Cast in Deception: Chronicles of Elantra, Book 13

Cast in Deception
Cast in Deception

Author: Michelle Sagara
Book Name: Cast in Deception
Series: Chronicles of Elantra
Order: #13
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: Really Good

4+stars

 

 

 

Blurb: WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE, WHO NEEDS ENEMIES?

Private Kaylin Neya thought her home couldn’t possibly get more crowded. But when one of her housemates, Annarion, decides to undertake the Barrani Test of Name, his friends refuse to let him face his task alone—and Kaylin’s sentient home, Helen, is the only structure capable of shielding the rest of Elantra from the magnitude of their power.

Annarion and Mandoran almost caused the destruction of the High Halls once already. Add nine of their closest friends, and the danger is astronomically higher—especially since these guests are at the heart of a political firestorm. Imprisoned almost a millennium ago, their recent freedom threatens the rulership of several prominent Barrani families, and the machinations of those Lords make it almost impossible to tell friend from foe.

As political tensions ramp up, the shadows beneath the High Halls are seeking a freedom that has never been possible before. Kaylin must find a way to keep those shadows from escaping, or that freedom will destroy her city, the empire and everything she holds dear.

If I had to compare this to any of the others in the series, it is probably most like Cast in Peril. That said, I think this is the most different of all of the books so far. It is probably my second least favorite of the series.

Even though I still really enjoyed this, it felt like I was missing much of my favorite characters because the focus was almost entirely on the extended group of the cohort than on any of the established existing characters. It is obvious that Kaylin is bringing them into her sphere of people she considers hers, but I’m not as much of a fan of this group as I have been of every other character that has been brought in.

It was also missing a bit of what I’d consider classic Kaylin. Her personality is absolutely still there. She is still growing and maturing, but there was very little of her innate abilities displayed in this book so it almost felt as if even she were somewhat missing from this story.

This was a much lower key book, with the focus on the politics and intrigue of the Barrani court. If it follows a pattern being much like Cast in Peril (feeling sort of like a gap book to bridge major story arcs), then the next book will be much fuller in the sense of action and progress.

Reread Mode

I am currently on a rereading binge. But again, being the occasionally brainless person I am, I completely forgot how many books are in this series. Probably because I only have the first few in print and the rest are digital. I had wanted to get them all read again before the new book came out. I have just started on book 9 of 13 and the new book came out a few days ago so I am way behind.

Continue reading “Reread Mode”

Oracle: The House War, Book 6

OracleAuthor: Michelle West (Sagara)
Book Name: Oracle
Series: The House War
Order: #6 (Triple Series Order #14)
Rating: Excellent/Favorite
Genre: Fantasy

Blurb:  Beneath the streets of Aver­alaan lie the three Princes of the firstborn, doomed to sleep until the end of days. When gods walked the world, they feared the Sleepers. They fear them even now. If the Sleepers wake, the city will not survive — and the Sleepers are waking.

House Terafin has already felt the conse­quences of their stirring.

To save the city — and the House over which she rules — Jewel Markess ATerafin must go to face the Oracle. She leaves a House that is still divided, and a city in which demons, in human guise, have begun to move. At no time in Terafin’s history has it faced the dangers it now faces, and it will face them bereft of its leader.

Jewel has always seen unpre­dictable glimpses of the future — images of death and destruction which she cannot control and cannot always under­stand. To master her birthright, she chooses to walk the path of the Oracle. In her hands, she carries the only hope of the Winter Queen.

But the path she must travel was old when the gods ceased to walk the world. Ancient crea­tures stalk winter skies at the behest of the demons who mean to ensure that she will never reach the Oracle’s side.

Secrets, long hidden from all but the firstborn, will finally be brought to light. Choices will be made, and paths chosen, from which there will be no return.

Review: For probably the first time in this series, we get a much closer look at one of the other members of Jay’s den, Jester.  While he hasn’t taken on a level of importance as some of the others, like Finch or Teller, we see that he does have a roll to play that hints at becoming more important than just a background character.

