3 stars

Michelle Sagara – Cast in Shadow (Chronicles of Elantra #1)

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!


This book got to my attention first by a Goodreads recommendation based on Tamora Pierce books. And the topic is really similar but the execution nota as good as this particular story required.

The genre of this book is high fantasy which I like quite a bit, So I went into it without delay. In my opinion the periodically resurfacing little hidden mysteries and storylines in the book are really interesting. The whole world the author created is ingenious and original my problem was with the description the presentation of it. The writing style is quite a heavy handed one and it took me a lot of time to figure out what was going on. Also it’s narrated in the third person as if we observe the events from outside which also took me for a while to get used to. My first really big problem became obvious from the very beginning. There are a lot of words, group name invented by the author it’s not really a surprise but an element frequently used in high fantasy. But it took me an eternity to figure out how they look like or really create a picture of the world because most of the descriptions are pretty hazy. And it kind of hampers me when I can’t create a picture in my head. What made this even harder were the dialogues. Most of them is built up a if the reader should have an insight into the characters head without their thoughts being written down or a deeper knowledge of the world without the necessary facts. It really requires a lot of attention to follow and get the storyline. It is absolutely not an easy read. Sometimes I even had to go back pages and read it again because in a matter of sentences the whole situation changed without any real indication. I felt like I left out pages even if I didn’t.
It as if like it’s impossible to follow the plot and the events. For me it means the book is missing a strong focal point and the balance. The writing style beside this pretty big obstacle is interesting. The story is really good if you get to the point where you can follow it.

There are a lot of noteworthy characters in the book and even if some of them only have a brief appearance they are well developed. The main character is Kaylin. She is not exactly falls into the category i love. Yes she is strong, knows how to fight and have a solid view of thing she has her flaws too. She had a hard childhood; thanks to this she learned to appreciate the little things in life. She also helps everywhere she can. But she is not the brightest person or the most informed one at that. She knows very little about the system she lives in and she doesn’t really want to learn more even if it made her job harder. She is the brawns not the brains. Also her irrational reaction regarding the children is bit strange. She acted as if she is invincible thanks to the leeway’s she got from her bosses. They kinda spoiled her in the responsibility department. For some reason the other characters are really biased about her.

This story is a promising start to a possible great series even if it was one of my hardest reads. It requires a lot of attention to detail and I probably going to read the next book too. Especially since I really liked the world the author created. What I missed is the romance there is none of it in the book expect if you count Severn quite yearning as romantic element.


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