Stars: 3.5 out of 5.
Just like in books 2 and 3, we discover the origin and secrets behind yet another race populating Elantra. This time, it’s the Leontines. Marcus is in trouble, and as usual, Kaylin is in the middle of it all. Oh, and did I mention that there are repercussions from what happened in the end of the previous book? Big tidal wave, anyone? Well, humans are wont to misunderstand everything, so they now think that the race of telepaths summoned the wave to try and murder them, instead of being there to try and stop it. Since they already fear them, hatred isn’t that big of a step. The whole city is a powder keg waiting for a spark to explode into civil war and bloodshed.
I love how little things mentioned in previous books come to play in the consequent books in the series. That one scene in the previous book where Kaylin came to help a lone Leontine to give birth in book 3 is front and center in this book. And we finally get an explanation why that mother was completely alone with noone to watch over her and her new baby (something unheard of for this race).
I already mentioned in reviews for previous books that the world of Elantra is fascinating, so I really enjoy uncovering a new aspect of it with each book. It’s also wonderful to see how all the pieces tie together into one complex story. For example, the Outcaste dragon from book 1 plays a major role in this book as well. We we are probably not done with him yet.
I also enjoy seeing Kaylin gather a little found family around her. It’s wonderful to see a protagonist who isn’t a lone wolf. She has friends, surrogate parents (Marcus and his pridelea), even siblings (the foundlings hall), and now an adopted son. She’s come a long way from the almost feral child from the fiefs, terrified of her own powers and traumatized by her past. Now she has something to fight for, and people she cares deeply about, and who care about her.
My complaint about this book is Kaylin herself. While she grows and mature in some ways, she remains just as ignorant and pigheaded in others, and that’s starting to get on my nerves. For example, she is told repeatedly by her teacher and other very powerful people that she needs to master her magic. Her life literally depends on it. Yet she is less then diligent in her studies. Or just general knowledge of the city around her? Kaylin sees times and times again that she is severely lacking some basic knowledge of history, racial differences and etiquette, and that ignorance landed her in hot water more than once… yet she doesn’t seem to want to do anything to remedy this. Why? She is a smart and resourceful woman. She should jump on the opportunity to broaden her horizons, but instead she grumbles and moans about it, and never really pays attention to what everyone is teaching her. This is becoming rather annoying.
My other complaint is with Severn, or rather the lack of any evolution for him as a character. He is a wonderful character, and I would like to know more about him, but as it stands. He has no agency of his own, he is just an extension of Kaylin. The silent friend and protector who seems to not have a life of his own. That’s a great disservice to a wonderful character. I hope he gets to act more independently in consecutive books.
I also would like to know what happened to Kaylin in the six month between when she fled Nightshade and when she joined the Hawks.
All in all though, I’m still very invested with this series and I want to see more of that world.