We have seen it in other books, but in this book, the gathering of additional support for the entire group, not just Jay, becomes more prominent and solidified.  Both in firming up support from past characters as well as introducing some new ones.  The specific enemies are still left unclear as new potentials have appeared.

While we got to see quite a bit of growth for some of the den members, Finch in particular, and learned a bit more about Meralonne and Hectore of Araven’s servant Andrei, there wasn’t as much for some of the other characters that I was either expecting or hoping for in this book.  I really thought we’d see something more from Angel and learn a bit more about his specific role in relation to Jay.  We did get a some, but I kind of thought there would be more.  Avandar fell into the background a bit more in this one as well.  Since I’m fascinated with his character, I always want more from him.

As is often the case with any book from this author, I wasn’t ready to be finished by the time I got to the end, but for a few more than the usual reasons this time.  It didn’t have quite as clean of an ending as her books usually do, and that left me hanging in a way that I wasn’t thrilled with.  I don’t want to give it away, but I honestly expected something totally different, or maybe more dramatic.  None of that really takes away from how amazing the book overall is because I know that all of the loose ends that have been left are leading up to what should be the last book, so it works.

I will say that I couldn’t help but be brought to tears in this one.  It has been a while since a book tore at me that hard, but this one…  yeah, it got to me.  It has me wondering if I should by stock in tissues in time for the final book of the series is released.

The House War, The Sacred Hunt and The Sun Sword Series Notes

Author: Michelle West
Series: The House War, The Sacred Hunt, and The Sun Sword

I have FINALLY gotten around to finishing all the re-reading I wanted to get in before I started on the latest book in this series.  I thought that before I actually wrote up the review for it, I needed to post a little about the series itself, which is actually listed as three separate series, though I’m not sure why as they are all pretty intimately connected.

The order that these books need to be read in also does not follow from series to series.  They overlap.  If you are not familiar with them, I recommend reading them in the order listed below:
The Hidden City – The House War
City of Night – The House War
Hunter’s Oath – The Sacred Hunt
Hunter’s Death – The Sacred Hunt*
House Name – The House War*
The Broken Crown – The Sun Sword
The Uncrowned King – The Sun Sword
The Shining Court – The Sun Sword
Sea of Sorrows – The Sun Sword
The Riven Shield – The Sun Sword
The Sun Sword – The Sun Sword
Skirmish – The House War
Battle – The House War
Oracle – The House War

The first note to the series that must be made is that Hunter’s Death and House Name are pretty much the same book.  I will admit that these were not the books that I took the time to re-read on this go round as I’ve already read the first several books in the series several times and felt that with the short time I had, I was okay to skip those.  Because of that I cannot say definitively, at this time, that they are exactly the same books (hey, it has been a while).  They are substantially enough the same that you could easily get away with only reading one.  The events in the last couple of books in the Sun Sword series happen at the same time as Skirmish and Battle from the House War Series.

These books are not the kinds of books that you can pick up one of the later books and not be totally lost.  You absolutely have to read them in order to be able to follow the story.  The entire storyline is incredibly intense and packed full of various different characters and places and political and personal interactions.  While each individual series has central characters, which are numerous, many of those characters are critical across the entire story line of all three series.  You could probably read the Sacred Hunt Series or the Sun Sword series alone, but if you want to read the House War series, you need to read them all in order to not miss out on something.

If you stop and think of what kind of mind can create the level of writing that is in these books, you just might break your brain.  Incredibly detailed world, phenomenally developed characters, intricately wrought and complex situations, relationships and political intrigues.  It is just so much to take in and absorb.  I actually described it to my husband as though you were reading about all of the residents in a small town, with all the details and personalities of each of those people and their interactions and relationships, except in a completely fantastical world filled with humans, magic, immortals, gods, and demons.  While this is a pretty dumbed down description, it is still pretty accurate.

In a way it is funny, because I’m not sure I would like a series like this written by any other author.  I don’t typically like reading books that are quite that intricately detailed and full while having to keep so close track of what is going on in a story, nor am I a huge fan of books that are that wed to the entire series that I would feel at a complete loss if I started in the middle somewhere.  In the case of these books, though, it is done so expertly that I cannot help but love every bit of it.  It is absolutely one of those “suck me in and devour me” kinds of series.

