In the aftermath of the events in the High Halls, there are loose ends. One of those loose ends is the fieflord, Candallar. In an attempt to understand his involvement—with the Barrani, with the High Court, and with the much hated Arcanum—Kaylin has been sent to the fiefs.
She has mixed feelings about this. There’s nothing mixed about her feelings when she discovers a very unusual building in the border zone between two fiefs, and far more questions are raised than are answered. Her attempt to get answers leads her back to the Imperial Palace and its resident Dragon librarian, the Arkon.
Things that were lost in the dim past were not, perhaps, destroyed or obliterated—and what remains appears to be in the hands of a fieflord and his allies—allies who would like to destroy Kaylin’s friends, the Emperor, and possibly the Barrani High Court itself. This is bad.
What’s worse: The librarian who hates to leave his library has a very strong interest in the things that might, just might, have been preserved, and—he is leaving his library to do in person research, no matter what Kaylin, the Hawks, or the Emperor think.
He is not the only one. Other people are gathering in the border zone; people who believe knowledge is power. But power is also power, and it might be too late for the Empire’s most dedicated Historian—and Kaylin and her friends, who’ve been tasked with his safety.
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My Review | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Favorite Character: Kaylin Neya
Even though Kaylin is the main character for the entire series, she shares the spotlight in this novel. Her personality still shows through, though, loud and clear. She has powers but doesn’t know how they work or has even the most basic control of them – relying on instinct to use them in the right way at the right time. She is very relatable with her endearing quirks, as well as her mortality. I can’t wait to learn more about her in other novels in the series.
What I Like
The world of Elantra is so amazingly complex, detailed, and nothing short of brilliant. It is nothing like our world except for a few basic things, but it is alive in a way that makes you able to easily suspend disbelief and marvel at the wonders contained within the pages. There is so much detail, large and small, and no gaps to fill in using your own imagination. From the changes in eye color that reflect emotion to the way the dragons change form to the description of the few sentient buildings – I can see and hear it all. My five-star rating is based mostly on world creation in this novel; it is that good.
I also love that the main character is the Elantra equivalent of a police detective called a Hawk. This element brings mystery and suspense into the fantasy world that I love reading. The story is full of action that keeps the pages turning, as Kaylin Neya works to solve the mystery of the building with one eye.
As I stated earlier, Kaylin Neya is my favorite character. I love that she is Chosen and all but ignores this fact unless she needs to find a power in her runes that will help her fight the bad guy. She is unique, but it is not in her to acknowledge that or act in a way that shows it. She routinely skips any training on how to use her magic, instead preferring to be out there fighting the evils that exist in her world. Interestingly, she lives in a house that chose her, as it is sentient, and is called Helen.
Helen is the family that Kaylin never had. She takes care of Kaylin – from the everyday tasks of making sure she is fed and gets rest to the more complex help of giving her advice about different situations. Helen is a close second for me when it comes to a favorite character. I particularly enjoyed the part of the story that takes place in Kaylin’s home and am glad that Kaylin has that kind of motherly figure in her life.
The plot in this story is interesting as it appears to be a shift in the series storyline. It is an opening for a whole new tomorrow. I wonder if Kaylin will finally get the training she needs but does not seem to desire except in small flickers of want that, if you are not paying attention, you will miss.
The dialogue flows naturally, even though it technically is in many different languages – translated, so the reader understands it, of course. And, all the characters are well-developed no matter how fantastical they are – and they can be pretty fantastical as Elantra contains many different races – Dragons, Barrani, Aerians, and mortals, to name a few.
What I Wish
There are many named characters in this book and series. Even if I start a series from book one, I tend to get lost in a lot of names. A simple glossary, which I ended up making myself, would be a significant help.
To Read or Not to Read
If you love high (or epic) fantasy, you will want to add this series to your bookshelves!
Thank you to NetGalley and MIRA Books for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and a special thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing and Justine Sha for my spot on the blog tour.
Meet Michelle Sagara
Author Bio: Michelle Sagara is an author, bookseller, and lover of literature based in Toronto. She writes fantasy novels and lives with her husband and her two children, and to her regret has no dogs. Reading is one of her life-long passions, and she is sometimes paid for her opinions about what she’s read by the venerable Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. No matter how many bookshelves she buys, there is Never Enough Shelf space. Ever.
A Q&A with Michelle Sagara will be posted Friday. Be sure to check back for it!
See my “About me” on my site.