Monday, September 6, 2010

Review - Cast in Chaos (Chronicles of Elantra, Book 6) by Michelle Sagara (3/5 stars)

This is the 6th book in the Chronicles of Elantra series.  The 7th book Cast in Ruins is due out in 2011 and there are currently 8 books on contract for this series.  This book was okay, but like the last book in the series, focuses more on philosophy and metaphysical stuff than the great fight scenes that I loved to see Kaylin and Severn in.  My overall impression was that this book was wordy and long.

In this book Kaylin is supposed to be stepping up studies on her magic lessons and starting etiquette lessons to prepare her for a meeting with the Dragon Emperor.  Instead her and Severn run into strange magical goings on in one of the streets of Elantra.  There is a circle of magic strangeness in the city of Elantra and,, as more and more of the Oracles portent the coming of something huge and destructive, Kaylin is drawn into the race to save the city.  It may be up to Kaylin as The Chosen One to stop the Devourer from ending their world.

Okay, first I will say that Sagara introduces this book by saying that each book is separate and can be read as a stand-alone.  While it is true that these books are somewhat separate mysteries and are not as tied together as say an epic fantasy is...I don't think they stand alone very well.  At this point the cast of characters is so huge and the history that affects each of the characters is so complex that I was lost coming back into this series after a year...I can't imagine starting the series with this book.

Onto the things I really liked.  Severn is finally in this book more, in the previous book he was kind of a wallflower.  Finally in this book he has a great influence in Kaylin's life and start to really direct some of the events that are happening.  We get to see more of the Elemental Garden, which was great...I love this creative idea and learning more about it was wonderful.  Also we learn more about Nightshade and the Dragons in this book and about the history of Elantra; so that really helped to fill out the story.

I really really missed the action though.  In the previous book despite her small stature and personality flaws Kaylin could really kick butt; we never see that in this book.  There is not one single fight scene.  Kaylin still carries her convictions, but she spends more time talking in circles and frantically making appointments with various power figures than anything else.  There were large portions of this book I literally fell asleep reading.

A ton of time is spent dealing with the metaphysical aspects of the Elemental Garden and with Kaylin trying to talk a God around to its home.  I really seriously believe that this could have been wrapped up in a couple of well-written sentences; instead it took Sagara 300 pages to do it.  As soon as you get Kaylin in the Gardens and they figure out the Elemental stuff, you as a reader know what the outcome is.  There are more books in the series so supposedly you already know the whole world isn't going to end.  There are no surprises, everything plays out as the characters predicted it would play out.  The problem is it takes 300 pages of vague description and talking, predicting, theorizing, etc to get to this final point.  I honestly almost didn't finish this book.  I loved the first four books in this series.  I did not like the last one much, and this book followed in the footprints of that one.

The above being said I do love the wonderfully creative world Sagara has created, I love the characters, and overall I enjoy Sagara's writing style.  She is a very good writer.  But this book drove me crazy, it was just so wordy and predictable.

Overall, this was my least favorite book in the series.  I wasn't big on book 5 either.  At this point I am trying to decide if I will keep reading this series, I really loved the first four books and enjoy the world and characters so I just don't know at this point.

This book goes towards the following reading challenge:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Cast in Chaos (Chronicles of Elantra, Book 6) 


  1. Hmm. I just bought this one. I had issues with book 5 dragging.. this does not bode well.

  2. Yeah, I was pretty bummed that this one was slow too. I am kind of ready to be done with this series. I love the characters but miss the action...

    - Karissa