Book Review: Cast in Wisdom by Michelle Sagara

Posted February 21, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Cast in Wisdom by Michelle Sagara

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cast in Wisdom by Michelle Sagara
Series: The Chronicles of Elantra #15
Genres: Fantasy
Published by MIRA on January 28, 2020
Pages: 544
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also in this series: Cast in Conflict

Also by this author: Cast in Sorrow, Cast in Flame, Cast in Honor, Cast in Flight, Cast in Deception, Cast in Oblivion, The Emperor's Wolves, Sword and Shadow

Fifteenth in The Chronicles of Elantra fantasy series for Young Adult readers and revolving around Lord Private Kaylin Neya. I cannot believe there are 15 already!?

My Take

It’s all about knowledge and responsibility. The latter is definitely one of Kaylin’s concerns, as she feels liable for everything that happens. As for the former, the Arkon is so passionate about knowledge that he wanted to make lies illegal! It does crack me up how absorbed Nightshade gets about the lectures he’s trapped in, lol. And Kaylin learns that, in spite of her disbelief in her “power”, she has effected change.

it is interesting that Killianus reprimands his awakener, that one can’t pick and choose what one wants of knowledge.

Sagara’s whole concept of sentient buildings, Towers, can be scary as well as nurturing. Personally, I’d like my place to be sentient…if it did laundry, cooking, and cleaning…

The eleven of the cohort are too funny. Okay, yeah, it’s sad that they were forced out of the Barrani mainstream, but their squabbling cracks me up. Poor Kaylin, since Sagara is using third person protagonist point-of-view, we only hear the bickering when Kaylin is aware of it…so the poor girl suffers *grin*.

Sagara does keep the tension going in so many ways. I’d love to know which way (how?) Terrano will go. What will the rest of the formerly trapped Barrani do? Will we ever learn what a Chosen is or is for? What’s with that mark Nightshade gave Kaylin?

Kaylin, now she’s a treat. For anyone who enjoys a character who insists on voicing her opinions to the great and powerful as well as anyone else, you’ll love her. The annoying part of her is how hard she works at avoiding learning how to deal with the magic given to her.

Sedarias is very much a leader and her “exile” from the world has made her rather bitter — witness her desire to rub the Barranis’ face in that fact that she got help from a dragon…a dragon!

I do like Tiamaris, Tara, and all the improvements to their fief. It’s such a treat to see a fief that can be kind.

“I don’t know what makes people happy or unhappy. I don’t know why some children can be happy in my garden, and some resent being forced to be here. It is the same activity for both.”

There are some very fascinating bits of back history we learn about Ravellon, dragons, the war between dragon and Barrani, and Helen in that time between her being a dependent building to become independent and the costs. That Sagara keeps dribbling out bits and pieces that keeps me coming back!

“And sometimes, in our attempts to find that happiness, we make mistakes; we confuse want with happiness.”

Ooh, meow!! I love Kaylin’s retort to Mandoran (and Sedarias)!!

“We’re there to enforce the law so that people without the Emperor’s power are safe from people who have attitudes like yours.”

Go, Kaylin!!

I really, really, really do wish that Sagara had included a lot more dialogue tags. Conversations can go on for pages, and I lose track of who is speaking. I hate that. I also have to confess that while her protagonist is young, which would normally indicate the age of Sagara’s targeted reading audience, it doesn’t read that way. I see myself as an intelligent reader…and this series can be a difficult read. I vacillate between being very confused and lost to very intrigued.

Still, The Chronicles of Elantra are a fascinating read with amazing characters with PLENTY of action.

The Story

While on a search in the fiefs for information, Kaylin and friends stumble upon a previously unknown building. One that sucks them in and spits them out. Unless it keeps them trapped in a time loop of scheduled lectures and meals.

The Characters

Lord Private Kaylin Neya is a Hawk, a Chosen, and marked by Nightshade. Helen is Kaylin’s house, a sentient building that requires a lord, a tenant. Hope is Kaylin’s familiar, a tiny dragon who can morph into a MUCH larger one, protects her, and helps her to see magic (Cast in Peril, 8). Kaylin (and Helen) have a number of housemates, including Lord Bellusdeo, the only female dragon alive and a former queen who lost her world (Cast in Ruin, 7); Corporal Teela (Barrani and Hawk), a.k.a., Lord An’Teela; and, the cohort.

The cohort (Cast in Peril) must live with Helen lest they destroy the city. They are Barranis who were “lost” to an experiment and includes Mandoran with his almost human curiosity; Sedarias is their bossy leader — I think she’s become the new head of her house, Lord An’Mellarionne; Terrano, who evolved past his original existence; Allaron; Annarion is Nightshade’s angry brother and his swordwork is the best of the cohort; Valliant; Serralyn; Eddorian; Torrissant; Karian; and Fallessian.

Spike, who is like a portable memory crystal and Records, came from Shadow out of Ravellon.

