Eleven books in and now I can safely say that I’m in love with Elantra and its citizens. And there’s always something new to grab your interest in each book. In this particular instalment it was a young girl from the future – basically here to do what Kaylin has always wanted to do. She comes along with the most unlikely, from what we’ve known so far, ally. And thanks to that ally we learned more about the Ancients and what the hell they were thinking creating the shadows. Well this was a bit of an overstatement cause we get a tiny little glimpse into what the shadows were to the Ancients. But it was enough to make me want to learn more. So when are we going to get a trip to Ravelon? I really, really want one. Though the Emperor should probably tag along as well if Kaylin is to have a chance at surviving.
Talking about the Emperor the poor guy has zero clue what to do with females. I get why Bellesdao is always angry with him. I’d be angry too if I was treated as a fragile breeding mare. Yet, I understand his position as well. Even if I want to smack him over the head because he is essentially responsible for that situation. I hope they do resolve their differences soon because I want baby dragons.
This isn’t light bedtime or beach reading… but if you’ve been following the series you know that by now. You struggle through the pages along with Kaylin, following her through the confusion, grasping for meaning and truth. Kaylin’s stubborn nature, along with her innate loyalty to family, are what keep her moving no matter how frustrating everything is, and ultimately everything rests upon her shoulders.
Ultimately it culminates in something far beyond the characters’ ken, stretching Kaylin more than ever and expanding the borders of reality far beyond anything known or even suspected; she must rely on intuition, despite the commands of the Emperor, the knowledge of the Arkon, the wishes of sentient buildings or her small and squawky familiar.
She has to understand why, and to do that she must understand herself too.
This eleventh adventure begins immediately after the events of the tenth. Elantra is still picking up the pieces after the battle. Her first case is to investigate the murder of three people in a normally quiet part of town. Bellusdeo, the only known female dragon and Kaylin’s friend, decides to tag along. Kaylin is chosen for the investigation because she can see magic. When she nears the scene, she is drawn to the house across the street where she meets a young girl named Kattea and her guardian Gilbert who is apparently one of the shadow creatures that the city fought against. That only begins the strangeness.
When they get to the crime scene, Kaylin can’t even see the bodies unless she looks through the wings of the small dragon who has adopted her. That is only one of the problems that Kaylin has. Lord Nightshade is missing from his fief and his brother who returned very much changed from his time in the Green is both worried about him and angry with him. He is also a danger to all unless he can learn to control the powers that he brought back home with him. Luckily, Kaylin, Bellusdeo, both Nightshade’s brother and a companion who came back with him are living in a house that is self-aware and who can control his out of control powers.
Among a sentient house, a shadow in human form, the Keeper losing control of his garden, mirrors spreading chaos, and spells cast for unknown reasons that are destroying the city, Kaylin has a very busy time of it. I tended to skim over much of the explanation of what Gilbert could do and the nature of reality and time that form the big problem in this book because I found it very confusing. But, still, the theme of loneliness woven into this book was compelling. Everyone was trying for a connection with others. Even Gilbert who isn’t human in any sense of the world suffered from an intense loneliness. I felt most sorry for Kattea who found herself in a past that wasn’t her past and ached to meet her parents despite the fact that they would not know her. Her strong connection with Gilbert was the key to him finding a way to do his job without wiping out all the lives in Elantra.
This is a very entertaining series for fans of epic fantasy. Kaylin is a human character in a world that has immortals, dragons, Leontines, Aerians and Tha’alani but, as the chosen one, she is the one that events seem to pivot around. Even though she doesn’t know what being the chosen one means, she has to act and make choices using her best instincts.
I cannot wait for the next instalment of the series. I would prefer if the writer would reduce the number of technical and magical explanation that made this particular book quite taxing to read.