I first tried to read this book some years ago, but I didn’t manage to finish it without skimming a great part of the second half. As I am otherwise a...moreI first tried to read this book some years ago, but I didn’t manage to finish it without skimming a great part of the second half. As I am otherwise a great fan of Michelle Sagara/Michelle West’s writing, I tried to come back to this universe but by a different entry: the first three books of the House War series as recommended by other fans. Then I read the Sacred Hunt duology and the short stories set in the same universe. As a result, when the POV shift from the Dominion to the Empire around the middle of the book, I didn’t lost interest in the stories since I was able to meet again characters I already known. Otherwise, I think that the sudden change in POV can be off putting.
As I said, the first half of the book concentrates on the Dominion in the south. It’s a kingdom where women have no power and are gathered in harems. We follow the story of the Serra Teresa and her niece, the Serra Diora. The two of them are bard-born, that’s to say they can oblige people to obey them with their voice and when they hear people speak, they can also hear their felling and guess what they are hidding. Since women should not have power in the Dominion and that none can stand the bard-born anyway, they are obliged to hide their talent. Because of it, Teresa was forbidden to marry; otherwise she could have been used by her husband against her family. As a consequence, she has no harem and no sister-wives; she is isolated, had no real role or power and resents this. Thus she attempts to educate and protect her niece and to scheme so that she doesn’t suffer the same fate.
At the same time Sendari, Diora’s father and Teresa’s brother, pass a test to become a mage and have more political power (he is a second son). His new prominence allows him to take part in a complot to kill the ruler of the Dominion and put a better ruler in his stead. The problem is that the plotters need the help of demons to do so, demons who want a war against the Empire in the north in exchange for their help, as they have been defeated by this Empire a decade before when trying to take control of it.
This is a big book with a lot of different characters and POV. Nonetheless, each character is interesting and fully developed. Yet, because of that, the pacing can sometimes be a bit slow. This first book is essentially a presentation of the characters (with Diora and Kiriel childhood and birth) and the steps which will lead to the war between the Dominion and the Empire.
The world building is extremely interesting and full of details. The Dominion culture has been associated with the Arabic culture by other reviewers but it evoked more a Japanese feeling for me with the importance of honor, the music instruments, the constant kneeling … If Japan didn’t have harem, women still didn’t have a lot of freedom and I think that their view of how a women should be and behave I quite similar to that of the Serra.
I really like Teresa and Diora characters. They have learnt to hide their feeling behind a perfect mask and despite their passive role in this culture, they know what they want and manage to achieve it.
In the Empire, I was happy to see again the characters of the previous series (it’s not essential to have read them, but as I said, it helps to keep our interest). I like Jewel but I don’t think that she has grown enough between the previous series and this one despite the ten years that she has spend in House Terafin surrounded by politics.
To conclude, this book is excellent; it’s a bit hard to keep reading when the story shift from the Dominion to the Empire in the middle but it’s definitely worth reading on.(less)
At the end of Into the Dark Lands, Stefanos has betrayed Erin trust by making her immortal at the price of her friends' life and has plunged her into sleep. Indeed, he has decided that they cannot be happy together as they are now, because Erin is feeling that she has betrayed her people for her love for Stefanos. Children of the Blood starts four centuries later when Stefanos has finally vanquished all the followers of the Light, putting a term to the war; he is happy as it means that he will be able to awake Erin. At the start of the book, Stefanos is surveying the survivors of the last city of his enemies who has just fallen. Among them, he spot a young boy who has the power of the Light and the same green eyes as Erin. He wants to kill him to take no risk but stops at the last moment, feeling that the war is over and that he can start to change his behavior now. In addition, Erin will need a companion and this one will be perfect for her. However, Stefanos still has to make same preparation before being ready, so he entrusts the boy to the High Priest of the Dark Lord. Unsurprisingly, this High Priest happens to hate Stafanos, because he feels that as the High Priest he has the more privileged relationship with their God, not the First of his immortal servants and children who also happen to be their Emperor and the General who has allowed their victory... In Into the Dark Lands, the High Priest of the time had the same reaction; one would think that given Stefanos' habit of regularly annihilating most of the Priests, they would be a little more prudent in exposing their feelings... So the High Priest is vexed that Stefanos is giving him orders and thus undertakes to break the boy, Darin, by making him serve the Priests responsible for sacrificing people to the Dark God. When Stefanos comes back to take him some years latter, the High Priest has almost achieved his goal.
