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Cast in Shadow (Chronicles of Elantra #1)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  11,437 ratings  ·  676 reviews
Seven years ago Kaylin fled the crime-riddled streets of Nightshade, knowing that something was after her. Children were being murdered -- and all had the same odd markings that mysteriously appeared on her own skin...

Since then, she's learned to read, she's learned to fight and she's become one of the vaunted Hawks who patrol and police the City of Elantra. Alongside the
Mass Market Paperback, 507 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Luna
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Elianne was an orphaned child of the fiefs, scraping out a living in the fiefdom of Nightshade with an older boy, Severn, and two other little girls. Then one day strange markings appeared on her arms and legs, and the killings began. Thirty-eight children are found murdered with markings like hers carved into their skin - and she knew all of them - until they suddenly stopped the same day she ran away from the fiefs, from Severn, from the horror of what she'd seen.

Now, seven years later, her na
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Welcome, ladies & gentlemen, to the lamest review ever! Since this is a 5-star book I figured I might as well write a 1-star review for it. Because, frankly, I have nothing to say about this book! This book is too awesome for words! There's no way I can review this book! Or tell you how much I love the world building! Or write about Kaylin-OMG-she's-so-amazing-I'm-in-love! Or say anything about the incredible cast of characters! Or fangirl about dragons-oh-yeah-dragons-OMG-this-is-so-cool! O ...more
And today we have the first in yet another series I had heard much good about but avoided picking up for a variety of no good reasons. I think my reluctance stemmed somewhat from an uncertainty as to just what kind of series Michelle Sagara's Cast series was. I think at first I had the impression it was a paranormal romance, possibly an urban fantasy (the covers influenced me this way). A few chapters in I was surprised to find CAST IN SHADOW much more a mix of dark and high fantasy, peopled wit ...more
Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen)
98 pages in, I was wondering how I had convinced myself to read as far as I did. At least 3 times during the course of reading this, I checked to make sure that this was the first book in the series. Something just felt really incomplete about it, as if I were starting the story in the middle and didn't have all the information I needed for everything to make sense.

If I were an editor, I would have required the author to have a prologue which shows us what happened to Kaylin 7 years ago and giv
Tamora Pierce
A unique police procedural in which the cops are divided into three branches: Wolves, Hawks, Swords; and the people are divided into multiple races, including lion-like Leontines, flying Arielites, humans, and immortal Dragons and Barrantines. Someone is ritualistically killing children in this book, raising tattoo-like marks in their skin in pattern-like murders, but what are they trying to achieve, and can they be stopped?
Ben Babcock
From the other reviews here on Goodreads, I am relieved to see that I am not the only one whose dominant feeling while reading Cast in Shadow was one of confusion. Michelle Sagara has clearly come up with a creative, perhaps even compelling world. It’s populated by all sorts of fascinating species: the immortal Barrani and Dragons and Tha'lani, the mortal humans and Leontine and Aerians. Elantra is a city like many others in fantasy, poised on that brink of industrialization, the throbbing heart ...more
The story was interesting enough but was often confusing. I didn't like that several times something would happen and, at the end of the scene, you wonder why the author just wasted your time with that. Much, much later you realize what she was trying to establish with the scene, but I really would have liked it if the author had made the point of the scene clearer at the time it occurred.

Also, the author attempts to create a mystery (as if there wasn't enough) by withholding from the reader in
Cast in Shadow is the first in a series (9 books so far) that I’ve been waiting to start for a long, long time. I still don’t know how long the series is going to be, but I figured there are enough books out that I could get started and see if the wait has been worth it, and oh yes it has. I'm going to have to pace myself on this one so I don't have to play the waiting game for too long.

It is a High Fantasy, but with a definite Urban Fantasy feel. It takes place in a single city, with several d
I feel like I would have LOVED this book when I was 13.

As a fair warning, not a lot (ie nothing) is explained or described. The author expects you to implicitly understand the layouts of buildings and magic dealings without any explanation.

The main character is imperfect, and that is likable, but that is pretty much the only likable aspect of her personality. She is rude, impatient, whiny, and ignorant of everything around her. Every other character treats her with kindness and respect (OK, ma
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lana Del Slay
Jun 09, 2012 Lana Del Slay rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone less picky, more patient
I must be picky or something, because while I thought the ideas behind this were worth exploring, the execution left me wondering whether an editor had got within a mile of the manuscript. There is something distinctly fannish in nature about the words on the page, something that says "I learned how to write solely through my friends on the Internet," and while that's not wrong (I learned a fair bit that way myself), that needs tempering with a healthy dose of "This is how we do it for pay."


