I can’t recall how I picked up “Cast in Shadow” by Michelle Sagara, the first book in The Chronicles of Elantra series. I do remember meeting Kaylin, the lead character, and laughing out loud at her antics. I remember being fully immersed in a fantasy world so visually other to the real one. And I remember being thoroughly entertained by the adventure Michelle takes the reader on.

Khristine Hvam does a phenomenal job bringing this cast of characters to life. A brilliant narrator allows the listener to relax and hear each character without having to think about who is speaking. The variety of species and accents Khristine has to perform is broad! She cracks them out with the right inflection and at a great pace!

Kaylin has suffered a traumatic past, she has been set apart from regular humans because of her powers and she has an overarching sense of justice. This places her perfectly to unravel the mystery of murders in her old neighbourhood. It is a place she hoped never to return to and she has to travel it with a partner she hoped never to see again,

By the end of book one I was hungry for book two! Now, on book 15 I am hungry for book 16! Each one has unpacked a new dimension to this magical place. The first few books highlights a different race or species. Michelle then unpacks the physicality of the world, it’s landscape and dangers. Now, we are exploring it’s history and how it impacts the future. Each is a fabulous book on it’s own but in concert, they are all the better.

The descriptions of each scene are eloquent and interesting. Michelle takes time to explain in detail what the characters see and feel, painting a complex picture for the reader.

If you enjoy world-creation fantasy series, this is one not to be missed! It is a five out of five on the enJOYment scale and highly recommended.

From the back cover:

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 the 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!

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