Darin is surprised when he arrives at Stefanos' estate to see that, there, there are no sacrifices to the Dark God and that slave are well treated. However, he stays prudent and can't bring himself to trust Stefanos despite how kind and good he appears - none on the estate know is true identity as he called himself Lord Stefen. Darin has been assigned to the care of a sleeping lady (Erin); he is only told that she has fallen ill after falling off a boat and almost drowning. After some weeks or months (I don't remember the exact time), Erin awakes but she has no memory. She is lost, afraid and hurt by Darin lack of trust, so Darin can't bring himself to hate her and, little by little, he starts to care for her.
During that time, Stefanos is lying to Erin, telling her that she is one of his neighbours, that she has lost her memory after the boat incident and that he cares for her. He is hoping that now that the war has ended and that she doesn't remember her betrayal, Erin will be able to be happy. He has even changed his way of life and laid out his estate to please her. However, that means that he is neglecting his role of Emperor and that everyone, including the Black God, is plotting against him (the Dark God is jealous of his happiness, servants of the Dark simply can't be happy). And of course, Erin's nature is unpredictable and soon events are happening that Stefanos hadn't planned and that oblige him to reevaluate his plans. As the title of the book indicate, they are all children of the Bright Heart or the Dark Heart and they can't escape the call of their blood which urge them to act according to their nature.
I was a bit disappointed with this book as the beginning is slow and focus mostly on Darin. In fact most of the book is from his POV, which is understandable given that Erin is asleep then amnesic, but it still annoys me. Apart from that, not a lot of things happen in this book; Stefanos realizes slowly that he has misjudged several things and that it may cost him a lot. He is still deeply in love with Erin and makes more sacrifices for her, but given his past actions that may not be enough. The High Priest, The Black God and some of his other immortal Servants are plotting against Stefanos, but we don't see them a lot apart in the last chapters. Mostly, I think that this book is the logical continuation of Into the Dark Lands with Stefanos starting to get the consequences of his actions. In the first book, it is Erin who has to make sacrifice for their love, in this one it's Stefanos, even when understanding that it might already be too late. Yet, I think that the book is dragging on a bit and that this one and the third one could have been compressed together.(less)
The Bright Heart and the Dark heart have fought for millennia by the intermediary of their immortal children, the Servants of the Light or t...moreSummary :
The Bright Heart and the Dark heart have fought for millennia by the intermediary of their immortal children, the Servants of the Light or the Servants of the Dark, and by the intermediary of the human empires and kingdoms those Servants have built.
Erin is the granddaughter of the Lady, the First Servant of the Light. The novel starts when she is only a child being taught to wield her light in order to later become one of the warriors of the Light. Her father was human and his corpse is brought back with those of other fallen warrior. Her mother, the Lady’s daughter, is not a warrior but she is a healer. With her husband dead, she can’t stand to stay on the side any longer and go on the front line.
Erin is left alone with tutors in the Lady’s city, but after some begging, she is allowed to go out and meet her mother as she comes back to the city in order to have a few days of rest. However, as she is a powerful healer, her actions on the front line have drawn the attention of the Servants of the Dark Heart and one of them has laid an ambush for her. Erin assisted to her mother’s murder hidden in a cart and is only saved by the intervention of a Servant of the Bright Heart.
Profoundly marked by the events, Erin find that she is unable to call a True Ward, that’s to say to call to herself the power of her God, the Bright Heart, as she is resentful to him (he let her mother die). This important event is supposed to mark the passage to the adult age of the follower of the Light. Nonetheless, after waiting some years, the Lady grants her special dispensation and Erin is allowed to go fighting on the front line as a third class warrior in a scout unit.
The Sarillar (Sarillorn for a woman) is a warrior who has been chosen to become the vessel of the Lady’s power and who is thus the general who coordinate the contingents of the Light, in addition to being the strongest warrior of the Light. During a battle, the current Sarillar is wounded and the fighters of the Light are retreating. Erin is mortally wounded and is thus able to speak to her God and exceptionally called a True Ward, killing all the other army by herself.
Shortly after, Erin is called back at the Lady’s side. The Lady has seen the future: the end of the long battle is drawing near and Erin is the only one able to bring the victory to the Light. Reluctantly, Erin accepts to become the Sarillorn but she know that despite all her power she is a liability to the Light as she is only able to called a True Ward when she is mortally wounded.
