Cast in Flight is the twelfth book in Michelle Sagara’s excellent Chronicles of Elantra series, and yes, this is the Aerian book. I was looking forward to this one because of all the different races in this high fantasy series, the Aerians are the nearest to main character Kaylin Neya’s heart. By this point in the series, I have frankly forgotten a lot of details from other books, but that’s all right, because it is easy enough to pick up the thread (despite some carryover of other plot lines, mainly featuring Nightshade and the Barrani, that I couldn’t remember).
The book begins with Kaylin welcoming a new guest/exile into her home, an Aerian and sergeant in the Hawks named Moran dar Carafel. Moran, like Kaylin, is quite special, a chosen for the Aerians, whose status among her people is in question. The plot unravels the mystery around Moran’s magic and how it functions for the Aerians that live in Elantra. I enjoyed the Aerians and their mythology less than I have enjoyed the other races that have been introduced, but that is partly due to the fact that we didn’t have a long-standing character relationship to hook us in (unlike with Nightshade and Teela for the Barrani or Bellusdeo and others for the dragons, or even Marcus for the Leontine). However, the enjoyable secondary plot line included Bellusdeo as Kaylin’s very-important-to-the-Emperor sidekick, roommate, and honorary Hawk.
As usual, Sagara provides us with dense and intricate world-building and satisfying character interactions in a book heavy on Kaylin-ruminations and a bit of esoteric magic. The high quality writing, terrific supporting characters, and well-realized world is what keeps me reading this series. I even love that the books are so long and talky and full of words about the primacy of words.
One of my frustrations, though, is Kaylin herself. She seems to have stagnated as a character. As I was reading this book I realized that Kaylin behaved as though she were a teenager, and I am really ready for her to become an adult. I hope that she will mature more (and soon), given all the people and situations that she has encountered. The episodic nature of the series shouldn’t preclude Kaylin’s overarching character growth. Until then, I will keep on reading for all the other things I like in this series.