book. Thanks for the good review with pros and cons.