SOMETHING IS WAKING
The fiefs that exist at the heart of the city of Elantra are home to sentient Towers that guard the world against the incursion of Shadow. But between the fiefs exists the gray world of the border zone. In it, geography changes between one passage across a border and the next. The rules of magic are different there—and yet somehow familiar to Kaylin Neya.
When a Shadow escapes, Kaylin must find out how…and why. If Shadows can breach the barrier erected by the Towers, the whole of Elantra will be devoured. It’s happened on other worlds. Bellusdeo, Kaylin’s Dragon companion, absolutely believes it can happen on theirs.
The border zone holds secrets and ancient histories, and people are gathering there in search of its power. Without even understanding what that power is, or why it exists, Kaylin is in a desperate race against time to find those secrets first. She doesn’t know who her enemies are. She doesn’t know how many she’ll face. But she won’t face them alone.
Forgotten history is rediscovered in Sagara's well-crafted 15th Chronicles of Elantra fantasy (after Cast in Oblivion) which successfully advances the mythology of the long-running series. Kaylin Neya, who works in the land of Elantra's version of law enforcement; the dragon Bellusdeo; and their friends suspect that a fieflord is corrupt. Their joint investigation into his crimes takes them to the area known as the border zones, a liminal space where reality has different rules. They happen upon a mysterious building and are spontaneously transported inside where they discover an endless loop of repeating hallways. Trapped by this maze-like interior, Kaylin uses the powers she's still learning to control in an attempt to communicate with the building itself. Her magic summons a man named Killian who helps the team escape. When Kaylin and Bellusdeo report these strange occurrences to the dragon leader, he wants to see for himself. Returning, they find they aren't the only ones hoping to access the building, and their search to understand its origins merges with their initial investigation into the evil fieflord. Series readers will appreciate the complex plot and many returning faces in the vast cast of characters. This magical thrill-ride is a treat.
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 Liked
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.