Friday, December 30, 2011

Review - Cast in Ruin (Chronicles of Elantra, Book 7) by Michelle Sagara (3/5 stars)

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 464 pages
Publisher: Luna
Release Date: September 20, 2011
ISBN: 978-0373803309
Stand Alone or Series: 7th book in the Chronicles of Elantra
Source: Borrowed through library
Rating: 3/5 stars

This is the seventh book in the Chronicles of Elantra by Sagara. I had very mixed feelings about this book. The beginning of this book was slow moving and confusing, but the ending was very interesting. This series just moves so slowly I am really starting to question what direction it is heading in.

Kaylin is still struggling to balance her life. Between her duties as a Hawk, etiquette and magic lessons with dragons, and assisting the midwifes she has a full plate. Then Sanabalis requests her presence in the new dragon fief; there are murders happening there...strange thing is that it is the same woman is being murdered. Her body is turning up murdered over and over. Then with the arrival of a new stranger called the Ascendant things get even stranger. Kaylin is drawn into it all and has to solve the murders before things get even worse for Elantra.

I felt like Kaylin is running around frantic in this book, she never gets a break. She never gets to sleep or eat or have a teeny bit of down time. There isn't a ton of Nightshade in this book, he's in the story just a tiny bit. Kaylin also doesn't spend any time with her midwife duties. Severn remains Kaylin's shadow; he kind of chases her around and keeps her out of trouble. I really wish Severn was developed more as a character.

All the above aside, the dragons do have some interesting character development. You learn a lot about the Arkon's past and he is in the story a significant amount. Tiamiras, Sanabalis, and the Lady are also in the story a significant amount. As a result of all of the activities relating to dragons you learn a lot about their race and their past. A new dragon is added to the already volatile mix of dragons; I really enjoyed the addition of this new dragon.

Kaylin's powers continue to grow but also continue to remain mysterious. Kaylin doesn't continue any of her magic training in this book but is instead spends time taking etiquette lessons with a different dragon to prepare for her meeting with the Emperor (which still hasn't happened).

It's not that these books aren't well written; it's that there are so many little things going on that it makes the story move very slowly. The time period covered in this novel is very short, things are very complicated, and at times very confusing. Despite Kaylin's growing powers she has the same problems from book to book (being late, not getting to eat, not committing to Severn, not being dressed properly, etc) she just seems somewhat stagnant to me. Severn could be an awesome character but, as with the last book, we barely heard from him.

I love this world and I think the plot is interesting; there is just too much going on and it is squished into too short of a time...yet it seems like the story is moving so slowly. The characters that I loved from the first few books in this series have grown stagnant. The best part of this book was the addition of a new, and rather snarky, dragon character.

The book wraps up okay, there is still a lot left unsettled and I am having a hard time seeing where all of this is going.

Overall this was an okay addition to the series. I loved the dragon history and the addition of a new dragon character. I did not enjoy how the story started so slow; how hectic and confusing...yet slow moving the plot has been. I did not enjoy how none of the characters seemed to change or grow. I also didn't enjoy the small parts some of my favorite characters were given. The book is technically well written and the world is wonderful but I am having a hard time seeing where this series is going. If the next book, Cast in Peril, is indeed the last in the series I will read it...if not I think I will hold off for a bit to see if things start coming together a bit better for this series. With the exception of this book and parts of the last book, this has been an excellent fantasy series.

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