I tried. I really did try to enjoy this book. But I finally gave up. I was 85% through this book, and still waiting for it to grab me. I hate abandoning books, but I figured if i wasn't sold on this book at 85%, then there was very little chance I would be sold on it at 100%. I just couldn't get into this author's style. The writing was appallingly choppy. There was no flow to the sentences. And her train of thought must have run on tracks perpendicular to my own, because I had such trouble fol
Alisi ☆ needs to stop starting new books ☆
When approaching this book in a review, one shouldn't ask the question of what went wrong here but rather what was good. However, the good amounts to a sentence or two and that's boring.

So, the good: I thought the concept and the convoluted plot in theory were interesting. Unfortunately, the author did not live up to the potential. I don't, however, feel it's so much the case of good idea gone bad so much as it was really horrible writing.

I know I've complained about prose in the past but this
Janice (Janicu)
This is the first book in this series by Michelle Sagara (aka Michelle West or Michelle Sagara West). Kaylin is a Hawk - one of the arms of the law in her world. She has an unusual ability for healing and also unusual tattoos on her arms which suddenly appeared on her when she was a child. No one can explain them. She is an orphan from the outer city (a very poor and dangerous area). When she was young she escaped this place by petitioning to be a Hawk. There is a reason she left, a really distu ...more
I just don't understand this book. World building is nonexistent and character development is lacking. I love the story but I HAVE NO IDEA WHATS GOING ON! The story starts and is written as if this is book two, like I was already knowledgeable on what's going on. The author is jumpy, talking about one thing then going to another within one sentence. And the scenes happen too fast I don't even know what happened.

The main character just does things. She's completely impulsive and I don't get to j
One step above painful. The plot had great promise. I have no idea what the author was writing. It was unbelievably tangential, convoluted in the extreme, and confusing. The analogies were quite often meaningless. I read passages over and over. All I could do was shake my head and move on. Large portions of dialogue would take place in which you could not determine who was speaking. And it seemed at the end of the book most of the players had already really known what was going on the whole time ...more
I'm really torn here. I wanted to love this book, and there is so much about it that is interesting, but I feel so underwhelmed after finishing it. I loved the different races and types of creatures and their mannerisms, but I felt that they were not really explained very well. From the opening pages certain people are labeled as a specific race, yet we don't know much about the races. Sure the Leonites resemble lions, but that's all I got. I felt from very early on that I was missing something. ...more
I can't quite figure out why I didn't like this book. Maybe it's just me, but the writing is very vague. I never get a feel of what kind of city the story is taking place or of what the characters look like.

I get that the author is trying really hard for us to believe that everyone loves the main character Kaylin, but she just sounds like she's too incompetent to be a Hawk. She apparently failed all the classes she had to take to become a Hawk. Which makes me wonder what kind of organization th
Laura (Kyahgirl)
4/5; 4 stars; A-

So, this series has been on my TBR for quite a while. It comes highly recommended by my GR friend Estara and a few others I follow.
I was not disappointed. I like a story with a strong yet flawed heroine. I like dragons, magics, and mysterious powerful races of beings. This book has all that.
I found it a bit tiresome how Kaylin acted and was treated by the various authority figures in her world but it wasn't enough to put me off the story. The main character in this book is only
Carrie Felton
AMAZING STORY! Definitely one to read again and i can't wait to read the next one in the series. The whole premise is terrific. This book is... just impossible for me to sum up the way I usually do. There are funny parts and scary parts and emotional parts. The characters were all fantastic. The writing is amazing! There is a good balance between description and dialogue. It is entirely clean except for a couple of minor swear words which was appreciated and interesting considering some of the s ...more
3.5 stars. For the most part I enjoyed reading Cast in Shadow. The reason it doesn't quite get 4 stars from me is because at times I felt like not enough was explained and that led to a bit of confusion a few times. I think way too much information is withheld from the reader and the main character. I did really like the different character races in this book and it seems like a promising start to the series. I am considering continuing on to the next book; however I am hesitant after reading th ...more
Tasha Turner
Overall I liked this book.

What I liked:
1. Worldbuilding - just about right & intriguing
2. Characters drew me in making me want to know more and caring what happens to them
3. I didn't know who the big bad was until we met him
4. We had shades of grey for good & bad guys
5. Lack of sexism - women seemed to be treated as equals

What I didn't like:
1. Big bad has murky reasons for what/why he acts and I can't explain without spoiler (view spoiler)
This book is ... so much more than I was expecting. I think I thought it was going to be something light and forgettable. A good yarn. An episode of a TV show I like, but don't need to watch. I was wrong.

