Monday, November 17, 2008

Review - “Cast in Fury” by Michelle Sagara

When a minority race of telepaths is suspected of causing a near-devastating tidal wave, Private Kaylin Neya is summoned to Court—and into a PR nightmare. To ease racial tensions, the emperor has commissioned a play, and the playwright has his own ideas about who should be the focus.…

But Kaylin works her best magic behind the scenes, and though she tries to stay neutral, she is again drawn into a world of politics…and murder. To make matters worse, Marcus, her trusted sergeant, gets stripped of his command, leaving Kaylin vulnerable. Now she's juggling two troubling cases, and even magic's looking good by comparison. But then nobody ever said life in the theater was easy.…
Cast in Fury is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Elantra fantasy series. Sagara has forged an intricate and Byzantine fantasy world. The city of Elantra is a cosmopolitan city filled with a diversity of characters and races, including immortals and mortals, humans and non-human races, with humans representing the largest population.

Kaylin is human and a Hawk, barely out of her teens. Hawks are one of the paramilitary divisions responsible for patrolling and upholding the Dragon emperors laws in the city. In general each novel has focused on a central mystery surrounding one of the races. In Cast in Fury, Kaylin and her partner Severn set about exonerating their Sergeant (Marcus), a Leontine, who is accused of a murder with ties to forbidden magic and racial taboos. This provides Sagara the opportunity to explore the Leontine culture and history of another of the major races.

Kaylin, an orphan is also emotionally invested in the mission because she was rescued and adopted from the streets by Marcus’ Pridlea (pride) and in every way that matters – they are family. The secondary story arc described in the blurb concerns the empathic Tha’alani race featured in the previous book. Ripples of those events continue to create unrest among Elantra’s residents and the emperor hopes the royal playwright can concoct a play to soothe the fears and distrust among the races. Kaylin’s prior experience with the Tha’alani makes her the ideal go between.

At the heart of both of these storylines is a theme about children. Their value and how they are viewed through the eyes of different cultures and races. Kaylin is a passionate defender of the rights of children having come from the streets. Ultimately Cast in Fury is as much about saving children as it is about helping Marcus and the emperor.

Cast in Fury features some new characters and returning ones such as the Dragon Lord Sanabalis (dragon in human form) and the Barani (vampire like race), Lord Nightshade. We get to meet Marcus’ wives and many new Leontines. Kaylin also exercises her magic more then in previous stories and she gains insight into the mysterious runes that decorate her body. She also continues to grow personally, slowly learning to manage her youthful impatience under trying circumstances. Her responses to Severn also indicate a growing recognition of their bond and suggests that she may finally take steps in that direction (alas not in this volume).

In her Authors Notes at the beginning of the book Sagara says –
“I'm having a lot of fun exploring Kaylin's world as she herself learns more about it, and I hope that comes through on the page.”
And the answer is a definite yes—the love of her characters and world she has constructed shines through page after page. The central mystery delivers plenty of action and plot twists. Each new Kaylin adventure is a visit to be savoured, adding more flavour to the larger Elantran tapestry. There are many references to events and characters from previous books, so new readers may find some of them puzzling, but I do believe it can be appreciated on its’ own merits. Of course better yet, seek out the earlier works and enjoy.


Read an excerpt from Chapter 1.

Luna Books
Published: October 2008
ISBN #: 9780373802692
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 416

Chronicles of Elantra Series

  1. Cast in Shadow (2005)
  2. Cast in Courtlight (2006)
  3. Cast in Secret (2007)
  4. Cast in Fury (2008)
  5. Cast in Silence (2009)


  1. Well I have to admit that it sounds like a unique series!

  2. Sagara is wonderful at characterization.

  3. I love this series, too! I discovered it a bit late, but I'm glad I did (especially because there's a bunch of them already out there).

  4. Hey Darla checking out my old reviews I see. This is a terrific series. I am still a book behind to be current.Like you I love it when I discover a writer/series I like and find out there are already a bunch of them out there. No waiting!


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