The Imperial Hawks are…
… one of the three in the Halls of Law, the cops of this world, walking a beat and investigating crime. They are commanded by Lord Grammayre, an Aerian, the Hawklord. Corporal Severn Handred is a Wolf (the black ops side of the law) who was seconded to the Hawks to be Kaylin’s partner. Sergeant Marcus Kassan, a Leontine lion shifter, is in charge of the day-to-day of the Hawks. Corporal Tain is Teela’s usual partner (and a Barrani). Other Hawks include Joey, Clint is an Aerian, and Tanner who is a human.

Missing Persons has a record of missing children, including Robin Perse.

Academia was…
…a great school millennia ago, and the library is its heart. One that the Arkon attended in his youth. Killian, a.k.a., Killianas, (an Ancestor) was its building avatar, its steward, and known by Helen. She says he was meant for people and he vanished when the Towers rose. Larrantin is/was a Barrani scholar on the governing council who disappeared a millennium ago. Aramechtis is the dragon chancellor who left for the war and was replaced, temporarily, by Terramonte. One of the lecturers is Caranthas. There are three Arbiters: Androsse, Kavallac, and Starrante, a Wevaren. The students include Arabella and Taran.

The fiefs are…

… seven criminal neighborhoods around Elantra whose borders are not fixed, the Towers of which are guardian outposts that protect Elantra against the Shadow. Six of these Towers, created by the Ancients, were intended to enclose Ravellon. The beings who rule fiefs are the fieflords who provide the name of the fief itself. Ferals are Shadow dogs that haunt the fiefs, killing anything that moves.

Nightshade was…
…once known as Durandel, and its living heart had been a Barrani Ancestor. Its fieflord is Lord Nightshade formerly known as Calarnenne, an outcast from the Barrani, although the Lady does favor him. He is skilled in the arts Arcane, and he does wield one of the three.

Tiamaris was…
…Barren’s fief sharing a border with Candallar. It is now ruled by a partnership of Lord Tiamaris of the Dragon Court (Cast in Shadow, 1) and Tara, the avatar of its Tower. Both are friends of Kaylin’s. Morse is one of the guards. The eight-foot Maggaron is Bellusdeo’s Ascendant, and he and his people, the Norannir, live here and guard against the Shadows which had destroyed their homeland (Cast in Chaos).

Ravellon is…
…the boogeyman of the fiefs being the home of truly dangerous Shadows with neither Tower nor lord, although there is a dragon there whom they refer to as outcaste. And he wants Bellusdeo. It is the only fief that seems to exist in all worlds.

Candallar is…
…ruled by Lord Candallar, a Barrani outcast mage, who is allowing access to Ravellon. It’s ancient name was Karriamis, a dragon who then became the the heart and mind of the Tower.

Lord Baltrin is Barrani and in partnership with a human Arcanist, a caste lord. Lord Illanen is also Barrani and an Arcanist who seems capable of existing slightly out of phase.

Farlonne is a fief of stone buildings with alert and armed peoples whose Lord is Barrani and of the High Court. Liatt is another fief. Aggarok and Durant are two more of the original names of the fiefs.

The Barrani are…

…a powerful, immortal race who believe themselves superior to all. The Lady is Consort to the Lord of the High Halls and mother to the Barrani. Ynpharion is a Barrani angrily beholden to Kaylin (Cast in Sorrow, 9). The West March is a Barrani territory.

The Hallionne were created by the Ancients and are entirely independent, serving as way stations, mostly for the Barrani. Alsanis is the Hallionne in the West March that had held the cohort prisoner and was betrayed.

The Dragons…

…rule Elantra, a city/state. Rather, the Emperor rules. Lord Diarmatt gives Kaylin lessons in manners. Lord Sanabalis is an Imperial mage and is supposed to teach her magic. Lord Emmerian.

The Arkon hoards the Imperial Library, a.k.a., the Arkon’s Library. His dragon name is actually Lannagaros of the Flights, and he had known Bellusdeo in her youth.

Margot is a fake seer based on Kaylin’s Hawk beat on Elani Street, and a person whom Kaylin dislikes. Marrin is a Leontine who runs an orphanage in Elantra. Arcanists are mages who work independently of the Dragon Emperor; the Arcanum is their school. The Ancestors? Ancients? created everything and everybody.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a collage of events with Kaylin at its center. Dressed in her black leather vest and pants with a golden aura surrounding her, the golden bracer on her left forearm, Kaylin, her long hair swirling as she turns, looks behind her and below. On the left is a golden scene of towers and buildings with a crescent moon framed in a vaulted arch that leads from a dark library high with shelves and shelves of books. At the top is an info blurb in white with the author’s name below that, also in white. The series info is just below Kaylin’s bracer with the title below that, both in white. A testimonial is at the very bottom in a pale yellow.

The title is about knowledge, Cast in Wisdom.

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