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Cast in Shadow (Chronicles of Elantra #1)
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Cast in Shadow (Chronicles of Elantra #1)

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  14,051 Ratings  ·  855 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 wing
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Paperback, 409 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Luna Books (first published July 1st 2005)
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Anna Wick A little taste of it in book 6, but thankfully not full blown. It's so not about romance.

Community Reviews

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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
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✘✘ 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
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
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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
Justine
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really, really liked this book. I know that it didn't really work for a couple of my Goodreads friends whose opinion I trust, but for me, it was a fabulous start to a series.

Sagara has an economical style to her writing, which worked very well with the way the story was layered. World building and character histories are revealed through the current events of the story, which gave it a feeling of happening more in the moment.

Based on this first book I am expecting this to be a very strong seri
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Tamora Pierce
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, adult
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?
Angie
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-uns
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
Brittneigh
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, stupid
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
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Denisa
I smell potential!


When I saw this book has over 500 pages, I was sure I'd be really bored and it'll probably go in the DNF pile. But after I started reading it, I couldn't put it down! I finished it in a day and a half and couldn't wait to start the next one.

This book is more HF than UF. Ok, ok, fine, I can't find the "urban" at all, so why do people say it's an UF.?!
True, if I think of it as HF, then it probably doesn't deserve 4 stars, so yeah, let's just leave it at this...


HF, as in high f
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Angela
Full disclosure: I only made it through 48% of this book.

ETA: Anyone that wants to spoil me on all things Lord Nightshade, please do - I'm so incredibly curious about him, but I just can't force myself through anymore of the book in order to get such small moments/knowledge of him.

ETA2: Or if there's a book that I should pick up later in the series where things start to become more smoothly written and I can skip the first-(several)-book(s)-syndrome....

I've been looking forward to diving into th
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Maria Dimitrova
This is the way to get people hooked to a series from the very beginning! Incredible and complex world + strong but relatable main character = great series. Add humour, lively banter and myriad of interesting support characters to spice up things and you get the first instalment of the Chronicle of Elantra.

This isn't your typical fantasy world. I'm not sure how to classify this: it has some elements of urban fantasy but at the same time it's too close to epic fantasy. Forget the usual suspects
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Debbie
Nov 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, romance
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
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Kaylin
Jun 26, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Like 75% of the reason I added this to my TBR is because the MC's name is Kaylin.
Allison
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
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Alisi ☆ wants to read too many 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
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Lindsay
I'm a sucker for stories where the protagonist has been unfairly coerced into something and has to make the best of it, but even that bias on my part doesn't save the muddle of this book.

Kaylin is a Hawk, essentially a policeman, in the City of Elantra. She was an orphan in Nightshade, one of the worst areas of the huge city, but escaped her life there in a blur of violence and murder that saw her the only survivor out of dozens of dead children, all marked with the same strange writing that she
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Emily
Jan 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tamara
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Kira
This book managed to say so much and yet so little. The conversations and the descriptions rambled on and on and on. Everyone was evasive. Kaylin’s friends and team members withheld vital information from her. With friends like those who needs enemies. The worst part was people didn’t even try to be sly about keeping info from her; they’d flat out tell her they wouldn’t reveal anything. It took so long to get to the point that by the time something would finally be explained, I no longer cared. ...more
Lana Del Slay
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
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."

The
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Kelly


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
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Gardavson
Nov 09, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paranormal, crap
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
Meigan
Counts towards the Cliterary Genius 2017 June part of the challenge: read a book suggested by another member of CG.
Ithlilian
Jan 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Janice (Janicu)
Jun 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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Carrie Felton
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Cathy (cathepsut)
I have been pushing this book around for three weeks and only managed to will myself through 50 pages. I just feel confused and overloaded with information and can't keep the characters straight. I am sure there is a good story in there trying to get out, but it's taking too long for me to take an interest.
Kerry
Oct 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 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)
  • The Cipher (Crosspointe Chronicles, #1)
  • Harvest Moon (Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, #5.5; Chronicles of Elantra, #0.5)
  • Wolf Who Rules (Elfhome, #2)
  • Star of the Morning (Nine Kingdoms, #1)
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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
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More about Michelle Sagara...

Other Books in the Series

Chronicles of Elantra (1 - 10 of 15 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)
“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.”
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“The gods where like the weather; sometimes good, sometimes bad, and either way, always beyond her.” 30 likes
More quotes…