Nevertheless, she manages to cause enough problems to draw the attention of Stefanos, the First Servant of the Dark Heart. He meets Erin when she is alone behind the front lines and captures her without difficulties. In order to save the lives of other prisoners, Erin accepts to let him taste her blood and her Light despite the fact that all of the warriors of the Light know how to kill themselves when captured and thus avoid the ritual tortures the priests of the Dark offer to their God. Stefanos is surprised when he drinks her blood, there is a Light in her that is different from the light his enemies used in the battlefield. Intrigued, he decides not to kill her and to bring her back in his Empire.
Erin is confused by the First Servant of the Dark, he is not like she has imagined him, he appears far too human and he is too polite and too considerate with her. She finds herself drawn to him against her will, but she can’t forget the sacrificed that take place in the church every nights. Yet, to please her, Stefanos forbid them while still refusing to free her.
The rest of the novel show them try to adapt to the situation and attempt to understand each other. Yet, they are both unable to forget their true nature…
My review :
The beginning of this novel is slow, as Stefanos and Erin meet only halfway and that’s why a lot of people give up in the first 140 pages. Yet this slow beginning allow Michelle Sagara the time to lay down the world building and give us time to understand and grow attach to the characters.
The world building is less complex that in Michelle Sagara/Michelle West’s other novels, but it is still well written and interesting. Erin is a healer and like all healers, she hears the suffering of the people around her, it calls to her, she feels them as her own suffering and it is hard for her to ignore them, whether it is on the battlefield, or later in Stefanos’ palace. In the same way, the Servants of the Dark are drawn to the suffering of others, their hurts and their fears, and thrive on them. That’s the reason of the long battle between the Light and the Dark; there is no possibility of peace without the complete destruction of one of the side. In addition, Erin and Stefanos relationship is so interesting because both of them have to struggle against their very nature at each instant and to make sacrifice just by being in the presence of each other. Despite his decision to not kill Erin, Stefanos his drawn to her fear and almost attacked her before coming back to his mind. Even with all the sacrifice they make, they stay true to their nature during all the novel and I really appreciate that, as it’s not something that I often see: it’s too easy to redeem suddenly a bad character or excuse his action and that’s not done here.
Another interesting point is Stefanos’ Empire. More than the Light Servants, he understands the importance of normal humans: he is the first to used them in the battle as they are not sensible to the Light and can only be killed with normal weapons. I also find interesting that the dark priests always complot against Stefanos and try to make him bow to their will because they think that they know best the Dark Heart’s desires. Stefanos is often oblige to kill priests because they make the mistake to forget what Stafanos is, as, contrary to the Lady, he plays a real role in human politics. Therefore, despite all his cruelty and the different ways his mind works, it is easy to mistake him for a human. In addition, he really understands humans and he has thought of elaborate ways to enslave the survivors of the conquered lands without letting them any possibilities of struggles.
This is Michelle first novel and it is her shortest with only 300p. Therefore, some parts of the story may not be as details as her fans are used to. It’s nothing that impairs the understanding or the appreciation of the story but I would have appreciated if she would have spent more time developing the construction of Erin and Stefanos’ relationship. The world building is not as detailed as in her other novels, but we know the essential of their culture, their history and the working of their power. Healers are familiar characters in Michelle’s novels, but Erin is different from Kaylin in The Chronicles of Elantra as she hears the call of people’s suffering. In that, she is more similar to healers in her Sun Sword series.
To conclude, I found this novel to be very interesting for its characters and its interesting take on the eternal struggle between the Light and the Dark. It is the first book in a series of four and I really advise readers not to give up because of the slow beginning as it is what allows us to grow attach to the characters and to better understand them. (less)
Following the events of Cast in Shadow, Kaylin is forced to take magic lessons with a dragon l...moreReview first published at http://fansofmsw.com/
Following the events of Cast in Shadow, Kaylin is forced to take magic lessons with a dragon lord, Sanabilis, and the Barrani High Court having taken an interest in her invites her to their gathering for the Festival. None is thrilled at the idea of Kaylin going, as Barrani are well known for their love of convoluted plots, assassinations and betrayals. Lord Nightshade also “invites” Kaylin to stay in his castle in the meantime, as, because of his status of outcast and her link to him, most Barrani Lords want her dead.
