Review: Cast in Peril
Cast in Peril by Michelle Sagara West
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Cast in Peril starts up right after the ending of Cast in Ruins. Kaylin's life does not take a break. Her lovely roommate is still happily living with her. Bellusdeo is determined to stay with Kaylin. This abruptly ends when Kaylin's home is blown up. Not believing it could get worse, Kaylin is proven wrong. The only bright side is the answer to the egg she's been protecting.
Crime does not cease, the now homeless Kaylin still continues to work on cases. Kaylin and Severn are partnered together again to determine why the humans are disappearing from different fiefs. What they find is startling and casts Nightshade into a negative light. This does not stop the Hawklord from agreeing to pay for the information Nightshade offers in a critical investigation. Unfortunately, the payment is Kaylin's time for at least eight weeks, to travel to the West March.
This is unfortunate as this involves the political and deadly Barrani High court. It's interesting how profound the musings are from Kaylin's mind, yet she is completely unable to navigate this court without pissing off the majority of the High Lords. Although in some senses, it would make sense she causes this kind of trouble since she is almost completely without guile. The Barrani are fascinating because are similar to many versions of the Seelie Sidhe. They are arrogant, plotting to kill each other and they do not speak of how they come to be. In addition, they do not want to ever be in debt to one another, let alone a mortal. For it to be a mortal who owns her own True name and now possesses a magical item mages would kill to own, it is beyond their ability to accept.
More about the Barrani world is revealed and it is not pretty. The back story of some of the secondary characters are forced into the light. It's sad and at times heartbreaking. Is there no happiness in this world? How does Shadow come into existence? What is the end goal? What were the Ancients thinking? The Lords of Law and Lords of Chaos are mentioned. This helps to explain more of non humans Kaylin comes across. Kaylin needs to quickly learn more about every aspect if she is to survive the travel to the West Lands.
The imagery and descriptions used by Ms. Sagara West is amazing. Every scene is clearly visible. She never over describes. She manages to bring her invented locations and creatures into a high definition focus. The colours and scents involved make it into a 3-D type movie for the reader to view in their own mind.
In the previous book, the comparison made of Ms. Sagara West's writing was to an orchestra, featuring the percussion section. In Cast in Peril, it is a fight between the string and brass instruments. The Barrani are the string section holding the line with their melody and entwining harmony. The Shadow and unnamed enemy are the brass section, blasting through with feral magics to overwhelm and absorb the main melody's existence. While it could come across as chaos, this story is a beautiful song comprised of counter melodies which entrance the reader. This reader was enthralled and when the song ended in an unexpected loud note, the silence was jarring. Only longing and yearning remained for the next act. This urban fantasy book is recommended to readers who enjoy intrigue, magic, and above all, ethical choices for the greater good.
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