I originally read Cast in Courtlight when it came out in 2006. I’ve loved this series but have only read through book #12. I thought, why not listen to them and start over? Narrated by one of my favorite voiceover talents, Khristine Hvam, I am currently on book #2 and enjoying this return to Elantra tremendously.
In Cast in Courtlight, 20 year old Kaylin Neya is invited to the Barrani court by her fellow Hawk and Barrani, Teela. The Lord of the March, the son of the Lord of the HIgh Court (think king of the Barrani) is sick and Kaylin’s healing skills may be the only thing to save him. She does indeed save him from a deeper sleep and becomes keyuthe (sp?) or friend to the Lord of the March, giving her status among the Barrani. For being a human, Kaylin has “friends” in high places and this one draws her into a magical political plot that only she can figure out and conquer.
Kaylin considers herself as just a human, but the magic inside of her is transforming her into something “other”. She doesn’t understand it but has great instincts in choosing when and when not to use it, you’d think the people around her like the Lord of the Hawks, Barrani, and Lord Sanabalis a dragon highlord, would give her a little leeway. She hasn’t steered wrong so far. In fact, the only person who seems to trust her completely is her partner Severn, who was her best friend when she was a child and has just re-entered her life as a Hawk.
There are so many intricacies to the plot in this novel and I don’t want to give anything away by accident by my over-enthusiastic regard for both the author and narrator. I will say that my favorite fantasy heroines are usually those who don’t see themselves as anything other than “normal” but who manage to do heroic things almost by accident. Kaylin is that kind of heroine. She is somewhat mouthy but has only the best intentions, but her actions usually find her over stepping boundaries. However, in the case of what is going on in the High Court in this novel, her overstepping ends up saving the day again with she and her friends coming out on top. I’d think that after a few of these kinds of incidents that her friends would start trusting her judgement a little bit more, but they can’t seem to overlook her youthfulness. I think at some point they’ll catch on.
Khristine Hvam does an amazing job narrating these novels. As with any series that I listen to, I can find hints of other favorite characters she’s voiced from other authors, but the story is so different that I quickly forget she was also Jane Yellowrock. Her talent is such that you can quickly immerse yourself in the characterizations and story. If you’re looking for a great fantasy series with an intricately built world, give the Chronicles of Elantra a try. I really enjoy the growth of the characters and the action-filled scenes, I think you will too!
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