Book Review: Michelle Sagara’s Cast in Secret

Posted March 8, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Young Adult readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Michelle Sagara’s Cast in Secret

Cast in Secret


Michelle Sagara

that was published by Harlequin Luna on August 1, 2007 and has 521 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Harvest Moon, Cast in Shadow, Cast in Courtlight, Cast in Silence, Cast in Fury, Cast in Chaos, Cast in Ruin, Cast in Peril, Cast in Sorrow, Cast in Flame, Cast in Honor, Cast in Flight

Third in the Chronicles of Elantra fantasy series revolving around Kaylin, a young Hawk whom many fear should be killed.

My Take

I don’t get why the Quartermaster would even imagine that Kaylin would be able to get through a day without rips, tears, and bloodshed. He must know the situations she or any of the other Hawks go into…

Eew, eeeewww, spit, wipe, rub, just eewww. That is definitely an honor I could do without…ewwwwww…

It’s a case in which Kaylin learns the truth about the Tha’alani. She also learns Nightshade’s lesson about how to retrieve information from others. He does make a good point. She also learns a great deal about the past. What the Tha’alani did, what the Dragons did.

Whoa, Sagara keeps letting out these bits and pieces about how lucky Kaylin is to have survived this far. From her first appearance outside the fief with the tattoos, the words, on her arms, she has been an intense topic of discussion with many protectors.

And, yet another, whoa, LOL. Sagara is good at this. I keep being surprised that this is only the third installment as I feel I know so much about Kaylin and the others. This particular surprise is Castle Nightshade’s rejection of Kaylin. Especially when it’s practically sucked her in every other time. A rejection which leads her in an unexpected path to a visual of Tha’alani history and a way to save her own.

Andellen has some words of warning regarding her status as Erenne. Whew.

Oh, yeah. It’s what I love about Kaylin. She just says whatever, wherever, and has no clue that she’s being rude. When she does learn it, she is embarrassed, but not enough to take care. It certainly leads to interesting situations.

“Don’t hate what you can’t be

Don’t hate what you can’t have.”

I think this is my favorite of the series so far. Sagara has such great insight and plays it well. It’s a story of bigotry and what Kaylin learns. About herself and others.

The Story

Festival is over. Thank the gods. But criminal action is forever as Kaylin and Severn learn at Evanton’s shop.

It is in the oldest of the libraries that the action really takes off when Kaylin encounters the skeleton of a not-dead Dragon, for the city is under threat by an element and a renegade mage.

The Characters

Private Lord Kaylin Neya is not only a Hawk, but a lord, “a title granted her by the Lord of the Barrani High Court. And, ooh, does that ever tick Kaylin off! It’s the metaphysical tattoos on her arms that have catapulted Kaylin into this life of hers. And it’s only going to get more interesting.

Corporal Lord Severn Handred earned his title as well. Only, nobody teases him about it, much to Kaylin’s irritation.

Lord Sanabalis is a Dragon mage who will continue to teach Kaylin how to use her powers. Really, he’s all that stands between her and the Emperor. Lord Tiamaris is the Dragon who worked with Kaylin and Severn in Cast in Shadows (1); today, he will return to the Hawks. Teyaragon is the oldest of his line, and he accepted a mighty duty to his people. The Imperial Libraries and galleries are Arkon‘s hoard; the Empire is the Emperor‘s.

Evanton is much more than a spells and potion seller. Turns out he’s the Keeper of a truly powerful oasis within the city. An elemental garden not governed by the Barrani or the Dragon Emperor.

The Hawks include:
Iron Jaw, more formally known as Sergeant Marcus Kassan, a Leontine Hawk, hands out the assignments and growls at everyone. Caitlin is his human assistant and essentially his second-in-command. She only passes Marcus the reports he absolutely must see. They all fear Caitlin’s wrath. Tanner and Clint (of the enticing flight feathers!) are Aerians. Constant Mallory is in charge of Missing Persons, and he has a Barrani-like acquaintance with truth.

The Tha’alani.
The Tha’alani, a.k.a., Truthseekers, are psychics, mind readers. Their touch is NOT delicate. and their entire society is open about everything — you can’t hide what everyone can see anyway. Ybelline Rabon’alani is the Emperor’s Tha’alani and the leader of her people. She’s also the Tha’alani who made Kaylin realize how wrong she was. Draalzyn is the Tha’alani at Missing Persons who passes on Ybelline’s message. Epharim is a guard at the Tha’alani compound. Kaylin’s first encounter where she realizes how insular (and why) the Tha’alani are. Mayalee is a missing Tha’alani child. Grethan is one who was born without the Tha’alani gifts. A handicap so horrible that he fled to the outside world. Nevaron and Onnay are his friends. Uriel was a major figure in Tha’alani history.

Master Sabrai is in charge of the Oracle Hall. Everly is one of the Oracles; his visions are expressed in his paintings. It’s the one of Kaylin that is most disturbing.

Lord Nightshade is an outcaste Barrani fieflord, a crime lord, who has lent his name to his fief where Severn and Kaylin once lived. And he recalls Grethan’s time in his fief. Lord Andellen was one of the Barrani guards with Kaylin in Cast in Courtlight (2).

The Lord of the Green is the new castelord, the Lord of the High Halls, with a personal request for Kaylin. His brother, Lirienne, the Lord of the West March, still considers Kaylin his kyuthe and likes her very much.

Donalan Idis was a member of the Arcanum, who worked with the Inquisitorial Services — just one of the reasons why the Tha’alani despise him. The Wolves have been trying to track him down for years.

There are three peacekeeping forces and three Lords of Law: the Lord of Hawks, Lord Grammayre, the Hawklord, heads up the Hawks — the investigators; the Lord of Swords and his men are the peacekeepers — the street cops, if you will; and, Lord Merlin, the Lord of Wolves and his people are its black ops with the Shadow Wolves the “darkest face the Law could turn on the populace”.

Think of the Aerians as birdmen, but not shifters. Barrani are the upper class in this society, although not the uppermost. Vicious, cruel, and they seem to have the appearance of what I would consider Fey. The Leontine are lion shifters. Arcanists are mages who work independently of the Dragon Emperor. Fieflords are independent rulers of large neighborhoods outside the city proper.

The Cover and Title

The cover is shades of pink and Indiana Jones with its doubled-in-life-size ancient statues and a leather-clad Kaylin poised to spring into action.

The title refers to the history, the evil done that was Cast in Secret.