Review: 131. Cast in Sorrow by Michelle Sagara…

I couldn’t wait for Cast in Sorrow to download to my Nook so I could inhale it. And I did. Inhale it, I mean. Twice.

cast in sorrowdrey’s thoughts:

Cast in Sorrow picks up right where Cast in Peril ends, with Kaylin et al (finally) arriving at the West March. She’s so ready for this Barrani field trip to be o.v.e.r. but what Kaylin wants is irrelevant. Because as soon as they get there, she’s faced with a sickened Consort, a closed Hallione, guardian eagles who can talk to her small-dragon-slash-familiar-slash-“pet”, a(nother) Barrani Lord mad at her, and another assassination attempt.

Poor Kaylin. And that’s before she learns of Teela’s history, the lost children, and what’s expected of her role as harmoniste in this Barrani recitation she’s been tagged to participate in. I think she’d rather have stayed in Elantra dealing with magic and etiquette lessons with the Dragons…

There is a huge amount of character growth and character history between the pages of Cast in Sorrow, and not just Kaylin’s – but Teela’s, Severn’s, and even Nightshade’s too. Love them or hate them (there’s more of the former than the latter here), you’ll see more dimensions to the aloof and haughty Barrani than before (not that they’ll thank you for pointing that out). There’s also a lot of action and interaction, and nice plot resolution.

I love Michelle Sagara’s story-weaving; the world she builds is so layered and multi-dimentional that even nine books in you’re learning something new. Kaylin is still impulsive (though better-behaved in Court), and I love her reactions to new situations and her ability to be completely herself even when she has no clue what’s going on. Her internal compass is always at good-hearted, regardless of past regrets or current uncertainties. She’s strong and as completely true to herself as she can be. I cannot wait to see where we go from here.

If you’re a fan of fantasy with beautifully-drawn characters and detailed world-building, you’ll want to read Michelle Sagara’s Chronicles of Elantra series. Start with Cast in Shadow and meet Kaylin Neya of the Imperial Hawks; come back and share how much you love her, too. 🙂

drey’s rating: Outstanding!

Title: Cast in Sorrow (Chronicles of Elantra #9)
Author: Michelle Sagara
ISBN-13: 9780373803569
eBook: 334 pages
Publisher: Harlequin, 2013
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Purchased

Have you read Cast in Sorrow? What did you think?


  1. I’m not sure what book you were reading because the book I just read had little to nothing to do with Kaylin, had no real Severn in it and Nightshade was nothing more than a cryptic jerk off. I love the Elantra series and I’ve had the book pre-ordered ever since the pre-order came available and I was so disappointed I could barely fall asleep after I stayed up all night to finish it. The thing I love most about Sagara’s writing is the way she blends the earthy reality of a city with multiple species with the magical fantasy element. These last two books have veered way off course by diving into incomprehensible magic and losing the character driven plot lines. Teela is the only one who had any significant character development and even that was mostly at the end of the book. Everyone who actually knew what needed to be done stone walled Kaylin all book. This book could have been half the legnth if people who knew what was going on actually told her so she could figure out what to do. The thing that makes the immortals tolerable in the other books is that they are clueless as to what is going on. They give Kaylin as much information as they can but she has to figure out on her own what the solution is. This book was head bangingly frustrating because EVERYONE knew what was happening and what they wanted her to do but they were all to Barrani to share that information with her. I am fervently praying that Sagara breaks character and puts a time elapse that bring Kaylin back to the city because I am O.V.E.R. the Barrani in these books.

