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5.0 out of 5 starsOne of this century’s best fantasy authors
Reviewed in the United States on January 26, 2018
I find it hard to set Michelle Sagara as a five star when she really deserves to be in the realm above a five star rating system. I own all of her books and have never been happy setting them down in the middle of a story to take a break. As a result there have been many overnight reading sessions or simply falling asleep while reading. As I am not a person who reads and drops a good book, I have continually returned to her books to read over and over again. I also love the fact that she does not produce a multitude of short books but provides a longer and more complete portion of the saga in one book. It’s extremely hard to find such an interesting and exciting author who not only writes intelligently but also proves top rated plots, characters and excitement in her stories. I love this lady!!!!
5.0 out of 5 starsReReading The Series And Enjoying It Immensely
Reviewed in the United States on September 5, 2015
I have been following this series literally for years. Always glad when a new volume appeared. But after the last book and while waiting for the book due to be shipped to me in November, I decided to go back and refresh my memory a bit. So I started with Book 1 and have read my way so far all the way through this 5th book! I've been shocked to discover how much "refreshing" I needed but delighted to discover how much I'm enjoying the process! Multidimensional characters, intricate plots, and a world unfolding....Michelle Sagara gives full value and then some for every dollar I've ever spent purchasing her work!!!
This really is an excellent series, if somewhat esoteric. This particular book isn't my favorite for two reasons- it spends a little too much time directly in Kaylin's memory and in magically created landscape outside of reality.
THAT SAID- there really isn't any defense against the wonderful characters and wry humor throughout the book. Quite a bit of time is spent with the three of the most intriguing male characters I've ever read- Severn, Nightshade and Tiamaris. I just loved how their characters continued to grow through subtle interactions with each other and Kaylin herself.
The plot wasn't as compelling as one or two of the previous ones, but it was still engrossing if for no other reason than we learn exponentially more about Kaylin herself. It was also fascinating to watch Severn's character as Kaylin went through this - but tantalizingly little was actually revealed. I have to admit that I have a real soft spot for him and really hope his relationship with Kaylin gets closer as time goes on.
Ms. Sagara is a FANTASTIC writer. I'm so impressed with how non-entities seamlessly become characters and how much can be conveyed about human nature through this series.
RECOMMENDATIONS: (though it is very hard to recommend something close to the level of this- and I don't read enough of strictly fantasy genre to have more...)
Reviewed in the United States on September 17, 2016
I love all of the characters, especially Nightshade. I was surprised by how much he was in this book. Unfortunately, there were very poor written transitions. I often had to go back and read the prior page to try and figure out how the story ended up there or who was talking. I think this is a combination of poor editing and story telling. I liked the ending but sadly I can't detail how it came about because of the confusing way it was written. I sure hope the next one is better.
Reviewed in the United States on February 13, 2020
Way To go Michelle. This is a wonderful book series. I fell so in love with all the characters. I felt like I was part of the book watching everything unfold. I have laughed and cried reading this series.
There is trouble at the heart of the fiefs and to deal with it, Kaylin has to confront her past, specifically, the time between leaving Nightshade and joining the Hawks. Severn takes a back seat in this book as most of the time the action centres around Kaylin and the Dragon Lord Tiamaris. Most of the action takes place in the fief of Barren where we also meet a couple of new characters that might re-appear in later books. Of the old favourites, Lord Nightshade makes a surprising appearance and there is the odd cameo role for some of Kaylin's Barrani friends.
The book had a bit of a sluggish start and whilst it did pick up in pace, it never quite developed the same momentum as the previous books in the series. It had a great ending (hence still four stars) though I did see it coming a long way ahead. For my liking this book focuses too much on psychological and philosophical issues to the detriment of interaction between characters and story action. The author also keeps repeating a lot of the characters idiosyncrasies and somehow instead of being just an integral part of the story, they came across as explanations and add-ons.
Having said that, if you enjoyed the rest of the series, you can't miss this one as the main purpose of this book seems to be to set the stage for what is to come next.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2009
I was almost put off from reading this latest instalment having seen the previous reviews before ordering the book. However, having taken the risk, I am happy to state that in my opinion, this is definitely one of the better stories in this series. I enjoyed it so much that I began to dread reaching the end of the story.
Ms Sagara has a wonderful gift, she tells mystical stories placed on a bed of dickensian realism. She's created new races and characters are real and have so much invested in them that these characters cannot be accused of being mere story devices. It's as if she is examing what it means to be human but through the viewpoint of all the human questions, what if I could fly, what if I lived forever, what if I had all the knowledge, etc. Sometimes reading Ms Sagara's stories is like encountering the love child of Patricia McKillip and Scott Lynch's. It's woven beautifully and slowly, painfully in places and unflinchingly honest in others, but there's isn't the surrender to despair as a theme. At the end of the journey, there is always a new hope.
Cast in Silence, I feel has more in common with Cast in Courtlight than the other stories. I reread paragraphs convinced by my experience with the latter book that the detail was always there in the words I'd often overlooked. Yes, there is still a larger story out there and these instalments are like pieces of a fairly complex jigsaw which is an easy guess to say that Private Neya will probably be the centre of.
As for the story itself, if like me, Private Neya's character and qualities were becoming more wearying and less endearing, I happy to announce that we finally see some growth here. There's more character growth and resolution in here than in the previous 2 instalments. We learn more about Dragons, albeit through her relationships with the 3 Dragon Lords in her life and yes we learn more about Kaylin.
I've found Ms Sagara a fascinating writer and story teller and do not at all begrudge her these instalments, I wish I could say the same of other writers. Now if only it were possible for her to write and publish as quickly as I read....
Given some of the mediocre reviews I felt compelled to give a glowing review that it truly deserves.
This was my favourite of the series as we really start to understand Kaylin and how she ended up with the Hawks. Severn is right by her side like the shadow that he is and Lord Nightshade plays an interesting turn in this outing. I loved it. I loved Nightshade so much more after this outing, (yes please!).
I don't want to give anything away, suffice to say, this should not disappoint fans for there's much more depth and character development in this book. We are moving forwards you feel and suddenly things start falling into place. It's fast paced in my opinion and there's a whole lot going on, but you can't help but want to learn more about this fascinating world and where Kaylin will be taken to next!