Review: Cast in Flame
Cast in Flame by Michelle Sagara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dragons, magic, warriors and psychopaths in a complicated world of intrigue and politics - welcome to the world of Ms. Sagara. This series is phenomenal. Ms. Sagara is hands down one of the best writers of our time. The world she creates is intricate. Every single book builds upon the previous. Her books must be read in order and usually best one right after another. If too much time goes by between reading of the books, it may be a bit hard for a reader to catch back up to speed. In Cast of Flame, Kaylin once again finds herself in the middle of trouble. Between Teela's childhood friends, a dragon queen roommate and an angry dragon king, which one will end Kaylin first?
The children who returned with Kaylin from the West March, what have they become? What is it about them which disturbs the Ancients as well as the Devourer? How are they awakening the avatar of buildings? More buildings are answering their calls and it may not be a good thing. This is because one of them is Castle Nightshade and it no longer wants to listen to Nightshade. While Kaylin is trying to help Teela's friends adjust to life in the outside world, she's also trying to find a new home. Feeling uncomfortable in the Dragon Palace, she tries to find a new place of her own. Unfortunately, Kaylin will have a roommate who requires a level of security and higher creature comforts she cannot afford. Luckily for Kaylin, there is an old house which may adjust to her needs.
Whilst this series moves very slowly with new information stingily revealed in each book, the details provided is robust and colourful. The reader learns more about the dragon queen and how she's survived in her host world. Returning back to her home world with refugees is harder than she thought. They are displaced and try to integrating into a different society than she left; many disagreements occurs. The title of this book references flame when it should really focus on negotiation. Kaylin is constantly pulled between all her different relationship connections to smooth over a misunderstanding. She spends so much time helping others, she is worn out. What is also distressing is how Kaylin handles all the troubles. She continues to run in head first without thought. She is all instinct and no planning. She also runs on fumes as she isn't rested and makes poor choices. She barely survives each new conflict.
What is frustrating about this series is the new players who are a variation of the same theme. It feels as if we have no resolution. What is the end game? Are we trying to find the God in this world and how all the creatures afterwards were created? Are we going to finally understand what the Chosen is supposed to do? Will these threads finally come together into a breathtaking tapestry, presenting a clear portrait of this complex world? More importantly, who will Kaylin finally succumb to for a lover? Will she be owned by Nightshade - body, mind and soul?
I do wonder how much longer this series will continue. I also wish for Nightshade to become once again more forceful, possessive and showing off his "ownership" of Kaylin. Nightshade is more of a tiger with all his fangs pulled out and his claws removed. The pussycat Nightshade of this book is no match for the earlier intimidating one. The bit of fear Nightshade used to elicits from Kaylin added a lovely undercurrent of sexual tension which is now sadly missing. Still, I am thoroughly addicted to this series and Ms. Sagara's writing style. I can't wait for the next book. Recommended for high fantasy readers who enjoy high drama.
*provided by NetGalley
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