Friday, August 13, 2010

Cast in Awe

CAST IN CHAOS
Chronicles of Elantra Book 6
By Michelle Sagara
Buy it


Kaylin Neya is a Hawk, part of the elite force tasked with keeping the City of Elantra safe. Her past is dark, her magic uncontrolled and her allies unpredictable. And nothing has prepared her for what is coming, when the charlatans on Elani Street suddenly grow powerful, the Oracles are thrown into an uproar and the skies rain blood….
The powerful of Elantra believe that the mysterious markings on Kaylin's skin hold the answer, and they are not averse to using her—how ever they have to—in order to discover what it is.

Something is coming, breaking through the barriers between the worlds. But is it a threat that Kaylin needs to defend her city against—or has she been chosen for another reason entirely?

I adore Michelle Sagara.
 
It's true, I do adore her. And I am in awe of how deep her creativity is. There is not one book of hers that I have read and thought 'oh, that's just like [insert author/book]'. For me, with Michelle, it just it doesn't happen, and while I certainly haven't read everything out there - and tend to avoid those deemed 'classics' in the genre - I have read a lot.
 
Michelle is one of those writers whose work makes me stop all of my own work so I can just immerse myself in story and wallow!
 
Why do I like it so much? Agh! It is actually hard for me to pin point.
 
I admire writers who have a masterful grasp of worldbuilding (and you will hear me go on and on about this in future reviews), so yep, she ticks that box.
 
I have to be interested by the character(s) and, to a degree, empathise with them (if I am truly going to rave about a book), and she has always managed to do that.
 
And mostly I have to be believe the words a writer writes. Terry Dowling calls this 'Voice of Truth' and when you've got it, you've got it. Michelle has it. Her writing is evocative and powerful, machiavelian and heartfelt.
 
But to talk about 'Cast in Chaos'... where to begin without offering any spoilers? 
 
There aren't any big battles in this book. Personally I don't care, I am not one for battle scenes so the lack of them doesn't make me think twice. But that doesn't mean that this is a slow book (for battle scenes - despite popular opinion do not make a story travel faster [unless you skim read them]). The story is packed with menace and sense of urgency, as well as humour and humanity, and it places another piece of the story arc firmly into place - heading us towards a confrontation with the Shadows.
 
There is more talking in this book. But I like the 'talking'. And Kaylin is maturing before our eyes. When we began Book One, Kaylin was very frustrating and always opening her mouth to speak the first words that popped into her head. By Book Six you actually notice that she is biting her tongue alot to stop from putting her foot in her mouth. The character has grown before our eyes and it's so gradually done that you while you notice it has happened you can't say exactly where this bit of 'growing up' has occured. And what more can you ask of any book but that it takes you on a journey with the characters, especially a character who is dynamically changed by the experiences that you experience with her.

Cast In Chaos is a brilliant tale of redemption and forgiveness, unexpectedly deep discusions and humourous interludes. It explores the nature of language and its limitations and human blindness as well as generosity. It is an awesome piece of entertainment with characters you will come to love, who you will cheer for and cry for, rage at and laugh with (and at). It is a story of human flaws, and heroism despite itself.
 
My only criticism is that the books are too short. And I don't just say that because I want to read more - and boy do I ever! - but because although Michelle crafts each story to stand alone, they all tie in together within a larger story arc, and that arc is epic. Steven Erikson epic. And I have to have more.
 
I have to!
 
   

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