Cast in Shadow, by Michelle Sagara

31 May 2008 at 21:38 (Random Randomness) (, )

Cast in Shadow is a fantasy story, set in a world populated by various races of beings and full of magic.

The story follows Kaylin Neya, a young woman, an orphan, who ran away from the fiefs and joined the city’s law enforcement, the Hawks. She has strange markings on her arms and thighs, markings which match those found on children ritually killed in the city. She is then called upon to help track down the killers of these children.

And that’s pretty much all I understood of it. I don’t know why, but I found it hard to relate to the characters, any of them. I felt strangely left in the dark throughout most of this book. Even at the final battle scenes at the end, I felt as if I was watching it from a distance.

The problem is, Sagara expends so much effort on creating sophisticated and emotive prose at the expense of clarity. Instead, you’re just a casual observer, someone the author doesn’t really want to let in to her secrets, and the book suffers greatly for it. You never really feel as if you are part of the action, you never feel Kaylin’s emotions with her. You don’t feel her fear, her pain, you’re not made to care about what happens to her. As Sagara herself says, ‘It’s the same, after all.’

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