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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I have no idea where this is going, but I am enjoying the journey. 3.5 - 4 stars
This is the third book of Ms. Sagara's "Cast In" series, and I am fascinated. The characters are absolutely unique. The heroine (Kaylin) has a very dark past, an unknown future, and a consistently tenuous present. The heroes (Severn, Nightshade, Tiamaris) can be either villains and/or saviors depending on the circumstance. Secondary players are similarly complex. You are...
Published on July 26, 2007 by lwd

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Grow up!
I loved book one and book two in this series. I had high expectations for the third book in this trilogy. Unfortunately, it's not a trilogy, it's a quintet (to quote the author's web site these are "5 linked books - not a pentalogy," although how five books all based around the life and development of one character are not a pentalogy I do not know) and thus this is not...
Published on October 30, 2007 by Amazon Customer


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I have no idea where this is going, but I am enjoying the journey. 3.5 - 4 stars, July 26, 2007
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lwd (California) - See all my reviews
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This is the third book of Ms. Sagara's "Cast In" series, and I am fascinated. The characters are absolutely unique. The heroine (Kaylin) has a very dark past, an unknown future, and a consistently tenuous present. The heroes (Severn, Nightshade, Tiamaris) can be either villains and/or saviors depending on the circumstance. Secondary players are similarly complex. You are never quite sure what anyone is going to do, and when you reach the end of the book, you're never quite sure how you got there, or why.

Cast in Secret focuses mostly on the Tha-alani race, the people Kaylin fears the most, and the one we know least about. What we do know is that with a touch of their forehead appendages, they can ferret out all secrets, all lies, all memory, and are used by the Emperor as interrogators. If the answers they find are not to the Emperor's liking, the one being interviewed becomes a dragon snack. (A very good reason to avoid these folks at all cost, since the Emperor is a dragon.) Unfortunately, to save a child (and the world), Kaylin must overcome her extreme prejudice of the Tha-alani by working with them, and learning who and what they really are.

There is, surprisingly, very little actual action in Cast in Secret, more world and species building, more character development for Kaylin, the Tha-alani, the Dragons, the Oracles. Previous plotlines are firmly in the background, and are not advanced in any obvious way. Kaylin's Barrani "Lord" status is referenced, but seemingly unimportant. Severn is an occasional sidekick and/or bodyguard, yet rather dimmed in status. Nightshade becomes more an information source, less a main character. The story in this chapter is complete, but feels almost separate from the previous books. The lack of continuity is a little disconcerting, but I trust that Ms. Sagara will, eventually, tie it all together.

If you enjoyed the previous books in this series, and can handle a whole lot of mysterious purpose, I happily recommend this novel.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Grow up!, October 30, 2007
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Amazon Customer (West St. Paul, MN United States) - See all my reviews
I loved book one and book two in this series. I had high expectations for the third book in this trilogy. Unfortunately, it's not a trilogy, it's a quintet (to quote the author's web site these are "5 linked books - not a pentalogy," although how five books all based around the life and development of one character are not a pentalogy I do not know) and thus this is not the final book in the series, but the middle book. So it suffers the dreaded "middle book syndrome": the characters do not really develop, the plot is not much advanced, and not much happens in any substantive way. (It also the shortest of the books so far.)

Like some of the other reviewers, I really wanted to give the main character a good shake. Behavior that was quirky in the first book, and idiosyncratic in the second, merely came off as bratty in the third. Yes, we know that she failed almost all her courses the first time round, but by now since we all know she is the saviour of the world (in every book) and will eventually go to the Imperial court, her superiors should have taken her off the streets, put her back in the classroom and force fed her some of the knowledge that every one else seems to have except her. The plot device of mysterious markings and power that "no one understands" and yet everyone knows more about than her is wearing thin. People who supposedly don't know much more about the situation than she does, keep giving her tests that presuppose a great deal of knowledge on their part, and then patting her on the head when she passes them. Infuriating!

Don't get me wrong, I actually like Kaylin quite a lot, but I do think that the experiences she had in the last book should have matured her slightly in terms of the way she relates to others.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Chronicles of Elantra, July 31, 2007
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I have enjoyed the previous two books in this series and this one is just as good. Each book reveals abit more about Kaylin Neya and her place in this world. I love the world and it's inhabitants and this novel tells us of a different species on this world. The Barrani, the Dragons, Hawks and the rest are joined by the Tha'alani mysterious beings with great mental abilities.

