Reviewed by Amélie Sobczak
Cast in Sorrow
By Michelle Sagara
Paperback, 480 pages, ISBN-13 978-0373803569 (also available in ebook), August 2013
Cast in Sorrow, the tenth book in “The Chronicles of Elantra” series, starts where Cast in Peril ended. Kaylin and the group of Barrani Lords traveling from Elantra have been joined by the Lord of the West March and his guards who will escort them to the West March.
Of course those last miles don’t go without challenges, but soon the whole party arrives at their destination and the court politics can finally resume. Thankfully for Kaylin, the attacks against the Barrani don’t cease even so and that forces them to focus on survival rather than politics—well mostly.
Cast in Sorrow is very satisfying to read in conjunction with Cast in Peril. Cast in Peril was confusing at times and a lot of things were not really resolved at the end, such as the matters with Iberienne, the fact that Nightshade is now called Calarnenne, what exactly happened to the lost children, what exactly the Regalia does to the Barrani, the familiar, etc. Cast in Sorrow addresses all that and more. Indeed, we also learn some interesting things about the overall threads present in the series and the recurring characters like Severn and Teela. It was really great to see all those threads progress, but it was also frustrating because of those which did not and which are, of course, the most interesting…
Michelle Sagara also manages to summarize the events of Cast in Peril without it becoming a big info dump; instead Kaylin’s rants in the first chapter were really amusing and one of my favorite parts in the book. It’s also a good way to clarify what had happened on some of those points which had been confusing before.
The West March has its own court composed of Barrani who didn’t pass the test of the name and thus who are not Lords. They nonetheless have the same arrogance and love for politics as their counterparts from the city. The relationships and rivalries between the two groups were interesting to read about; I also like a lot the new characters introduced, such as the Warden and his mother.
It is interesting that Kaylin has allies as well as enemies among the Barrani. Lord Evarim is becoming one of my favorite characters with the recent books; even if events force him to work with Kaylin or Severn, we can be sure that he won’t become friends with her anytime soon! Lord Ynpharion (who was introduced in the last book) is also a fascinating character since he hates Kaylin for taking his name to save him, and that connection to her will be seen as a weakness if it is known to the court; I really like his interactions with Kaylin. The Consort, the Lord of the West March and Teela are also old favorites and continue to play a big role in Cast in Sorrow.
We finally meet all of the lost children and discover their relationships with various Barrani Lords, including Nightshade and Teela. The children are not very present until the end of the book, but they still manage to make a strong impression and I can’t wait to see how their presence will change the relationship between the previously established characters. This book shared the full story of the children and the regalia that changed them and I really love it.
Nightshade and Kaylin’s relationship also progresses, though not as much as I would have hoped. Some of the conflicts between them are addressed, if not resolved, and the ground is prepared for the next book, which should bring some changes in their relationship. In the same way, we learn more about Severn’s past and are given some hints about what we don’t yet know.
In fact, I think that a great part of Cast in Sorrowserves to explain what happened in Cast in Peril and to prepare the ground for Cast in Flame, the next book in the series. The ending was a bit abrupt, as I think it lacks an epilogue, but it was nothing like the ending of Cast in Peril. It’s just that with so many plot threads brought to our attention, in concluding the story of the West March and preparing us for the next book, it is really hard to leave the world of Elantra without being given answers right now!
In parting, Cast in Sorrow was an excellent book which will unarguably make up for the upset a lot of people felt with Cast in Peril; several key plot threads are covered, we are introduced to amazing new characters and the story is just great. As usual with “The Chronicles of Elantra”, as soon as I finish a new book, I can’t wait for the next.
About the reviewer: Amélie is a French student currently undertaking a Masters in chemistry. See her Goodreads account at http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4111736-am-lie for more information.