Cast in Honor
Author: Michelle Sagara
Title: Cast in Honor
Series: The Chronicles of Elantra 11
Genre: High Fantasy
Rating: Five Petals
On the Author's Website:
In the aftermath of a vicious battle between darkness and light, the city of Elantra has emerged victorious. But Shadows continue to haunt every corner of its streets…
Elantra stands strong, but countless numbers of Hawks, the city’s staunchest protectors, were lost in the brutal attack. Humans, Barrani, Aerians, Leontines — none of the races emerged unscathed from the defense of the city. Homes were lost, families were scattered…and the outcast Barrani Lord Nightshade is missing from his castle in the fiefs.
Yet as the chaos surrounding the battle begins to wane, Private Kaylin Neya’s duties must resume, despite her grief. Called in to investigate a triple murder in a quiet part of town, Kaylin and her companions are soon embroiled in a case that is anything but routine. Evidence of the deadly Shadows that still threaten the city leads to hints of ancient, forgotten magics…and everything can be traced directly to Ravellon, the heart of the Shadows and the darkness they contain.
But it is there that Lord Nightshade will be found — if he still survives.
I finished reading this book, closed the cover, and realized I was utterly and completely confused. However, I wasn't the only one. Kaylin, the main character, is also completely confused. It barely took a moment of thought to realize that my confusion didn't stem from poor writing or from lacking explanation, but rather that the concepts and the magic involved defy explanation. Kaylin couldn't find words to elucidate because there were no words. Instead, Sagara relied on the strength of her writing to give this inability one hundred percent believably. I have a feeling I will understand more of what occurred after two or three--or ten--rereads.
Lord Nightshade has gone missing, but it is not Kaylin that is searching for a reason why. A rip has opened in the time stream and a creature of Shadow has slipped through. It is the Shadow that wishes to save Lord Nightshade before the entire city is utterly destroyed. Kaylin's attempts to understand the Shadow--a man that would normally be her enemy--and also understand the time paradox he represents are what kept me so enthralled. The intricacy required to keep that delicate balance throughout the book without delving into the realm of unbelievability was so well crafted. It felt like each word and sentence in Cast in Honor was placed specifically where it was in the story for a very important reason, which resonates perfectly with the theme of the series.
My only disappointment with this book was the plot. An Arcanist that wants to magically find the secret to immortality and accidentally causes a cataclysm that will destroy the city has already been done before in the series. At the same time, the element of time and the experience Kaylin gained from fighting the previous Arcanist lent a layer to the story that gave it enough uniqueness that I honestly didn't realize I was reading a very similar plot line until the end of the book.
After eleven books in the series, I didn't know if Sagara would ever delve into the two creatures in the world whose culture and abilities hadn't yet been outlined: the Aerians and the Shadow. I was very happy to see hints of both in this book and I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series where I believe there should be more information about them.
If you haven't yet read this series, go pick up Cast in Shadow, book one, right now. I highly recommend every book, including Cast in Honor. While I did find this book confusing and will need to happily reread it a couple more times to actually understand everything that happened, I really enjoyed the story overall and am absolutely looking forward to the next book.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.