Kaylin is an orphan raised on the streets by Severn Handred and later joins the Hawks. She is also connected to Nightshade, a exiled Barrani Sorceror. She hates magic but somehow always seems to fall into it. Her abilites make her a blessing to the mid-wives and she is called on many time to help with births. She wears a magic braclet from the Dragon Emperor which inhibits her magic use. Her body is covered with glyphs and she has various and unknown magic abilities.

Severn Handred saved Kaylin from the streets and the ferals when she was young. He has always looked out for her even when she did not know he was there. Now he is her partner in the Hawks and always there to help her face the unknown.

This time Kaylin and Severn are facing a great unknown that threatens to demolish their world or at least the city and country they occupy. The world of magic is based on the elementals of fire, water, earth and air. Now Kaylin must match powers with an evil sorceror from the Arcanium. A sorceror who can control the elements and maybe the elementals. Kaylin never one to look before she leaps finds herself in very deep water.

I loved this book and can't wait for the next one. Michelle Sagara has a wonderful immagination and only she knows where we will end up next. Do not miss this one.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting start in this series but the heroine's development seems to have stalled, September 16, 2007
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I read the first book in this series and was interested enough to find and read the second, which I thought was better. So I had high hopes for this book, the third in the series. Well, it wasn't terrible, and the fascinating world-building and many intriguing secondary characters have continued, but there is a central problem: I don't like the heroine. Kaylin is charmlessly bratty, NEVER learns to think twice before speaking, shows no signs of maturity. She actively fights learning anything and sticks to her unloveable, and by this time very boring faults. Yet the heads of several races now accord her great respect, even calling her "Lord," as in nobility because she has managed to blunder through various save-the-world situations despite being an endlessly annoying and ignorant young fool. So OK, if she's so important now to everyone and her safety is so vital to everyone's interests, why is she still living in an unprotected hovel without enough food or sleep or clothing or even personal hygiene? The characters just love her to pieces, but it's not at all clear why. She is thoroughly unlikeable, which makes it a chore to spend so much time hearing about all her feeeeeelings in the narration. The author seems to think that since the heroine likes children, that makes all her glaring and persistent faults forgiveable. Wrong.

I like Severn, her partner from her oh-so-horrible background in the slums (about which I am thoroughly sick of hearing the same stories repeated about how much they suffered), but he is put in the emotional distance somehow in this book even though he is present in many scenes. So is Nightshade, the fascinating outcaste Barrani (like a darkish elf) who clearly desires the heroine (who knows why, I don't). Both characters have been made into extreme strong-silent-types, to the point that it's getting laughable. There is also far too much repetition in plot developments, or rather in their ad hoc "feel." The heroine plunges into a new scene, and it's like a session of Dungeons and Dragons. Ooooh, this door, what's behind it? Now what will she find through THAT door? Everybody just looooves the heroine when she manages to somehow blunder through whatever impossible challenges she faces and saves the world, or at least the race or the city yet again. And despite all this, she is still at the lowest grade of the police force she works in (the Hawks), is practically starving for lack of money, and is regularly left dangerously unprotected despite her seeming importance and vulnerability.

Very frustrating, because there is much to enjoy (other than the heroine) in this series; that's why I'm giving it the three stars. But I'm just about fed up with the whole thing. The heroine is beyond annoying and the series seems to have stalled out in terms of character development and achievement of emotional maturity. I wonder if the author has frozen her relationships with Nightshade and Severn because she's trying to stretch this into as many books as possible. If so, it's backfiring, as far as I'm concerned. I'll watch for the next one and get it from the library. If it's more of the same, then that's it for me.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating., June 4, 2009
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S. L. Howell (Virginia, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cast in Secret (Chronicles of Elantra, Book 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
I just don't know what to make of this series. The main character shows depressingly little growth. The details are too vague and the storyline is too convoluted. After reading the first two books I felt that I was too far into the series to give up, but I understand about as much now as I did after the first page of book one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect, August 5, 2007
I read the first two books and became instantly hooked, I waited anxiously for almost a year for this third in the series. I had high hopes and was very excited when I purchased my copy. I wont go much into the actual plot since others have done a good job. I thought that the story was well written with a developed plot. I love that Kaylin is always growing not only in power, but in understanding others. It was also very interesting to get a good look into the Thaa'lani world.