Unfortunately, the High Lord’s youngest son is dying and Kaylin’s friend, Teela, who also happens to be a Barrani Lord, brings her to court to use her healer power to save him. Now that she has made such a powerful ally and that they are magically bound together, she has no choice but to go to the court gathering and face all of their deadly plots and the role her new ally wants her to take in them.
This book was principally about the Barrani and I loved it! They are very fascinating characters and even when they are Kaylin’s allies, one always feels their alieness and the threat they exude. The new characters we discover, the Lord of the West March and the dragon lord Sanabilis, are very interesting and both oblige Kaylin to think about her powers. Sanabilis only makes a brief apparition but I love his relationship with Kaylin. He is more patient and tolerant with her than most and because he doesn’t insist on proper protocol she manages to learn lots of things with him.
Lord Nightshade interacts again with Kaylin and his intentions and motivations are again mysterious and suspicious. He is always a very fascinating character despite his brief apparition in this book. I love the fact that we get to see the epilogue from his point of view even if we are not privy to his thoughts.
Kaylin is now in the spotlight and she hates it, but it was fun to see how she deals with some of Elantra most powerful members (mostly with her usual lack of grace and manners).
The plot is in keeping with the rest of the series: Kaylin uses her power of chosen and healer to face a magical threat menacing the whole Barrani court.
(view spoiler)[ I loved the fact that she ends up as a lord of the High Court. It must have been hilarious to see the face of the Barrani Lords when she survives the test. (hide spoiler)]
This book is the one that made me fall in love with the series.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book starts directly after the end of Cast in Secret. Elantra was threaten by a huge tsuna...moreReview first published at http://fansofmsw.com/
This book starts directly after the end of Cast in Secret. Elantra was threaten by a huge tsunami, the Tha’alani gathered at the harbor and helped Kaylin to control the water. Unfortunately, it’s not what the rest of the city understands happened. They think that it’s the Tha’alani who are responsible for the threat and therefore the city is full of tensions. In order to appease them, the Emperor has ordered his official playwright to come with a play that would present the Tha’alani in a more friendly light and Kaylin and Severn are sent to assist him. At the same time, Marcus, Kaylin’s superior in the Hawks, is arrested for murder. Despite everybody’s warnings, Kaylin of course don’t care about the politics which came into play and wants to help him.
I was a bit disappointed with this book. Cast in Shadow was a nice introduction to the world of Elantra and Cast in Courtlight made me fall in love with the series. Cast in Secret was a nice addition to the series as the relationships between the characters progress, particularly between Kaylin and Nightshade; we also learn about elemental magic and the elemental garden, both being fantastic. Therefore I had great expectations for this book. Unfortunately, they were not met.
Firstly, for a while I feared that we would not see Nightshade at all in this book. It was not the case, as he makes an apparition near the end, but it was too much of a coincidence and so it feels like a plot device created just so that he could make an apparition. Besides, Kaylin behaves as if their last meetings and the evolution in their relationship never happen. There was still great lines exchange between them, but still, I was disappointed.
Secondly I didn’t care for the plot as much as I did for the precedent ones : we have already seen the Tha’alani in the last book, so I wasn’t as much interested with seeing them again play a central part of the plot.
The playwright, Rennick, was an interesting character. It was also nice to learn more about the Leontine, but I would have been interesting with seeing more of their court or their equivalent of it. Here we don’t see a lot apart from Marcus and his pridlea. I also appreciate that we learn more about Kaylin’s past and her relationship with Marcus. We also see more of the dragon court and it’s always a pleasure to read about them; all the dragons are really great characters.
So, for me, while Cast in Fury is a good book, it isn’t really essential for the series and I often skip it when I reread the series. (less)
I first read this book in French and because of the horrible job the translator had done, I found it in...moreReview first published at http://fansofmsw.com/
I first read this book in French and because of the horrible job the translator had done, I found it interesting but extremely confusing and not exceptional (whole passages were suppressed in addition to a lot of adjectives and adverbs all along the book, they apparently found that it was too long …). Yet, some things really intrigued me and I still bought the second book and switched to English from the third one. Her writing style is particular and people will love it or hate it; personally, I loved it.
The world building was really interesting. I loved to learn about all the different races that composed Elantra, their particularities, their customs and their tense relationships. Yet, because we only discover this world through Kaylin’s eyes and because she is not a great learner, the details we know are rather sparse and let us constantly hungry for more. Kaylin’s limited vision is probably what I regret the most about this series.
