Cast in Sorrow
THE END OF HER JOURNEY IS ONLY THE BEGINNING... The Barrani would be happy to see her die. So Kaylin Neya is a bit surprised by her safe arrival in the West March. Especially when enemies new and old surround her and those she would call friends are equally dangerous...
And then the real trouble starts. Kaylin's assignment is to be a "harmoniste"-one who helps tell the truth behind a Barrani Recitation. But in a land where words are more effective than weapons, Kaylin's duties are deadly. With the wrong phrase she could tear a people further asunder. And with the right ones...well, then she might be able to heal a blight on a race.
If only she understood the story...
In addition to being ninth in the Chronicles of Elantra series, CAST IN SORROW also forms a tiny duology with its immediate predecessor. CAST IN PERIL brought Kaylin and her companions deep into the wilds of the West March and CAST IN SORROW is entirely concerned with what they find there. And though both books share the characteristic inscrutable magic, cataclysmic events, and fraught relationships, I enjoyed CAST IN PERIL's quip-filled build up much more than CAST IN SORROW's disorienting magical resolution.
Rereading my review of CAST IN PERIL, I find it no surprise that my rating dropped from 4 bats to 3 across these books. If the first part of this journey focused on the characters, their friendships and attractions and histories, this second part is almost entirely focused on the magic. While there are juicy hints regarding several character's pasts, their present is almost entirely obscured under a blanket of symbolism, portent, and inscrutable mysticism. Sagara's system of runes and naming is difficult to follow at the best of times, and CAST IN SORROW is driven by little else. As a consequence, I found myself only loosely connected to the story, waiting for those moments when the actual consequences of all this magic became clear... and those moments were few and far between. Even worse, I had to wait until almost the last chapter for a taste of those heartfelt, character-to-character moments that I adore.
For those who love Sagara's dreamy writing and High Fantasy flair, CAST IN SORROW will make for a hearty meal of dynastic portent, immortal psyche, and magic gone wrong. For those who prefer her character interactions and more Urban Fantasy-esque grit and immediacy, this book offers little by way of either quips or consequences. After drifting through chapter after chapter of magic, CAST IN SORROW brought me back down to earth with the last few chapters. And while most of this book was a forgettable tangle of magical theory, I'll still be looking for where life takes Kaylin Neya next.
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