Book Review: Michelle Sagara’s Cast in Fury

Posted March 11, 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 Fury

Cast in Fury


Michelle Sagara

fantasy that was published by Harlequin Luna on October 1, 2008 and has 416 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 Secret, Cast in Silence, Cast in Chaos, Cast in Ruin, Cast in Peril, Cast in Sorrow, Cast in Flame, Cast in Honor, Cast in Flight

Fourth in the Chronicles of Elantra fantasy series revolving around Kaylin Neya.

My Take

Absolutely fascinating as Sagara expands on another of the civilizations that make up the inhabitants of Elantra, focusing on the Leontines this time, and we learn a great deal about its society, its culture and origins, and its stance on babies. Of Marrin’s past and her reasons for starting the Foundling Halls. All of which Sagara uses to twist this tale of propaganda and murder. And, man, does she dribble out the clues in tiny bits and pieces! Oh, wow, we also learn more of how the Outcaste Dragon became what he is.

The central theme is fear. Fear of other cultures, fear of magic, fear of the government, fear of someone different from you, and the fear of how others will react to it. It’s the fear of difference that is at the core of this particular story. Orogrim’s difference causes hate, a hate that causes Orogrim’s reactions now. The Tha’alani difference and their efforts to save Elantra raises fear and hate amongst the humans. What Kaylin brings, what we in the real world need to heed is tolerance, acceptance. Understanding. It’s Kaylin’s power of words that threaten Makuron. More terrifying to him than even the Dragonkiller.

Giving and taking is a sub theme. The different permutations of give-and-take, taking, giving, and how Kaylin assesses the different peoples and cultures she knows.

It’s also a growth period for her as she learns patience and conformance. And if that isn’t a curious evolution to watch! Poor Kaylin, LOL. And Mallory throws yet another demand upon her. It should be interesting to see if there’s a follow-through. Kaylin does use her loyalty to Marcus and the Pridelea and her knowledge of the law to stay killing hands, and it’s brilliant.

Hmmm, Cultural Resource and Kaylin are not words that I would normally put together. It’ll be interesting to see how Sagara fits them together. It’s interesting to watch Kaylin/Rennick as she/he expounds on her/his particular prejudices only to find that they were pre-judging. There is an amazing ring of truth in each person’s revelations that you can’t help but appreciate for its subtlety. That whole confusion over lies and stories was excellent.

Then there’s the fascinating look inside a playwright’s mind, how he thinks; his fascination with seemingly unrelated, unnecessary information, and how he chooses to convey an idea to an audience.

I’m confused. If Kaylin was twenty-sixish in Cast in Shadow, 1, then how can she be thinking she might not see twenty-one in this story?

I love watching as Rennick’s perspective evolves from the “truth” of the gossip he’s heard through to the truth of the Tha’alani people. It’s a beautiful progression.

We learn the power of words, of story.

“And in the end, it’s Kaylin’s words about trouble that are the most true:

‘…if we all died at birth, nothing bad would ever happen.'”

The Story

The people of Elantra are terrified and easily lash out at those they see as their enemy: the Tha’alani. Their actions at the waterfront in Cast in Secret, 3, have cast them as mankind’s enemies, eager for human deaths. It’s an easy role for the humans to push the Tha’alani into as Kaylin knows. Not so long ago, she saw them as evil as well.

Now it’s up to Kaylin and Severn to teach Rennick how to truly see.

Because that’s not enough of a challenge, Marcus has been arrested for murder.

The Characters

Private Lord Kaylin Neya of the Hawks is a special case and not just in the Hawks. It’s the tattoos in the Old Tongue that have made her more than a curiosity, and for such a lowly person, she has friends in some very high places.

Corporal Lord Severn Handred grew up with Kaylin. And earned his lordly title in the same time and place she did in Cast in Courtlight, 2. Estranged for years, Kaylin has finally learned the truth of his actions, and they are partners in the Hawks.

Lord Sanabalis is one of four Dragon lords at the Imperial Court and the mage who will continue to work with Kaylin to understand her powers. Lord Tiamaris, a Dragon, worked with Kaylin and Severn in Cast in Shadows, 1 and Cast in Secret, and now he will assist them in their hunt for Orogrim and the black dragon. The Arkon is the Dragon whose hoard is the Imperial Libraries and the galleries.

Richard Rennick is the Imperial Playwright charged with interpreting events in Cast in Secret to redirect the peoples’ anger. And he’s clueless.

And, as Marcus points out:
“You took a man that makes you look tactful to the Tha’alani Quarter.”

Marrin is the Leontine who organized the Foundling Halls for the human orphans; cross her at your peril. Amos is the Hall’s guard and gardener. Dock and Cassie are two of the foundlings.

Evanton, the Keeper of an elemental garden, has been dragged in to help with makeup.

The Hawks include:
Well, not Ironjaw, more formally known as Sergeant Marcus Kassan, is in jail, and one of Kaylin’s worst enemies — Constant Mallory from Missing Persons — is in his place, handing out the assignments, looking to destroy Kaylin, and making everyone in and out of the office absolutely miserable. Perenne, Tanner, Breen, and Clint (of the enticing flight feathers!) are Aerians and worried about Kaylin keeping her job. The Quartermaster usually hates Kaylin — she keeps bringing back damaged equipment. Now he’s conspiring. Moran is Aerian and the Hawks’ medic.

The Leontines
Kayala is the Mrryn, Matriarch, of the Pridelea, Marcus’ wives, along with Tessa, Graylin, Reesa, and Sarabe. And we learn more about Leontine culture and the importance of fur color. The Elders rule the Leontine neighborhood. One of them was Gorran, a friend of Marcus’. Adar of the Claw is the Leontine castelord, and First Son; they call Sanabalis, Eldest.

Arlan/Marai is a Leontine, Sarabe’s sister, whom Kaylin helped in the birthing of her son, Roshan Kaylarr. The same one she was invited to lick in Cast in Secret, with all that this implies in Leontine culture. It enables Kaylin to claim Pridelea, even though Arlan is not in one. Orogrim is Outcaste, a Leontine mage, with deadly plans for Roshan.

The Tha’alani
Used to delve inside a person’s mind, their touch is not usually delicate. For this and the rape of one’s mind, the Tha’alani, a.k.a., Truthseekers, are feared, hated. What the public doesn’t know is that this is the compromise the Tha’alani were forced to make, to serve the Emperor or become piles of ash. Ybelline Rabon’alani is the Emperor’s Tha’alani and the castelord of her people. Sergeant Voone of the Swords is helping to protect them. Ellis is the very young heir to the castelord.

Lord Nightshade, an outcaste Barrani fieflord, provides new information about the fiefs, and holds Dragonkiller, Meliannos. From what I can gather, he’s indicated that Kaylin will be his Erenne, and the best I can figure is that he intends her to be his consort or wife?? Lord Andellen, one of the Barrani guards with Kaylin in Cast in Courtlight, is fighting alongside them both.

The Outcaste Dragon Lord, Makuron the Black, is still alive and plotting.

The peacekeeping forces of Elantra
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 conquerors of the seven large criminal neighborhoods outside the city proper. The fiefs themselves have always existed, a metaphysical “solidity that defies the darkness, erodes it” where the “land and the Lord are almost one”, an ancient binding, twisted. The heart of the fiefs is Ravellon, a fief none dare enter. I think it makes Nightshade look benign!

The Cover and Title

The cover is shades of pink and lavender as the even-more tattooed Kaylin, in a very sexy lavender slip dress, appears to hold back a tidal wave.

The title is the response of the people of Elantra, Cast in Fury in their perception of the Tha’alani actions that day in the previous story.