I liked that the eye colour of all the people (except the humans) change with their mood, I think that it is an interesting details and it certainly helps to better understand and eventually sympathize with people like the Barrani who are always expressionless and aloof.
I really loved the way Michelle Sagara handles her immortals, both in this series and her other ones. They really seem to be another race, different from us in the way they think and feel; it is not just an artefact to render them more interesting like with many other authors whose immortals always seem too human despite all their efforts.
As for the characters, I was often annoyed by Kaylin’s behaviour or opinions as she seems to be too immature despite all she has had to go through. Those who really interested me are the Barrani; they are always intriguing as they are always plotting something or other and we don’t understand their motivations. Among them, Nightshade and Evarim are of course the firsts. Both are extremely dangerous and determine to interfere into Kaylin’s life. (Nightshade’s behaviour and his mysterious motivations are of course the biggest reason I choose to follow this series). The dragons are also interesting but not as much are they will be in the next books.
The plot of this book was a good way to familiarize us with Kaylin and a part of her past. It was a good way to show us the importance she attached to children, the foundling hall and her healing. The mystery was completed by the end and the enemies defeated which allow us to have a satisfying story despite the threads left hanging for other books.
This book was an interesting beginning to the Chronicles of Elantra series, but it is not the best in the series. Michelle Sagara never explained too much what exactly happen and things are often implied. For those reasons, some people may be let confused. While her writing style is not as complicated as in the novels she writes under the name Michelle West, it is certainly something a reader will love or hate, that’s why I would advice new reader to read first the novella Cast in Moonlight which constitute a good introduction to the series.(less)
After the events of the festival in Cast in Courtlight, Kaylin is back to her normal beat in th...moreReview first published at http://fansofmsw.com/
After the events of the festival in Cast in Courtlight, Kaylin is back to her normal beat in the street of Elantra with Severn as her partner. However one of her friend, Evanton, an old shopkeeper and mage, asks her for help: an important and magical artifact is missing from his shop. During her investigation, Kaylin discover that a child is missing. Then, Ybelline, the Tha'alani castlord, also asks Kaylin’s help for looking for another missing child and all the city oracles make prediction of a flood which will soon destroy the city.
During all that, Kaylin pursues her magic lessons with the dragon lord Sanabilis and the infamous candle and she meets another member of the dragon court, the Arkon who is the head librarian of the palace library.
The Arkon is one of my favorite characters in the series. He considers himself and is considered sufficiently old to not have to bother with social niceties and often has a quick and sarcastic temper. It is always hilarious to see the other dragons’ behavior around him.
Evanton was a nice addition and his garden is truly fascinating, as well as the elemental magic. I really like the link between the Tha’alaan and the elemental water.
Kaylin’s investigation of course leads her back to Lord Nightshade who makes her more pronounce advances. I love Kaylin’s reaction when she learnt that someone considers Nightshade as a friend. I also find amusing that Nightshade knows both Donaldan Idis and Grethan. He really knows everyone. It was good that the relationship between Kaylin and Nightshade progresses in this book; Kaylin is more comfortable in Nightshade's presence than in Cast in Shadow and the scene where she splits the milk show that she is strongly affected by his presence.
In this book we see again Kaylin’s pronounced reaction to threatened children which often tends to make her act irrationally and to be blind to what is in front of her; I find that that was a little annoying after a while. Kaylin also learn to know the Tha’alani and to go past her hate and fear of them and it was nice to see her finally growing even if it was only a little. It was interesting to learn more about Elantra’s past and about the Tha’alani as a people and of what made them as they are.(less)
After leaving the fief of Nightshade and before showing up among the Hawks, Kaylin went missing...moreReview first published at http://fansofmsw.com/
After leaving the fief of Nightshade and before showing up among the Hawks, Kaylin went missing for six months. She was in fact in the fief of Barren, serving the fieflord. In Cast in Silence, Kaylin's past comes back haunting her in the form of an old friend transmitting a message from Barren. Since this message has been delivered in front of Severn, Kaylin had not choice but to tell him the truth about her past. Then she is send with Tiamaris to meet first Nightshade who reveal to them that the fief of Barren is highly unstable as it doesn't have a true lord, then to Barren himself to understand what is happening.
In this book we finally understand what abuse Kaylin went through, which is something that has been alluded to in the previous book but that I personally hadn't notice. It certainly explains her self-loathing, the fact that she behaves as if neither Nightshade nor Severn are interested in her and that she totally ignores their various advances.
