Review: Cast in Peril by Michelle Sagara

Format read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: Trade Paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Chronicles of Elantra #8
Length: 544 Pages
Publisher: Harlequin Luna
Date Released: September 25, 2012
Purchasing Info:Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

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…

If you adore urban fantasy, pick up Michelle Sagara’s Chronicles of Elantra. Start from the first book (Cast in Shadow) and be prepared to wallow. Also, if you like epic fantasy, dig in! Because Elantra is both. It’s an urban fantasy set in an epic fantasy world.

What it isn’t is a romance. Like many true urban fantasy series, someday, at some point, Kaylin might figure herself out enough to let love happen. But it will be at the right time for her. That’s not what this story is about.

It is Kaylin’s journey. And she has way too much pain in her past having to do with sex to think about love. Especially since the man she knows loves her murdered two children that she thought of as her sisters.

And Kaylin took a long time about it, but she finally admitted that he was right to do it. For certain select painful definitions of right. Definitions that only belong to orphans eking out an existence in the fiefs of Elantra.

Kaylin has come a long way from there. Kaylin is now a Hawk. An officer of the law in Elantra. She is also a Lord of the Barrani Court. One of only two human lords in that otherwise immortal court. And she is currently the roommate of the only female dragon to be seen in hundreds, if not thousands of years.

And she is Chosen. Her skin is inked with runes of power. But not inked by tattoos. No one knows how or why she was Chosen, only that it happens once in so many generations. And that it gives her power.

Few mortals, few humans ever become Chosen. It shapes her life, and she shapes others.

She saved the High Lord of the Barrani, when no one else could. She fought an Outcaste Dragon, and survived.

Mostly, Kaylin gets into a LOT of trouble. Without even trying. Every time she does, she changes her world. She always tries to change it for the better, and someone always tries to stop her. They usually fail, but not without doing a great deal of collateral damage.

In Cast in Peril, a Barrani Arcanist embezzles money from the Imperial Exchequer. Always a bad idea, but especially when the Emperor is a Dragon. Dragons guard their hoards zealously.

It turns out that the Arcanist was using the money to attempt to make himself a Lord of Chaos. He misjudged his ability to become a Lord, but he certainly got the chaos part right.

Especially with Kaylin involved.

Escape Rating A: Reading this was my holiday treat to myself. The story gets off to a rollicking start and never lets go. I love Kaylin’s voice. She’s snarky and snarly and insecure, all at the same time. She hopes for the best from everyone, but knows that it just isn’t possible. She hopes for the best from herself, and tries always.

She’s playing so far above her weight class, all the time, and knows it, but keeps on, because that’s the only life she’s ever had.

The characters around her are fascinating. Everyone’s backstory is so deep, but we only see what Kaylin sees, and the urge to peel back the layers is overwhelming. Elantra is a world I could explore forever.

At the same time, while the Elantra Chronicles as a whole are Kaylin’s journey, Cast in Peril is about one very specific journey, and it’s not done. We get cut off right before the climax and this story feels a bit incomplete because of it. The completion of this specific trip will be told in Cast in Sorrow (ominous title, that) which won’t be out until September, 2013. Dammit.

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