We’re back to the Barrani. They are fairly omnipresent throughout the series, not only as one of the two immortal races, but also as featuring a number of main characters. We can theorize that while a single book is sufficient to cover mortal races such as Leontines and Tha’alani, the immortals require multiple books to introduce us to their far more complex cultures. And since the Dragons are far more secretive – and fewer in number – it must be the Barrani.
Cast in Peril I tend to view as part one of two. Yes the series is a whole, but like a TV series, there can be longer stories than can be adequately contained by a single episode or book. In this instance, Cast in Peril is the first half of Kaylin’s journey to the West March. Or rather, this book contains nearly all of the trip, and the next book, Cast in Sorrow tells what happens when she actually manages to arrive.
It’s amazing how many honors are heaped upon Kaylin, and she wants none of them, in the end. But many of those so-called honors come with responsibilities, and Cast in Sorrow is where she discharges one of the largest thus far. The shadows of one event in the past have hung over many of the main characters for the entire series: we simply didn’t know it until this pair of books brought it to light.
Let me remind you that, aside from “Cast in Moonlight”, the whole of Elantra has taken place in less than a year. It has been mere months since the incidents of Cast in Shadow and this is the eighth book I’ve just finished.
Really makes you remember that “may your life be interesting” is considered to be a potent curse.
On an unrelated note, you may or may not have noticed that my writing style has a tendency to shift. I can confirm that it directly related to my reading material. Because Kaylin is such a straightforward character, it’s not usually so noticeable. But when most of your book involves Barrani who refuse to be blunt when circumlocution is far more amusing, well, I tend to pick it up for the next interval when I write. Sometimes even when I talk. It’s normal, for me, and frankly I think it’s something I should try to take advantage of. Of course, it’s not always easy to plan out what I’m reading when, as you may have noticed. I certainly didn’t expect Safehold to take absolutely all of November. I’ve considered dedicating December to Michelle Sagara West though.
Elantra is not going to take me too much longer overall. In fact, I hope to finish it before the weekend, as I’ll be going out of town again. I will still be reading, and I still intend to post entries here when I finish those books. But figuring out what books to take on a trip is always a special challenge for me. I like to take things that will be contained by the time constraints of the trip. I do not like to be in the middle of a series when I depart. And, of course, I need to consider how much space and weight the books will take up, as well as how many of them I’ll need. It varies based on the series of course, and for those longer than a weekend I tend towards fewer and longer books.
The last time I went on this particular trip, I took the first five Dune books by Frank Herbert. It was the first time I’d read any of them and as selections went, it was a poor one. I finished the first book. I did not manage to finish the second, even though it was far shorter. I fully understand and appreciate that the first, at least, is a science fiction classic. It’s just not a book that I have any real interest in. It’s just as well that I also had the Shape-Shifter Chronicles in my bag. I finished all four of them. The author says the fifth is currently with the editor, so I am rather excited. She hopes it’ll be availble at the convention in February!