Monday, November 12, 2012

Cast in Ruin by Michelle Sagara

Bodies are turning up in the fief of Tiamaris. Now, it's not unusual for bodies to be found in the fiefs, but when seven in a row are of the identical person, that's a cause for concern. Kaylin and Severn are called away from Kaylan's lessons in dragon etiquette to aid in the investigation.

We finally get a fairly long digression by Sanabalis about the history of the founding of the Empire, and the establishment of the rule of law there, as well as a great deal more about dragons, in general, than we've previously seen. I really need to go back and take a glance at some of the earlier books, but it does seem as if Sagara has focused on revealing the aspects of a particular race in each novel. I can recall, for certain, the one that dealt almost entirely with the Tha'alani, and the one that dealt with the Lions, and there was Cast in Courtlight, about the Barrani...maybe some follow up later.

I've read a lot of fantasy books, and it seems to me that the use of magic which Sagara describes here that Kaylin has is unique, in my experience. Most of what she does with it seems to take a long time to develop, has a great deal of visuals attached to it, and manifests through her emotions in a controlled, though sometimes unexpected, way. Most spellcasters in modern fantasy are more the wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am types, with a lot of flash for a few words and gestures, you know?

There's certainly a wry twist here, worthy of someone like Tolkien, in that we see the avatar of the Tower of Tiamaris' fief, Tara, going about in grubby gardening clothes much of the time. A bit of Radagast the Brown, perhaps, concerned with the smallest of living things.

And I still have another installment of this series on the shelf, awaiting my attention.

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