You know the adage, "don't judge a book by its cover". Well, that so completely and utterly applies here. Books with covers like these are very much like TV shows and Rodney Dangerfield - they don't get much respect (there's a reason why HBO's slogan is "it's not TV, it's HBO"). The good ones ar
I really enjoyed West's Into the Darklands series so when I read the blurb for this series I thought I'd give it a whirl. I was so not impressed. It was strange, for one, that she basically left out everything that a reader would need to know what's going on with the plot. What were the different races? Could we have gotten a better description of how their society functioned? I wasn't really even sure if the Hawks were like some sort of detectives or if they were just random guards? What were t ...more
Oct 16, 2012 Kerry rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy, 8, 6, 2007, 2005
ORIGINAL READ: 6/10 (5 December 2005 - 9 December 2005)

I liked this book, despite the low rating I've given in. The main character is solidly developed and likeable, the secondary characters and varied and different (although I found Severn, the lead human male character, to be less well created and kind of boring) the story is interesting and the world and its inhabitants fascinating. I read it steadily and wanted to know what was going to happen next. I'm also still interested in reading the n
I loved the heck out of the beginning of this book. The world is awesome, the tone is great, and the heroine was awesome. Speaking of the world, I'm not sure I've come across one in fantasy that I'd more wanted to dive into. Just seeing bits of it made me ravenous to find out about the rest. That being said, some of the things I loved so much came back to bite it. Sagara doesn't spoon feed the reader. She makes you earn your knowledge. I hate saying this, but this was one time when I needed more ...more
Federica °Kah rahna fauna°
I'm usually discouraged from reading a book when i see so many bad reviews but i'm so happy that i decided to try it anyway!I was pleasantly surprised,i really enjoyed it and can't wait to see what happens next.The pacing is neither too slow nor too fast,the characters and the plot are very original and entertaining.I loved reading about the different races and costumes.I admit that sometimes i've found myself a little lost at the beginning because you find yourself directly in this new world an ...more
I got a bit confused, as there's quite a few different races in here, and the bare bones of description are given. I imagined everyone as basically humanoid but some with wings, and then when the dragon changed I got a bit confused, as I was imagining him as some very handsome man and wasn't sure exactly if that was the case or not. Not like it matters, I just like to imagine handsome men, I guess. But while it's interesting to have at least 5 (?) different races, it can be confusing at first to ...more
Oct 06, 2011 Rachel rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of sentence fragments
Recommended to Rachel by: My mom
Shelves: fantasy
Sentence fragments. Abundant. Qualifying and redundant. Slightly repetetive. In the same sense that Roseanne Barr was slightly mouthy.

I have read this once before and wasn't enchanted. I reread it because my mother enjoyed it, and I thought I'd give it another chance. Apparently, I'm a glutton for punishment.

There are a few things I can tell you about the main character with total confidence: she is always late, she failed every non-practical class in her education, did well in languages, rare
Apr 06, 2013 Estara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of urban fantasy in secondary fantastic worlds
Recommended to Estara by: auto-buy comfort read author
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Shining Court (The Sun Sword, #3)
  • Into the Dark Lands (The Sundered, #1)
  • Magic Lost, Trouble Found (Raine Benares #1)
  • The Hero Strikes Back (Hero, #2)
  • Mystic and Rider (Twelve Houses, #1)
  • The Compass Rose (One Rose Trilogy, #1)
See also:

Michelle Sagara West
Michelle West

Michelle is an author, bookseller, and lover of literature based in Toronto. She writes fantasy novels as both Michelle Sagara and Michelle West (and sometimes as Michelle Sagara West). You can find her books at fine booksellers.

She lives in Toronto with her long-suffering husband and her two children, and to her regret has no dogs.

Reading is one of her li
More about Michelle Sagara...

Other Books in the Series

Chronicles of Elantra (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Cast In Courtlight (Chronicles of Elantra #2)
  • Cast In Secret (Chronicles of Elantra #3)
  • Cast in Fury (Chronicles of Elantra #4)
  • Cast in Silence (Chronicles of Elantra, #5)
  • Cast in Chaos (Chronicles of Elantra, #6)
  • Cast in Ruin (Chronicles of Elantra, #7)
  • Cast in Peril (Chronicles of Elantra, #8)
  • Cast in Sorrow (Chronicles of Elantra, #9)
  • Cast in Flame (Chronicles of Elantra, #10)
  • Cast in Honor (Chronicles of Elantra, #11)

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“I'm missing something, aren't I?"
"Brains", he snapped. "And survival instinct. The Hawklord's been waiting for you for three hours."
"Tell him I'm dead.”
“The gods where like the weather; sometimes good, sometimes bad, and either way, always beyond her.” 28 likes
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