Canadian Japanese author Michelle Sagara West has become best known for her work on the Chronicles of Elantra series of novels that have spanned over ten books so far, with two more to be released shortly. Writing under both the names Michelle Sagara and Michelle West, she been producing fantasy novels for some time now, which she began during the early nineties right up until today, creating a well rounded legacy for herself. Living in Toronto, Canada, she now lives with her husband and also works part-time at the renowned Bakka Bookstore there, a specialist in science-fiction and fantasy which has had greats such as Robert J. Sawyer and Cory Doctorow come through, now including her within their impressive hall of fame. Focusing solely on these genres herself, she continues to uphold this influential line-up of important writers all hailing from there, something she carries on to this very day.
Started in 2005, this particular series features the exploits of one Kaylin, a young woman who has a complex history behind her, as she begins to undergo some of her greatest trials yet. Following her through this uniquely fantastical universe, the reader is then taken upon a journey as they’re transported into the dynamic environment of an urban fantasy that’s witnessed through her eyes utilizing the single character perspective. Whilst they’re largely procedural in nature, they do still carry a lot of arcing themes and narratives throughout, giving the reader a firm understanding of who she is and what sort of world she inhabits, along with all the codes and conventions has set into place. Building up a keen fan-base over the years, she has managed to create a whole universe where they know what to expect providing a sense of familiarity with them that continues to enthrall and entertain her ever loyal readers.
Cast in Shadow
Originally published in August, 2005, this was to be the first book that introduced the character of Private Kaylin Neya, a young and resourceful woman who is about to embark on her journey as a member of the legendary Hawks. Establishing her backstory and personality, as well as creating the tone of the world around her this book sets about building upon this premise for the reader. Being the first in a long-lasting series, this helped provide the audience an idea of much of what was to come within the many subsequent books that were to follow in succession afterwards.
Leaving the crime-ridden streets of Nightshade behind her, Kaylin Neya is looking to start afresh and create a new life for herself, far away from the troubled place of her tumultuous upbringing, building a whole new life in the process. It appears someone, or something, has followed her though, something which she was determined to flee and leave behind, something that was evil enough to murder children leaving a brown mark upon their skin. After escaping she has learned how to fight for herself and read, joining the much sought after Hawks in the process, all whilst attempting to put her past well and truly behind her. Can she ever truly leave a danger such as this behind, or will it come back to haunt her? Just who exactly was committing the murders and to what length will they go to to keep their dastardly secret from being uncovered? What will become of Kaylin as she finds herself cast in shadow?
Cast in Courtlight
The second book in the series and the direct follow-up to first, this carries on from where the last left off, as Kaylin must deal with her next assignment from the Hawks and come up against an even bigger challenge than before. Initially published in July, 2006, it was to build upon wait had already been laid down previously and firmly established, as it seeks to develop the complexities of the world within and around her. With many readers already knowing what to expect, this was to be the novel which really allowed Sagara to explore Kaylin as a now firmly rooted character.
Set this time in the Barrani High Court, Kaylin Neya must now enter into a world that she is entirely alien and unaccustomed to, one which covers over its dark and deadly secrets with sparkling jewels and soft silk. Infiltrating this hidden society she must uncover the truth and learn the truth following her recent victory over over a hideous evil that led her on this most unexpected path. Being careful not to say a single word out of place, it is up to her to deal with this latest task presented to her by the ever complex world of Elantra. How will she manage this most dangerous portion of her journey and what exactly will she discover within this seemingly clandestine society? Can she truly compose herself before the might of the high court? Just what will she do when she finds that she’s been cast in courtlight?
The Chronicles of Elantra Series
With over ten books in the series so far and counting, it appears this particular series shows no signs of stopping anytime soon as they continue to grow from strength-to-strength. Starting with Cast in Shadow in 2005 right up to Cast in Flame released in 2014, there’s two more books set to be released very shortly, as Sagara plans to keep the franchise going for some time yet. November 2015 is to be the release date of Cast in Honor followed by the publication of Cast in Flight, which is the working title she has for the novel so far.
Her popularity with both critics and readers is growing both nationally and internationally year by year, as her career and now firmly cemented legacy continues to build ever further. Delighting her audiences with her stories of Kaylin as she serves a mysterious group known as the Hawks, she charts the many pitfalls she must come up against in order to prove herself. This is something which that shall continue on into the future, providing her readers with many installments yet, as there’s plenty still to come with her audience constantly growing every day.Book Series In Order » Characters » Chronicles of Elantra