Book Review: Michelle Sagara’s Cast in Silence

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 Silence

Cast in Silence


Michelle Sagara

fantasy that was published by Harlequin Luna on August 1, 2009 and has 464 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 Fury, Cast in Chaos, Cast in Ruin, Cast in Peril, Cast in Sorrow, Cast in Flame, Cast in Honor, Cast in Flight

Fifth in the Chronicles of Elantra fantasy series revolving around Kaylin Neya, a private in the Hawks law enforcement agency.

My Take

Whoa…lotsa action in this one, but not a current day investigation of any particular peoples, although we do learn what happened to Kaylin in the six months she was missing and why she ended up with the Hawks. Oh, boy. Didn’t see that one coming. Instead, Kaylin, Severn, and Tiamaris fall back in time in this particular adventure and explore the realities of the fiefs and a history in which Dragons have not won and the fiefs are clean and friendly. A time which also explores Kaylin’s history. It was the things Barren made her do. The people he ordered killed, the reasons for it, that helped Kaylin make up her mind to join the Hawks.

“Meaning is often decided by your intended audience.”

The office atmosphere is back to normal: Marcus is slashing desks, but not yet shattering the bloody window that Mallory had re-magicked to be oh-so-polite — Kaylin’s already lost her guess in the betting pool — and, yup, the betting is back in full play. Yes, Rennick’s play was also a success (see Cast in Fury, 4).

Oopsie, Arkon is quite displeased with Sanabalis’ lack of progress with Kaylin. She has not yet learned how to light that damned candle. A fact which rather cracks me up in light of Kaylin’s other accomplishments, LOL.

The more I read this series, the more fascinated I become, and the more I appreciate the extremely complex world that Sagara has built. It’s not just the small things of everyday life, but the big philosophies that change from culture to culture. Very impressive. It’s still incredibly complex, and I suspect I will need to read this over and over again before I grasp it all.

Kaylin is learning wisdom:

“I always paid attention to anything that seemed practical and important. I didn’t realize just how practical some of the theoretical classes would end up becoming.”

There’s only one comment I can recall Tiamaris making that makes sense of his actions at the end. It will definitely be interesting to learn what happens in the next installment, Cast in Chaos, 6.

It’s terrifying what envy and jealousy have wrought. Kaylin will use the power of words which she learned in Cast in Fury, 4, to rewrite the Tower, to teach her about duty, responsibility, pride, guilt, grief, regret, accepting past mistakes, the need to be needed, and most important, a sense of real love and understanding.

The words that turn Kaylin’s world upside down:

“‘We do not always succeed in our attempts to find — or uphold — justice. But if we fail to try at all, what is left? The only justice that exists is the justice we attempt to make. The only fairness, the same.'”

Lord Grammayre”

Okay, another bit of the puzzle…the High Lord says that “Elantra exists…because the fiefs exist”.

The Story

One of the fiefs is losing its power, its magic, and the Shadows are creeping through. If they break all the way through, they will break into Nightshade and Candallar and then into the City itself.

It’s a demand Barren is making of Kaylin. One she cannot refuse.

Or all will die.

The Characters

Private Lord Kaylin Neya of the Hawks has managed, so far, to avoid meeting the Dragon Emperor. But the days are counting down, for Kaylin has achieved too much. Corporal Lord Severn Handred grew up with Kaylin, and now they are partners in the Hawks. Lord Tiamaris, a Dragon, has partnered up with them in previous stories and will do so again.

Lord Sanabalis is one of four Dragon lords at the Imperial Court and is the mage trying to teach Kaylin to understand her powers. There are also Lords Diarmat and Emmerian. The Arkon is the oldest Dragon at court, and he serves as the palace librarian. Evanton is the Keeper of an elemental garden. One that is in wild disarray and trying to relay a message.

The Hawks include:
Sergeant Marcus Kassan, a.k.a., Ironjaw, a Leontine, is back and in charge. And everyone is breathing easier. Caitlin is his unofficial second-in-command and a human. Teela and Tain are Barrani, and, yes, they chose to work for the Hawks rather than “participate” in politics in the High Halls. Both are friends of Kaylin’s.

Ybelline Rabon’alani is the Emperor’s Tha’alani, the castelord of her people with the most experience of how humans think, and has a great ability to survive delving into the minds of others.

Barren acts as fieflord in Barren. Morse is the woman who took Elianne/Kaylin in and taught her further how to survive. She’s also Barren’s second-in-command.

The High Lord, the castelord of the Barrani, the former Lord of the Green, and his Consort, the Lady, welcome Lord Kaylin.

Turns out that Lord Nightshade, an outcaste Barrani fieflord, sought out the fief for strategic reasons. Ohhh, I betcha I know why…! And you’ll hafta read Cast in Fury, 4, if you want to find out… Lord Andellen is the Barrani guard who has shared some of Kaylin’s adventures, and he is being summoned for High Court.

The Hawks are one of three peacekeeping forces in Elantra, and Lord Grammayre is the Hawklord. The Aerians are birdmen, but not shifters. Barrani are the upper class in this society, although not the uppermost. Kaylin believes they have the art of lying down to a fine and engrained art. 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: Liatt is ruled and held by a human woman from the Tower of Liatt; Barren is ruled by a human, Barren (its former Barrani lord, Illien, was considered a dreamer who was uncomfortable in a city ruled by Dragons; wanting power, his existence is a mystery); Nightshade is held by Lord Nightshade, an outcaste Barrani who rules from Castle Nightshade; Candallar is held by a Barrani and is on the other side of Nightshade; and, Ravellon is the heart of the fiefs, one that none dare enter. Tara is the Tower, a child affected by another woman’s dreams and hopes. A child of the Old Ones

The Cover and Title

I can’t decide if Kaylin is being thoughtful or making a run for it on this cover. It’s a close-up with Kaylin wearing a sleeveless top and a deep v-neck — exactly what she would never wear — that exposes her tattoos, her left arm up and wearing the bracer that dampens her magic with a beautiful night sky in the background, the moonlight gleaming on the waters. Above is a skyline view of Elantra.

I suspect the title could go two ways: the lack in the fief of Barren or what Lord Nightshade learns too early. Cast in Silence will ensure that history plays out as it should.