Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara West

Summary (goodreads): Seven years ago Kaylin fled the crime-riddled streets of Nightshade, knowing that something was after her. Children were being murdered — and all had the same odd markings that mysteriously appeared on her own skin…

Since then, she’s learned to read, she’s learned to fight and she’s become one of the vaunted Hawks who patrol and police the City of Elantra. Alongside the winged Aerians and immortal Barrani, she’s made a place for herself, far from the mean streets of her birth.

But children are once again dying, and a dark and familiar pattern is emerging, Kaylin is ordered back into Nightshade with a partner she knows she can’t trust, a Dragon lord for a companion and a device to contain her powers — powers that no other human has. Her task is simple — find the killer, stop the murders… and survive the attentions of those who claim to be her allies!

Review: This is the first book I read because goodreads recommended it. I had looked at some of the reviews and was a bit reluctant – so I read the preview on amazon, and decided that I had to read the whole thing.

It took a little while to get into the book. I have read mostly first-person narratives recently, and this one is third-person, so I stumbled over the “she”  and “her” very often. But apart from that, I loved the book.

I could relate to the main character in a way, even though I never failed a class and am never late, her overall attitude touched me. The struggle with authorities and rules, I could definitely relate to that. And I liked the male characters, Severn and the Tiamaris. They are both very different, but both try to protect what is dear to them and both are a bit mysterious. I have a romance playing out in my mind, and that is good enough for me to like them.

The setting is very much fantasy. There are hybrid beings, such as birdlike humans and lionlike humans. Aerians and Leontines. There are dragons, too. And some weirdly beautiful immortals (but none of them is called Edward, and they don’t drink blood). And there are normal humans. I have read far worse and less realistic stories, so I plunged into this one without question.

The story is a little bit confusing at the beginning, because the reader only knows bits and pieces and has to puzzle it out. The characters give information more or less reluctantly and most of the time, more questions arise than are answered. Which is probably because this is the first book of an eight book series. It’s not supposed to be resolved quickly.

While the story itself is rather dreadful, murdered kids and all, the writing style is rather light and there is a lot of joking and swearing involved. And sarcasm, which I always appreciate. As I already mentioned before, I stumbled over the third person a couple of times because the story is written completely from Kaylins perspective and I just expect the “I” everywhere. I felt a bit schizophrenic, thinking of myself as the main character in the third person. You get what I mean?

Well, in the end I read it through rather quickly and couldn’t put it down, and I would like to read the rest of the books as well (still waiting for more romance, here!), but I think I should finish a couple of my books before I start new ones… Anyways, this book gets a 4 out of 5, and we’ll se how the sequels will fare.



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