04 October 2009

Thoughts On Cast In Silence

I've just finished reading Cast in Silence (Michelle Sagara), the fifth book in the Chronicles of Elantra series. Where to start? Firstly, the humour that pervades this book had me grinning in more than a few places:
Kaylin's understanding of the Dragon term hoard wasn't exact, but time had made clear that it meant 'touch any of my stuff and die horribly'.
Kaylin wilted visibly. She'd long since realised that there were whole days that did not reward getting out of bed; she thought it a bit unfair that whole weeks could also be like that.And then there were the passages that reached out from the page and touched me:
The past never truly died. anyway; you just boxed it up and put it in storage, hoping it wouldn't come back to bite you later. But it did, and sometimes you bled. 
'Stop judging your life only by the failures,' he whispered. 
'What should I do?' she whispered. 'I'm always going to fail.' 
'We all do,' he said softly, his voice closer now. 'We all fail. But none of us fail all of the time.'
However (and this isn't a 'but' in the way that you're probably thinking), sometimes I honestly feel that Michelle Sagara gives me (as a reader) too much credit...because sometimes I feel like I have absolutely no idea what is going on with the plot and I'm just grasping at straws with what I think I know. The plot in this series is so intricate and everything has meaning...and I worry that I'm missing things...important things.

So, do you ever read a book and come to the realization that you are missing the bigger picture?
Note: For those of you familiar with the series, Lord Nightshade is still my favourite character, although I definitely have a soft spot for the Dragons *grin*


  1. Absolutely!

    The first time I read Dorothy L. Sayers' Gaudy Night I felt that I had missed at least half the plot--and most of the literary/classical references. On the plus side, the second read was an absolute delight, and I foresee many re-readings in my future.

    Does that help? :grin:

  2. Yes, it definitely helps :) Thank you azteclady! Part of me definitely wants to re-read the series just to pick up on all the things that I missed, particuarly in the second book :)

  3. Often. I totally agree about Gaudy Night and there have been plenty of other books as well.

  4. Yeah, been there and felt that way. Have you read the Sundered series by M. Sagara? I felt that way in a few places there.

    I'm two books behind in this series, wish I could give some input here. Glad you like Nightshade still, I have a huge, I mean huge soft spot for him.

  5. I read the first book in this series but never went beyond that. I don't know why... I did like the book, I just never remembered to buy the second one, I guess.

  6. I get that feeling too about some books.

    With this one in particular, I got more of that 'ah ha' feeling when events in the book/ in the recent past came back to bite Kaylin in the arse and then the light bulb went off for me about some of the underlying themes of the book. For example, that all actions, whether they be well intended or not, have repercussions.

    BTW, I think the dragons are awesome. I loved the ending of this book. :)

  7. azteclady/Kerry - Methinks I will be avoiding Gaudy Nights ATM...it would no doubt drive me mad :)

    Donna - yes, I read the Sundred series about 7 years ago, while living in the UK. By the time I got the 6th book I was hopelessly lost...which is how I felt about Cast in Courtlight. I feel that the author has definitely pulled it back from the complexity of Cast in Courtlight though. And, yes, Nightshade is...a paradox *grin*

    heidenkind - this is your chance :) In all seriousness though, it's a great series. I just get lost, which is more me than the book :)

    Kris - that is a great point and something I completely missed. But that's a perfect synopsis. Everything has repercussions...so weigh your decision carefully. I feel I understand 'Names' a lot more now :) The ending was fantastic IMO! And I love Kaylin's understanding of 'hoarde' *grin*

  8. *Damn blogger eating my comments*

    One of the reasons why I like this series so much is because it seems to me to be essentially about the complexities of human nature and the 'grey' between the black and white. It really makes me think, which is something I love to take away from a book.

    Given that this is the first series I've read by this author - which is all about to change since I've just received my b'day spoilage from you (((HUGS))) - I wondered if this is something that she does in her work; that is, has some kind of underlying message/moral.

    I guess I'll find out. :)

  9. I've read the first book (Cast in Shadow?) and it was a real struggle to get through. Just couldn't get into it at all so haven't bothered with any more in the series.

  10. I've never read her, but that's why I love S Kenyon. Her world and plot building are amazing but I never wonder where I am or what the heck is going on b/c she weaves all those little details in seamlessly. I might have to check out Sagara though, she sounds like someone I'd like :)

  11. Kris - you have so hit the nail on the head about what the series is about. It is all those things :) I honestly think I read Cast in Courtlight at the wrong time...I should re-read it.

    Oh - the belated birthday present arrived. I hope you like it? I was so not subtle with my questions, was I? Am sure it can be changed if you want something else. But I thought since you liked Cast...

    ShellBell - I have to admit, there are certain times when I wouldn't pick the books up...I think when I read the second book I was in the wrong grame of mind and it was a struggle.

    Katie - The Chronicles of Elantra series is amazing. Like Kris said, Michelle Sagara really makes you think...nothing is black or white but varying shades of grey. It is a complex world though, but very interesting!

  12. So been there and done that with Marjorie Liu's Darkness Calls. I liked the book, but I could tell I was missing some major plot points, like when someone says inside joke - drove me crazy.
    This books sounds really interesting love the title, I'm a total title junkie.

  13. Smokinhotbooks - welcome :) I haven't read Darkness Calls. I did try and read the inital novella, but I got lost :) The Chronicles of Elantra series is fantastic - complicated, but fantastic. The first in the series is Cast in Shadow. If you do read it, I'd love to know what you think :)