Usually, when a book or series tries to break my brain and my ability to comprehend what’s going on, time travel is involved. Or we’ve got planet-wide politics. Or something else just as complex. Cast in Flame is a little different. The part I have trouble following is the part where certain things and characters exist on multiple levels of reality. Especially when other characters then manage to travel between those levels of reality.
Did that explanation make any sense? Because it’s the best I’m going to be able to do. So let’s go to the more mundane center of this particular book. House-hunting.
Back at the beginning of Cast in Peril Kaylin’s apartment was destroyed by an Arcane Bomb. That is the same apartment Caitlin found for her during “Cast in Moonlight” and which she’d lived in for seven years. After that, she was a resident in the Imperial Palace, due to the importance of her roommate. But what Kaylin desperately needs is some privacy and some space in which she can be herself and relax completely, away from the expectations of others.
Needless to say, apartment-hunting is a pain in the ass when you have one or more Dragons in tow. All of this is before Teela’s friends, who are not Barrani by the standards of the old and wise, start inadvertently making trouble. Well, they started earlier, but I’m talking about the point in the book where it gets serious.
We’re talking blood in the street, the whole of the Dragon Court flying, the Halls of Law emptied, Barrani warband kind of serious. We’re talking upping the stakes for the remainder of the series serious.
AND AS IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH.
Then there’s the last chapter. It’s one of those final chapters that I immediately had to go and reread, the first time I read it. Because it’s a point that has been foreshadowed from the very start, even if not quite in this way. This is another clear indicator that the series as a whole is taking an abrupt turn, increasing the tension and excitement a reader may experience. But in this case, it’s a good thing. Really, it’s good for everyone involved.
The scene which I’m carefully not spoiling reminds me a great deal of the scene at the end of Hell’s Foundations Quiver, book eight in Safehold. I called that one a cliffhanger. The last chapter of Cast in Flame is not really a cliffhanger, but it does open the door wide for some new possibilities.
It’s simply a shame that I think the next book may be my least favorite in the series thus far.