Saturday, December 10, 2022

Book Review: Cast in Eternity by Michelle Sagara

Cast in Eternity

Michelle Sagara
Series: Chronicles of Elantra (Book 17)
Publication: MIRA (November 29, 2022)

Description: Dead men tell no tales

When Corporal Kaylin Neya is assigned front desk duty—a task hated by every Hawk—the only thing she can look forward to besides an endless stream of complaints is visits from a dotty old woman. She always brings baked goods along with information passed on by her friends…who happen to be ghosts no one else can see. But then the old woman’s invisible friends have news about Severn Handred: his unusual weapon has caught their attention. Concerned, Kaylin accompanies the woman home because she has a few questions to ask these so-called ghosts.

Sadly, Kaylin can also see them. And she can see other spirits in the woman’s house as well—four children who’ve been trapped there for decades. When Kaylin looks into the deaths in the records at the Halls of Law, something doesn’t add up. Factor in a building that isn’t supposed to exist, and nothing makes sense. But Kaylin is a Hawk, and she’s determined to free the trapped ghosts of the children, even if she’s suddenly landed in the middle of the bad kind of Barrani history. Someone doesn’t want the past to be uncovered, and they’re perfectly willing to destroy Kaylin if it preserves the secrets of the dead…

My Thoughts: While her partner Severn Handred is on assignment elsewhere, Corporal Kaylin Neya is assigned to the front desk. Most Hawks avoid this duty at all costs since it requires listening to all sorts of minor citizen complaints. One bright spot is the daily visit by Mrs. Erickson who has been coming for years telling stories of ghosts and bringing baked treats. 

When Mrs. Erickson tells Kaylin something one of her ghosts has told her about Severn and his unusual weapon, Kaylin decides to look into Mrs. Erickson's reports more carefully. She escorts her home one day after work and learns that ghosts or not she too can see what Mrs. Erickson sees. It takes looking though her familiar Hope's wing to see the "outside ghosts," but the four ghostly children who aren't able to leave Mrs. Erickson's house are visible without his intervention. 

Kaylin decides to investigate through records at the Halls of Law and learns something surprising. The children were never missing persons but each of them were convicted and executed for murder when they were 25. Why are they at Mrs. Erickson's house? And even more baffling, why can Kaylin sometimes see another ghostly house at the same site as Mrs. Erickson's house. Property records indicate that the property, and the larger house, was once owned by Azoria An'Berranin, a Barrani no one talks about. 

Her friend Teela encourages her to give up her investigation. Looking into something the Barrani want hidden would be very dangerous for Kaylin. But Kaylin can't give up. Children, even though they are ghosts, are in danger and that is one of Kaylin's triggers. 

The more she and her friends look into this case, the more they learn that an evil long thought destroyed is still working toward its goals. And Mrs. Erickson is not the dotty old lady that she appears to be, but rather a woman with a very unusual and dangerous magical talent. 

I love the complex world building in this story which is filled with a wide variety of characters from a very large spider-like Wevarin to Ancients to Dragons to very real mythical creatures. I love the idea that there are parts of Elantra that are only loosely connected like the Academia, a university that was once out of phase with reality. 

I wouldn't necessarily jump into the series here. After all, this is the seventeenth book, but fans of the series will certainly enjoy it. And new readers will have lots of questions that can be answered by reading older episodes.

Favorite Quote:
"Then you must decide whether your responsibility to the pathos of the dead outweighs your responsibility not to add to their number."
I bought this one for my Kindle. You can buy your copy here.

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