Cast in Secret by Michelle Sagara

7 Aug

Favorite Lines: “Stop despising and hating yourself, Kaylin. We’re not what we were.We’re not what we will be. Everyone changes. Everyone can change. Let it go.” (100)

Kaylin Neya is sent to a magic shop after a theft is reported. She is taken to a magical garden where she is told to not look, touch or listen to anything. As she’s taking in her environment, she sees a girl in the small pool of water and hears the girl call her name.

During the course of her investigation she is asked to help find a missing Tha’alani girl. Her search leads her to Lord Nightshade and eventually to the Oracles where she begins to learn that she has a role to play in the future. A role that has something to do with a threat is looming over the Kingdom of Elantra.

Kalin is still being taught by the Dragon Lord Sanabalis and Severn is still very much a part of her life. Just as things seem to be settling down a new change pops up and draws Kalin in. This book emphasizes the need for Kalin to come to terms with magic. She must learn that to hate magic is to hate herself.

Lord Nightshade is still patiently waiting for Kalin. I think he wants a relationship with her. I don’t know why, but he wants something from her and it might not be the relationship I hope he wants.

Kalin begins to learn about the Dragons in this book. Nothing in depth, but hoards are brought up and a little bit about dragon history. The emperor’s interest in her is also brought up making me wonder how much longer Kalin will be able to avoid meeting him. She is warned that it won’t be long and that she better step up her etiquette because the Dragon king won’t put up with her.

The Tha’alani are the main race that this book deals with. We learn their origins and history. We learn about their innocence and how they were preyed upon. They have the ability to delve into the minds of people and discover if they are telling the truth or not. They are feared by most and one of their most vocal opponents was Kalin. They have a hive like mentality and are able to maintain contact with each other even over long distances.

Kalin’s powers are growing. She takes something from the royal library that makes her unable to enter Lord Nightshade’s castle through the front door. She is forced to enter another way and through the trials she is forced to endure learns about the history of the Tha’alani and the different elements.

This is another keeper on my shelf. Sagara’s website says she has been contracted for two more books in the series and they’re not expected out until 2008/2009. I’ll have to content myself with rereading the first three books and looking for more in them. I have a feeling that if I really dissect the Cast series, I’ll find something new every time. Now I want to read more from Sagara. I’m a little afraid because her other books are written under the name Michelle Sagara West and I read it’s because the style is different. I’m not sure how true that is, but I’m willing to take the chance.


12 Responses to “Cast in Secret by Michelle Sagara”

  1. LesleyW August 7, 2007 at 3:53 pm #

    Well you’ve definitely made me want to find my copy of the first book. 🙂

  2. scooper August 7, 2007 at 9:14 pm #

    Lesley- I def. recommend it.

  3. Ikhnaie May 12, 2008 at 8:29 pm #

    Michelle’s other books are awesome. They’re better, in my opinion, but in a different way. The writing style is not different, and I think it’s better writing (not that I think anything she does is bad). I’ve read the first three of the Sun Sword series six times, the fourth five times, the fifth three times and the sixth twice. I’m just about to start on the prequel series ‘Hunter’s Oath’ and ‘Hunter’s Death’ again. Be forewarned, the font used in these books is about half the size of the font in the Cast series, and the average length of the Sun Sword books is about 800 pages. The Sun Sword is written under Michelle West, and her first books (The Books of the Sundered, which have just been re-released!) are under Michelle Sagara West.

    You said, ‘I have a feeling that if I really dissect the Cast series, I’ll find something new every time’. This is true of all of her writing. Rereading the Sun Sword series, I always find at least two things in every book and go OH MY GOD she was planning that all the way back here????!!!! (Like in the first of the Cast books when Kaylin is in the seal in Nightshade’s castle and it says ‘the man spoke a name, and although she had never heard it before, it was hers.’ And then, in the second novel, she gets a true name that no mortal should be able to bear! Squeee!

    So, all in all, all of her books are worth reading. And, she’s also just come out with another prequel to the Sun Sword series, which is going to begin its own series as well!

    Sorry for so much squeeage.

  4. scooper May 12, 2008 at 9:06 pm #

    Ikhnaie- You’re welcome to squee here anytime. I started the Children of the Blood series but I don’t like it the way I like the Cast series. I’ve never read the Sun Sword series.

    I think you’ve found a good thing; you’ve sure read them a lot. I’ll have to look into them. How different are they from the Cast series?