I love the scene at the beginning of the book where she reveal that she tried to kill the Hawklord and that it amused Teela and Tain :) Teela's behaviour in the tavern was hilarious and I appreciate that we finally see that other aspect of her as Kaylin has been referring to for a while but we had only see her correct Barrani Lord behaviour until now.
As I love the dragons, I was happy that Tiamaris goes with Kaylin this time, even if I was a little disappointed that it means that she doesn't get any discussion alone with Nightshade. It was also great to see again the Arkon; I love every scenes he is in :)
As we only see Nightshade briefly in the last book, I was afraid that the fact that we see him so early in the story meant that we would not see him again. When the group went to the past and that Kaylin recognize a Barrani there, I was thinking “No, it's not possible..." then “Yes!". It was definitely a good surprise. It was interesting to see how Michelle manage to make him appear younger and more carefree; Kaylin unarguably find him more attractive. It's also a major event that put all their precedent interactions under a different light and incite me to reread them (again!). After this book my vision of Nightshade has been considerably altered... Normally I hate time travel because I can't see how it can word and be logical and consistent with the rest of the novel world and I was a bit apprehensive when I saw Michelle used it here (that is, after I recover of my excitement of seeing Nighstahde). Nonetheless, I think that the result is good; it's even impressive that we can reread all the novel and that everything now appear under a different light but that both interpretation seem correct.
As for Severn, he doesn't get any evolution in this book nor in the last one and he only seems to be present in the background, which was a shame even if he isn't one of my favorite characters. Too often I tend to forget that he is present in the scene...
The developments with the fiefs were really interesting; I love Tara's character and the way Kaylin “heals" her. The fact that Tiamaris took the fief was also interesting and promised great evolution for the future of the fief.
I like the fact that the Consort is one of Kaylin's friend, a fact that I didn't really appreciate in Cast in Courtlight as she didn't have a lot of screen time. Kaylin's visit to the High Court was interesting as it shows us the new relationships she has with the High Lord and the Consort. (less)
In this book, the magic in Elani street, the street of the magicians and charlatans, is going w...moreReview first published at http://fansofmsw.com/
In this book, the magic in Elani street, the street of the magicians and charlatans, is going wild and the city is threatened by an invasion from another world; Kaylin and Severn are send to investigate this.
In this book, the relationship between Kaylin, Severn and Nightshade finally progress! Unfortunately, it’s limited to Severn and Nightshade “expressing” their desire/ love for Kaylin and her being uncomfortable about it. Yet it was nice; after all the time I had almost lost all hope… As promise at the end of the last book, we have Nightshade’s reaction to the revelation we get in Silence and we finally learn his motives – or at least part of it, he is Barrani after all. I was rather surprised by part of them (the part about the Regalia) but not disappointed and this revelation promised a change in his behaviour in the future books (though I expected it to come into play before the trip to the West March). It was a pleasant surprise to see him confront Kaylin about her avoiding him and finally kiss her. If Kaylin’s reaction was a little disappointed, it was nonetheless not unexpected considering her past and the trauma she still carries. We also get Severn finally expressing his feeling which was good as I get the impression that if not for the circumstances he would never have done so. Whoever Kaylin end up with (though I obviously hope it will be Nightshade), it is nice that she has to confront their feelings and cannot simply ignore them completely.
In this book we also see again Evanton, his garden and the dragons Lords; I was delighted to see more of the Arkon who is as sarcastic as ever and plays a major role in the story; I always appreciate to see the relationship between the dragon Lords.
The plot in itself was engrossing and well develop; it was in keeping with the rest of the series, as we see Kaylin use her powers of Chosen to save the world. This book seems to be a sort of complement of Cast in Secret, as we come back to the elemental garden and the elements which I always love to see; we also see again the Oracles (I read this in someone else review, I had personally forgotten about them). Several plot threads which will become relevant for Cast in Peril and Sorrow are also put in place in this book, such as the Consort’s anger at Kaylin for ignoring her “advice”, the egg and the troubles with the Exchequer. I think that the Consort’s anger is well done as it reminds us that the Barrani are not human, or that at last they are powerful immortals in love with political plots: despite all the friendliness she has previously shown Kaylin, the Consort still expects her to obey her and is irrationally angry when she fails to do so. We also meet the Norranir and learn that humans come from another world; I think that it was an interesting development.
On the whole, it is a good read essential for the fans of the series.(less)