Usually disaster doesn’t strike quite so close to home…
It has been a busy few weeks for Private Kaylin Neya. In between angling for a promotion, sharing her room with the last living female Dragon and dealing with more refugees than anyone knew what to do with, the unusual egg she’d been given began to hatch. Actually, that turned out to be lucky, because it absorbed the energy from the bomb that went off in her quarters…
So now might be the perfect time to leave Elantra and journey to the West March with the Barrani. If not for the disappearances of citizens in the fief of Tiamaris – disappearances traced to the very Barrani Kaylin is about to be traveling with…
This blurb came from the author’s website here.
Cast in Peril is the 8th novel in Sagara’s Chronicles of Elantra series. I reviewed the 7th, Cast in Ruin last year. If you would like to read that review please click on the title. It will open in a new page. I cannot write this review without spoilers for previous books. As I said in that review I am a huge fan of this series. When I saw on twitter that this was up for pre-order, I started haunting Netgally to see if I could find a review copy. Happily it was available. Cast in Peril picked up shortly after the events finished in the previous book. Elantra appears to be settling back down again and people are resuming some of their previous activities. Kaylin has her dragon roommate and the mysterious egg that she continues to try to keep warm and properly rotated. The investigation into the embezzlement that started in Cast in Chaos, book 6, is also continuing, but the more the Hawks dig into that problem the more complicated it becomes. Kaylin is also trying to show up to work on time and survive her magic and etiquette classes from members of the Dragon Court. In the midst of all her daily life, an arcane bomb was thrown into Kaylin’s apartment. She and Bellusdeo survived only because of the mysterious egg, which hatches and proves to contain a creature that has only been heard of in stories. In an attempt to distract Kaylin from the investigation surrounding her apartment she is given a Missing Person’s report. This was a boy who crossed the bridge into the fief of Tiamaris and never returns. During the course of her investigation Kaylin discovers that his disappearance was only one of many. With the help of Tiamaris’ tower she is able to interrupt one of those disappearances across the border with Nightshade only the border wasn’t quite normal. She also discovers the magical signature in the process that was the same as one of the signatures on the bomb that destroyed her apartment. Kaylin confronts Nightshade and finds out that he had been selling some of his people to this individual for reasons that he won’t say. With all of this rolling around in Kaylin’s head she sets off on a ritual journey with the Barrani.
The paragraph above basically sets the stage for this journey which is actually the meat of the story. As you can see Sagara packed a lot into Cast in Peril. Even though a lot of significant events occurred, the world building wasn’t ignored. I learned a lot more about the Barrani as a whole and as individuals, about Severn, about the Ancients and about the peril that is attacking every aspect of Elantra. I think some of my favorite moments were when Kaylin was able to get Teela, The Consort and even a couple of the Lords to open up one way or another. Kaylin also learned more about what she was capable of doing not for power, but to stop something that was wrong. Unfortunately with each new reveal others who aren’t quite as pure see her growing power as a threat. Some of that earns Kaylin protectors and some makes her enemies more determined.
Several of my favorite characters had some significant time in this novel. Kaylin is growing up some; still innocent and with her blinders on, but trying really hard to take other people and their cultures into account. Severn is still steadfast and remaining a constant support to Kaylin, even in her most neurotic fears. The scene when they initially shared a room was really touching and also pointed out just how far Kaylin still has to go before she is ready for a relationship. Lord Nightshade and Lord Andellen also showed some interesting aspects of their characters. Lord Nightshade has been steadily teaching Kaylin to use her power in the Barrani method and she finally starts overtly using her strength of will against him. Even though he is teaching her I think he regrets the necessity because the more she learns the less she trusts him. As I mentioned earlier Teela and The Consort were also involved, and provided their unique perspectives during their interactions with Kaylin and the others. While I missed some of the other characters I have come to enjoy I did really like this deeper look into the Barrani.
Another thing that I admire about Sagara’s writing in this series is that she is able to have a large amount of plot growth and activity without making it seem crammed or rushed. Yet when I finish reading, I feel like I need to take several deep breaths and slow my heart down because of the intensity. Cast in Peril did have some surprises for me beyond what actually happened. While I knew the journey wasn’t going to be exactly quiet and boring, I wasn’t expecting the sheer magnitude of what did happen. After all of the excitement on the journey I know the ritual is going to be something else. The other thing that surprised me was the inclusion of a certain Lord Nightshade. For some reason I thought he was limited in how far he could go and how long he could stay away from his fief. I think it will be interesting to see if there are any affects that show up in later books.
I enjoyed reading this installment and I can’t wait for the next one. Sagara has again provided me with hours of very vivid entertainment. Her world continues to grow and captivate me as do her characters. Things are certainly getting exciting with Elantra and those people who are around Kaylin as their world keeps changing. I also like the changes between Kaylin, Lord Nightshade and Severn and how this is but isn’t a love triangle because of Kaylin’s past.
I give Cast in Peril an A-
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