My number one critique of this book is that when the last book ended it, I was left with the impression that in the next book, big things would happen between Nightshade and Kaylin. There was no growth in the relationship or any change whatsoever, infact he made maybe 2-3 cameo appearances in the story. It wasn't that he was exactly essential to the plot, but he is just too much a part of Kaylin to be so far behind the scenes. Although I love Severn, I find Lord Nightshade to be the most interesting character in the whole thing. I hope the author puts him firmly back into the limelight in the next go. Also I would like more on Kaylin's interraction with the Barrani court now that she is a lord.

That aside I fully enjoyed the reading and finished it in a day.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the other two, December 4, 2007
I loved the previous two books in this series but this one was a little dissappointing. We did not learn anything more about about Nighshade who is my favorite character. I want more focus on the relationships between Kaylin and Severen and Nightshade. We also need more secrets revealed about the markings on Kaylin's body. This story did not further the overall plot. I hope the next book has more on the Kaylin-Nightshade-Severn triangle and less on extraneous adventures. I would also like to see Kaylin choose either Severn or Nightshade and commit either emotionally or physically to one of them. I hope we do not have an endless wait for the next in the series. The wait between books in these fantasy series is frustrating.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ok, February 28, 2009
By 
I have to agree with some of the posters here, the constant inner dialogue of how dirty I am and I am hungry and I am tired and I faint and fall down all the time,I am wanted by the rich and powerful yet I live in a pig sty, don't bath and don't eat, and am constantly nauseous. I guess it is some sort of counter to having all this power. But it drags on way toooo much and it repeated way tooooo often, as it is in the first two books. You have to wade through a lot of quagmire to get the ideas of what is happening. Maybe she gets paid by the word? Other wise a good set of books as far as ideas go, just needs a lot of editing.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex and intriguing as always..., July 30, 2007
The Cast series is not an easy series to read. The world and themes are extremely complex, as are the characters who populate it. Each book requires careful reading (skimming or a fast read isn't really possible, at least not for me) and a lot of thought about what's happening at any given time. Of course, some things are more straightforward than others. I find that I have to reread each book to catch things that I either missed or didn't understand the first time, but I think the endeavor is worthwhile for the most part, although much continues to puzzle me.

This third entry, Cast In Secret (The Cast Series, Book 3), doesn't have as much "action" per se as the previous two books (Cast In Shadow (The Cast Series, Book 1), Cast In Courtlight (The Cast Series, Book 2)), but it continues to expand on the relationships among the major characters, chiefly Kaylin and Severn, Kaylin and Nightshade, and Kaylin and the dragons. The Barrani do not play a prominent role, but their presence is keenly felt.

We learn some more details about the struggle that was caused by Kaylin's arrival as a young child in the Courts of Law between those who argued for her survival and those who felt she was too dangerous to live. We see some of the workings of the dragon court, and learn much about the Tha'alani as well as the Oracles, each intricately and deftly woven into a fascinating whole.

I may be wrong, but I think the next book will likely deal with both the interaction between Kaylin and Nightshade and Kaylin's appearance in a more formal fashion at the dragon court. I can't wait!
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27 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Almost ready to get off of this crazy thing..., August 3, 2007
I bought the first of this series used, since I tried reading Ms. Sagara's stuff back when she was going by Michelle West and had found her Hunter books more than a little flat. Surprisingly I liked Cast in Shadow, always willing to give a writer a second chance, okay not always but most of the time. I bought Cast in Courtlight new and enjoyed that one even more; I had a feeling that Kaylin would finally start pulling her head out of whatever orifice it seemed perpetually shoved into. At least I hoped that was what was going to happen.

So I bought Cast in Secret also new. Oy, look if the main character is so important to everyone then someone feed the woman more than one meal a day, either stop docking her meager pay or put her up in a decent place with some poor soul to look after her and her pitiful belongings.

Walking around saying that you won't learn because your teachers are to dense to teach you is stupid. Likewise the supporting characters in this series have got to stop being so cryptic and `I know what is going on but even though you should know I am not going to tell you' kind of arrogant.

All said, I like the supporting cast a heck of a lot more than I do Kaylin which is a shame since I am all for giving women power and the will to use it. This woman/child character of Ms. Sagara is beginning to wear thin on me. I will more than likely buy the next book, probably used. If things do not improve then I'm going to call it quits. I tried I really really tried, its just a shame that the characters I care about are you going to get thrown out with the one who should be so much more and still isn't.

If I was cryptic I'm sorry I don't like to give out spoilers, but this series is just driving me crazy!!!
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Cast in Secret (Chronicles of Elantra, Book 3)
Cast in Secret (Chronicles of Elantra, Book 3) by Michelle Sagara (Mass Market Paperback - August 1, 2008)
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