Book Review: Michelle Sagara’s Cast in Chaos

Posted March 15, 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 Chaos

Cast in Chaos


Michelle Sagara

fantasy that was published by Harlequin Luna on August 1, 2010 and has 503 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 Fury, Cast in Ruin, Cast in Peril, Cast in Sorrow, Cast in Flame, Cast in Honor, Cast in Flight

Sixth in the Chronicles of Elantra fantasy series for young adults about a remarkable young woman who has a lot of learning to endure yet.

My Take

This particular story is about the elements that make up the world: earth, air, fire, and water. Being a magical world, it seems an element may well be missing, creating an opportunity to build a story around refugees fleeing their homeland and how a civilized country/world would meet their plight. A story that is made up of words, and words are very, very important to Dragons, to the Devourer, to Tara, to the Barrani. And, in the end, to Kaylin.

I just can’t help liking Kaylin. She doesn’t care what grief may rain down upon her head; it’s people who are important to her. She’ll do whatever it takes to make them safe.

Crack me up, it’s the first time Severn has mentioned that Kaylin needs to draw up a budget. And the window at HQ is acting up! It’s getting downright chatty to everyone.

Ooh, I hate that Sagara left us hanging without Lady Alyssa’s reaction at the end of the story. After all the fuss she kicked up, I wanted to watch!

Oh, I cried…Severn finally tells Kaylin what he thinks and feels. And Kaylin is growing up.

Whoa, it really is an emergency! The Dragons have invited the Barrani High Lord and his Lady to the Imperial Palace!! We also get more tidbits about the Barrani.

After the way in which everyone emphasizes the emperor’s will and autonomy, why they should imagine that Kaylin would believe she had the right to barge in? Still, she does like to take that walk on the wild side, and Cast in Chaos definitely provides lots of opportunities for Kaylin to walk.

Oh, yeah, Cast in Ruin, 7, oughta be fascinating after Kaylin’s run-ins with Lord Diarmat!

The Story

Evarraon’s elemental garden is upset. Again. It feels wrong, not as alive, and when Kaylin leaves it, she falls out of the world only to be chased by the Devourer.

That’s not the worst of Kaylin’s worries however. She has been assigned a tutor for those etiquette lessons she’s been avoiding. Wait’ll she finds out who it is! She won’t be able to blow this one off!

Still, magic is erupting and becoming stronger throughout Elantra, enough that it threatens their world. Thank the gods that Kaylin bears the marks of the Chosen.

The Characters

Private Lord Kaylin Neya of the Hawks is always in the…hmmm…do I dare say right place at the right time? She may fulfill this role for the world, but I’m sure others are beginning to see her as a harbinger of doom, LOL. As for her partner in the Hawks, Corporal Lord Severn Handred has gone from mortal enemy to necessary friend.

Lord Tiamaris, a Dragon, is now the fieflord of the former Barren fief with Tara, the Tower, the Avatar, the Lady, more of a partner than a mere building who raises questions and provides answers. And Tara is growing in her understanding of people. Of life. Morse (she killed Barren in Cast in Silence, 5) is now Tiamaris’ second-in-command.

Lord Sanabalis is one of four Dragon lords at the Imperial Court and is becoming a friend to Kaylin. There are also Dragon Lords Emmerian and Diarmat, a very fussy, punctilious, UNfriendly Dragon who is Captain of the Imperial Guard — he still thinks he should be able to eat people who offend him. The Arkon is the oldest Dragon at court, and he hasn’t left the palace library in thousands of years. The Dragon Emperor is anxious to meet Kaylin, but not so anxious that he will see her before she passes her etiquette lessons. Seems he’s not very tolerant, nor does he have a sense of humor, and there is a very real possibility that he will eat Kaylin on sight if she is in any way rude. Yup, that on-sight bit is a real possibility…this is Kaylin we’re talkin’ about!

Evanton is the Keeper of an elemental garden on Elani street. A garden that is in wild disarray and trying to relay a message. Grethan is his defective Tha’alani apprentice (see Cast in Secret, 3). Margot Hemming is a sort of fraudulent seer who ticks off Lady Alyssa whose father, Garavan Larienne, is the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Hawks include:
The Hawks are one of three peacekeeping forces in Elantra, and Lord Grammayre is the Hawklord. Think of them as the investigators of the threesome. Sergeant Marcus Kassan, a.k.a., Ironjaw, a Leontine, is back and in charge. Caitlin is his unofficial second-in-command and a human. Teela and Tain are Barrani who much prefer the streets to the Barrani High Court. Both are friends of Kaylin’s. Tanner is human and enjoys a laugh at Kaylin’s expense.

Ybelline Rabon’alani is the Emperor’s Tha’alani, the castelord of her people with the most experience of how humans think, and Kaylin’s friend. Her efforts with Everly may provide a way to communicate with the newcomers/invaders. Scoros is a founding teacher and Draalzyn is the Tha’alani who serves in Missing Persons.

The High Lord, the castelord of the Barrani, the former Lord of the Green, and his Consort, the Lady, require Lord Kaylin’s help. And they’re not too happy with her stance.

Lord Sabrai is an oracle and in charge of the Oracular Halls. Sigrenne is a guard and very like Marrin in her care of the oracles in the Halls. After past experience with Kaylin, she’s comfortable with her. Everly is an oracle who communicates through his painting. Marya is a a midwife who frequently calls Kaylin in for help. Although, the grief Marya experiences in this story is not likely to be something Kaylin can fix.

Turns out that Lord Nightshade, an outcaste Barrani fieflord (whose true name is Calarnenne), acknowledges that events in Cast in Silence, 5, caused him to seek his opportunity, take it, and explore while he awaited Kaylin’s arrival, for she is part of the Regalia, a story of the Barrani. Lord Andellen is the Barrani guard who has become a part of Kaylin’s life.

Vakillirae chooses to sacrifice himself for knowledge and to give his people time to flee, which his friend, Enkerrikas, records. Effaron is the traveler able to speak to Kaylin; he’s leading the others on their journey. Merjah leads the refugees.

The other two peackeeping forces are the Swords who act as patrolmen and riot police and the Wolves are black ops, always in the shadows, tracking down wrongdoers.

The Aerians are birdmen, but not shifters. Barrani are the upper class in this society, although not the uppermost. The Leontine are lion shifters. Arcanists are mages who work independently of the Dragon Emperor. The fiefs in this story — Tiamaris, Nightshade, and Ravellon — are only three out of seven criminal neighborhoods around Elantra. The beings who rule fiefs are the fieflords who provide the name of the fief itself.

The Cover and Title

The cover is brilliant greens and oranges highlighting and surrounding Kaylin and those changing tattoos on her arms as she stands, facing us, with her arms outstretched, and her long dark hair blowing in the draft.

The title reflects the state of mind of the citizens of Elantra — Cast in Chaos.