Early Book Review: Cast in Ruin by Michelle Sagara West

Cast in Ruin by Michelle Sagara West is the seventh book in the Chronicles of Elantra series. It is scheduled for release on September 29 2011. Fans of the series will enjoy this installment, particularly the growth that Kaylin continues to demonstrate and a plot line that is full of excitement and important details of the larger story arch. The series keeps getting better, and I am looking forward to Cast in Peril, and the three unnamed books that Sagara has mentioned on her blog. I do not recommend the book to readers new to the series, instead I suggest that those that are intrigued go back and start with Cast in Shadow, the first book in this series.

Cast in Ruin picks up where Cast in Chaos left off. The refugees are living in the Dragon Lord's Fief, but things are not exactly setting down. The human inhabitants are weary of their new neighbors, that they are huge and armed to the teeth does not assuage their fears, but the fact that they are actively fighting the shadows does. Things only get more complicated as seven identical corpses are found in the streets of the fief. Kaylin receives a reprieve from more intense etiquette lessons when she is assigned to investigate the bodies; who they were, who killed them, and why. Are shadows breaching the boarders or is it something more ominous? Kaylin must embrace everything she has learned, and all of her gifts, in order to protect the people she has promised to protect. There is no available retreat, and surrender is not a viable option. Metaphysical and intensely physical battles await, as do lessons in manners and relationship questions that still need examining.

I enjoyed Cast in Ruin, and the series thus far. However, this is not a series that I recommend starting in the middle. This is not because the story would not but enjoyable without the background information, but because the full growth and development of the characters and world is a gripping part of the story that you would miss without fully understanding what has happened in the previous books. Sagara does do a great job of reminding readers of the important points, and letting new readers in on what they have missed, but the full import of some of the events cannot be appreciated without reading the previous six books, starting with Cast in Shadow.
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