Saturday, July 26, 2014

ARC Review: Cast in Flame by Michelle Sagara

Cast in Flame
Author: Michelle Sagara
Series: Chronicles of Elantra (Book 11)
Publication: Harlequin MIRA (July 29, 2014)

Description: Any day that starts with dragon arguments is going to be bad

Kaylin returned from the West March in one piece. Now that piece is fraying. She's not at home in the Imperial Palace—and she never intends to be. All she wants is normal garden-variety criminals and a place of her own. Of course, normal in her new life involves a dragon as a roommate, but she can handle that.

She can't as easily handle the new residents to the city she polices, because one of them is Nightshade's younger brother. On a night when she should be talking to landlords in perfectly normal buildings, she's called to the fief—by Teela. A small family disagreement has become a large, complicated problem: Castle Nightshade's latent magic is waking.

And it's not the only thing.

My Thoughts: Private Kaylin Neya just wants a home and for life to get back to normal. But for someone who is a Chosen and whose roommate is the only female dragon, things aren't easy. This story is largely about Kaylin's search for a home. It seems that each of these books focuses on Kaylin's relationship with a certain group of the people who live in Elantra. This one is a little different because a lot of the focus is on Kaylin's understanding of the sentient buildings that inhabit her world.

When Kaylin goes house hunting, she isn't very successful because the dragons put unreasonable demands on any landlord who might house them. Their main concern is keeping the dragon Bellusdeo safe. However, Kaylin gets a lead from the Keeper that leads to a house on Ashwood Street. She learns that the house is something like the towers that guard the fief lands but that it is different too. Kaylin feels an immediate sense that it is the home she is looking for but she has to go through many hard things before it can be.

When Kaylin returned after her adventures in the West March, some friends of Teela's returned with them. These two - Mandoran and Annarion - were recovered from some alternate world and, despite looking like young Barrani, they were greatly changed by the experience. They were Teela's childhood friends and she is worried about them. Annarion is Nightshade's brother. Nightshade and Annarion argue because Annarion is disappointed with some of Nightshade's choices. Their argument has the unfortunate effect of releasing two of the Ancients who were held captive in the bowels of Nightshade's castle.

The Ancient has the power to unmake lives and all of the residents of Elantra - dragons, Barrani, and Hawks - muster to try to defeat them before they destroy the city. Kaylin and her familiar are also an essential part of the battle which tests her in new ways and forces her to make some hard decisions.

I really liked this story and found it very compelling. The author has a way of making the viewpoints of all the various races distinct. She has also created a marvelous main character in Kaylin and surrounded her with a cast of fascinating people. I can't wait to read the next episode - CAST IN HONOR.

Favorite Quote:
Maybe home is something we have to make, and remake, over and over. But it's hard to make things when you're afraid—or you're certain—that they'll just be broken.
I got this eARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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