Cast in Ruin (Chronicles of Elantra #7) (*****)
by Michelle Sagara West
I've posted on several of the books in the Chronicles of Elantra series, and it still rates as one of my favorites. Cast in Ruin is the most recent publication, and unlike some series, each new title is as fantastic as the last.
Elantra is a fantasy world filled with strange people groups, including people with wings, people who resemble lions, elf-type people with a superiority complex, and dragons who can make themselves look like people. And there are some humans, too. In the last book, a new race entered Elantra through some kind of portal after losing their home to the same shadowy menace that plagues the outer fiefs of Elantra.
Private Kaylin Neya works as a sort of police officer/detective upholding the Dragon Emperor's laws, and when she's not walking her beat and investigating crimes, she tends to save the world a lot. Mysterious tattoos cover her body and allow her do work magic that no one understands and no one is able to duplicate. This magic generally means she's the first, last, and best line of defense against the aforementioned shadowy menace.
These books read, to me, like a procedural drama. You follow along as Kaylin goes from one place to the next, investigating the current mayhem and acting instinctively against the threats to Elantra (which is a good thing, since she knows just as little about the markings and her gifts as anyone else - and possibly less than some). And while it's not incredibly fast pace, it does have a consistent pace, and I had a hard time putting it down.
In Cast in Ruin, Kaylin is sent to investigate 7 identical dead bodies, and not identical as in twins, but identical as in everything about the corpses is exactly the same. And with the shadows encroaching on the fief, Kaylin doesn't have a lot of time to figure it out.
I would totally recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy novels or is looking to test the fantasy waters. They are awesome!