    I’m just dying for the next book in the Cast series. They pushed it back to October, I think, from September. I’ll be doing the major squeeing then. 😉

  5. Ikhnaie May 17, 2008 at 9:54 pm #

    I didn’t like the Children of the Blood series as much either, but I first discovered her when I was twelve and she’s been my favourite fantasy author ever since.

    The Sun Sword books are quite similar in their underlying structure and emotion, but they are very different in terms of plot. They’re a huge epic with over ten main characters; it’s impossible to name just one or two protagonists. And the characters are sooo interesting. They all have really complex paths that interweave, and that Michelle reveals oh-so-slowly, but at just the right speed. One little sentence can change your whole perception of something make you go ‘that’s so cool!’ Her ability to do that without detracting from the coherence of the story is the main reason she’s my favourite author.

    The books follow many different story lines that meet up in the end, and her ability in create different worlds is so good, especially when she creates places like Castle Nightshade or the High Court that aren’t real places at all. There’s a lot more of them in the Sun Sword series. Hunter’s Oath and Hunter’s Death aren’t necessary to understand what’s going on — I read them second — but in a way they’re more like the Cast series.

    So long as you don’t mind epically long books that you don’t want to put down and can read again and again, you can’t go wrong with the Sun Sword series. Just go look at the first chapter. Her narrative and imagery are captivating.

    And we have to wait another month? Damn!!!! I guess it’ll just give me longer to force my boyfriend to read them!

  6. scooper May 18, 2008 at 12:21 pm #

    Ikhnaie- You are describing one of the best traits of a good author. That ability to lead us without giving anything away and make us need to follow them. I love it. It’s that writing that I found in the cast series and I really hadn’t thought about it until you mentioned it.

    You make a great argument in favor of me reading that series. I’m really gonna pick up one and see how it goes.

    I was a little ticked about waiting. I’ve been waiting almost a year!!! Oh well, I’m gonna reread the series too. *grin*

  7. Ikhnaie May 21, 2008 at 11:36 am #

    Awesome! I have so much trouble getting people to appreciate her writing! The Sun Sword books always came out later than she expected, so that’s why I’ve read them so many times. I expect I’ll be reading the Cast series over and over again too!

    I stopped reading other Fantasy and Science Fiction novels quite some time ago, because the writing just wasn’t as good. Have you got any suggestions for similar writers I might enjoy? It’s just too risky to go to a bookstore and pick something off the shelf.

    I’m glad I explained that in a way that made sense — most people just look at me weirdly. (That’s probably because they haven’t experience the joy of Michelle Sagara West 😉 .) Let me know what you think about the Sun Sword books! I never get to talk about them with other people who’ve read them!

  8. scooper May 21, 2008 at 11:26 pm #

    Ikhnaie- LOL That is too funny. The next several
    books I read after the Cast series were horrible to me. I think she raised my expectations and made reading mediocre books a thing of the past. I don’t know if I should thank her or hate her for it. Books that I was okay with in the past started to irritate me and I took a break from reviewing books for a minute.

    It does save me a ton of money…

    I’ve never been into the epic fantasies so there are a ton of authors I’ve never met. I mainly read urban fantasies. I’ve got a thing for the paranormal.

    I really don’t know of any other authors. How about I pose that question in a post and we see what people suggest? Let me know what you think. If you give me a green light I’ll do it this week.

  9. Ikhnaie May 29, 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    That sounds good; sorry I took so long to respond, I’ve been graduating with all the hassle that entails. I’d love to hear what other people have to say!

  10. Derriad June 2, 2008 at 11:22 am #

    Hey, are you a member of Michelle’s Yahoo group? We’ve been having a discussion there that I started regarding whether Kaylin might be a Dragon/Barrani/Old One/something completely new.

    PS, it’s Ikhnaie. I got a wordpress blog!

  11. scooper June 3, 2008 at 7:36 pm #

    Ikhnaie/Derriad- Hey congrats! I’m not a member of any group like that. You’ll have to come back and give me the consensus. 🙂 So what’s your blog?

  12. Derriad June 5, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    Haha, it’s a nice pretentious academic thing that I’m going to be using as something I can put on grad school applications so that they can go look at it and see how smart/intellectual/philosophising! that I am.

    The group’s pretty good, not much really goes on there, but some interesting ideas do come up. Michelle also posts there from time to time; there’s much more about the other series there than the Cast Series.

    Damn I want Cast in Fury!!!!

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