 

Coming in May and Update

Current reading stats
New: 138
Re-reads: 28

How I choose the next book to read often depends on how many books are on my To Read list.  The fewer I have available, the more time I have before they are due back (if they are checked out of the library) and I will often just pick the one I’m most looking forward to.  The more I have on that list, with some getting close to their due date for return, I will pick up the one with the closest due date.

After finishing a book the other day, I went to look at all the books I had checked out and on my To Read list to decide which one I wanted to start next. I had quite a few on that list and was really torn because the bottom couple just weren’t books I was all that excited about starting because I wasn’t thrilled by the previous book in the series.  I ended up just going with one that I was way more excited about, thinking I had a bit more time to get to the others before I had to return them.

After doing this a few times and looking at my Coming Soon list of books that are getting released in the next month, I realized that Michelle Sagara’s next House War book, Oracle,  was due out on May 5th.  It has been a bit since the last release in this series and I thought it might be a good idea to do some re-reading.  IF I could get my To Read list under control enough that I’d be able to have time to do that.

Unfortunately, I had a ton of books on that list and a whole crapton on my hold list that would be coming available at random times along the way.  I finally decided that if I kept skipping over those bottom list books, then maybe I should just not bother with them all right now.  I ended up returning a bunch of books to the library so I could focus on the ones I was actually really excited about.  If I get really bored, then I’ll consider checking them out again at some point in the future.  Then again, I may not.  Seems I’m having difficulty finding the time to read all the ones I’d really like to at the moment, so why waste that time with the ones I’m just not all that jazzed about?

Besides, a Michelle Sagara book will ALWAYS take precedence over any other book.  Well, unless it is an Anne Bishop book.  I honestly don’t have a clue what I’d do if those two authors ever released a book at the same time.  Fingers crossed that I’m never quite that lucky.

Even after pairing it down, I still seem to have too many on that list.  If I truly want to have the time to re-read all the connected books from the House War series (that is an awful lot of reading because it connects with both the Sacred Hunt books and the Sun Sword series), I’m going to have to pair it down quite a bit more.  I may have to settle for re-reading just the House War books for now.

No matter what I choose, there is going to be a lot of reading in my future.  As if that is any different than any other day.  😉

 

March Update and Upcoming in April

As of right now, my current book count stands at 112 new and 27 re-reads.  Seems that I am continuing with my theme of re-reading some of my favorites this year.  This month, I re-read one of my all time favorite series, Michelle Sagara’s Chronicles of ElantraI probably should have read House War (another favorite) first as that is the series that has the next book out (May5), but I’m sure that is going to be the next on the re-read list.

I’m doing a lot of re-reading because I am STILL struggling to find new authors to read that I love.  Heck, I’d be thrilled with even just one at this point.  Sure, I’ve found a couple of new ones that I like, but I don’t love them and that is getting frustrating.  I have grabbed more new books lately that don’t just jump out and grab me when I read the synopsis on the off chance that something will spark when I read the actual book.  That hasn’t quite worked yet, but I’m still holding out hope.

Something I realized the other day is that I’m not actually writing very many reviews.  While I think it is probably impossible for me to write a review for every single book I read (my current average is about a book and a half a day, so that would be a bit much), I do think I should probably be writing up at least a few more than I currently am.  I didn’t realize how difficult it might be to write up something on a book that isn’t either awesome or awful and since I haven’t found much in the first category and try exceptionally hard to avoid the second, that doesn’t leave me with all that much to write about, so I’m going to work on that for next month.

April 7th brings the new release in the Jane Yellowrock series, Dark Heir.  I’ve got that one on pre-order and cannot wait to get it.  The 7th is also the release day for Diana Rowland‘s latest in the Kara Gillian Series, Vengeance of the Demon.  This one I don’t have on my To Buy list, but I am on the waiting list through the library.  So glad that I know I’ve got some things on my upcoming reading list to really look forward to.