    1. Well, I guess technically it’s more character history for Severn, Teela, and Nightshade – the whole what-happened-in-the-West-March previously definitely stayed in the West March, until now. I actually liked the magic – it’s part of Kaylin’s abilities, and I was happy to see just that (even if it’s little) bit of a foretaste of what I hope is coming in the next books. I mean, we know she has the marks, we know they’re magical, and maybe now we’re going to find out why she has them, where they came from, and what she can actually DO with them…

      I agree with the stonewalling, but it’s the Barrani. They’re not ever helpful, and especially not when it’s related to a not-so-glorious-chapter of their past. So while it’s frustrating, it’s totally in character. And the “everyone knew what was happening”? I didn’t get that. They certainly suspected, then knew, who was most likely behind the occurrences (omg, I’m starting to sound like them!) – but the what? I doubt that. And the how-to-fix-it? Definitely not. Or they’d have taken charge, because it’d be losing face to let a puny human put them in her debt. Again. Not to mention, they would’ve already tried, which Teela did, once, and failed. So how would she know what Kaylin should attempt, when her abilities and Kaylin’s are so disparate?

      I’m sorry you didn’t like the book – I know I haven’t loved every single one of them, but I did this one. Still, I hope you’ll be reading the next one “with” me? 🙂

      1. ::spoilers of previous books in the series::

        Of course I’ll still read the next one. This series is one of my favorites. I’ve just been really disappointed with these two Barrani books. I’ll try to clarify what I meant. When writing epic fantasy there are many different ways to present the dilemma that the protagonist resolves. One of the things I most enjoy about Sagara’s writing is that in the case of her protagonist she presents a solution that the protagonist MUST resolve in her own way because of the singular nature of Kaylin’s magic. No one else would have the ability to save The Lord of the Green like she did because she is a midwife and the Chosen. Similarly the solutions to the birth of Bellusdeo and the Devourer were discovered by her through the unique perception and singular magic. That is consistant with this book. However, the immortals in the other novels did what they could to aid Kaylin in her search for an answer. In this book the Barrani do everything they can to hide information and stop Kaylin from doing what is necessary. Even Teela doesn’t give her the full story until there is literally no other choice. Call it Barrani pride and say it’s in character and that is true but it also makes for irritating frustrating reading. There was no relief from it either. No Severn or Marcus or Ybelline to give some sort of relief from the unrelenting none information and condescending behavior of the Barrani. At least in the previous book we had the Hallione to provide some mimimal relief from the tedious superiority that the Barrani continue to dish out on her. At this point I now feel that their behavior is out of character because the Barrani recognize power and to date Kaylin has: Survived the mark of a high lord of the Barrani, defeated the world’s only Outcastes dragon in single combat, saved both the Barrani and the Dragons from eventual extinction, coaxed an untamed element to reside peacefully in captivity and saved the lives of every member of the royal family of the Barrani. One of them very publicly. She has not only survived the test of name in the high halls she has also survived the testing of the towers and visibly has the approval of the Hallione and the element of Fire. Nightshade, Teela and The Lord of the West March are the only ones who treat her as though she were a power. It’s literally become stupid of them not to acknowledge the threat she is. Of course, with the Barrani, that acknowledgement would probably take the form of assassination attempts but it would still make more character sense than this ignorant “oh she is just a human beast” attitude that they all still sport in this book.

        1. I get what you mean, had to laugh at “tedious superiority”, and while I agree re: everything Kaylin’s done that should put to rest the “human beast” attitude, they’re still Barrani. Lord of the West March, Teela, Nightshade, and (dare I say it) the Consort notwithstanding, they just cannot believe that a mere human has accomplished it all – so she must’ve not… It’s not logical, but when are people (even fictional ones) always logical? You don’t even have to look far – take a look at the cultures in our world today that still believe that men are superior to women in all ways. Never mind what we’ve accomplished, we’re still meant to be barefoot and pregnant, don’t need to be educated, etc.

          The Barrani recognize and respect power, yes. But not when they don’t believe you actually have the power you’re rumored to have. And most of the Barrani in the West March don’t know much about Kaylin, other than what they might’ve heard. I’m wondering how those who’ve seen her in action yet still belittle her (*cough* Evarrim *cough*) treat Kaylin from here on out, ykwim?

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