Book Review: Sword and Shadow by Michelle Sagara

Reviewed: April 19th, 2022
Released: February 22nd, 2022
Genre: Fantasy

Beyond the Emperor’s law
In the city of Elantra, the law is upheld by a few groups, and the most feared are the Wolves—the Emperor’s executioners. The newest member of this elite force is Severn Handred.

Granted a leave of absence to pursue information about his unknown past, Severn joins a mission to an enclave well outside the boundaries of the Empire. And he will be in danger the entire time. Still, the instincts that led him to the Wolves and the sense of duty that keeps him there can’t be discarded as easily as the tabard he wears.

While he’s in the heart of the West March, enmeshed in a tangled web of mysteries that have been held for centuries, Severn’s belief in justice is going to be tested. It’s one mortal man and his single ally against a community of immortals who will kill to keep their secrets. But they don’t know who they’re up against.

Helen’s thoughts: 5/5

Severn is one of my favourite chacters from the Elantra series. He was always so mysterious and competent. An excellent foil to Kaylin’s utter scatterbrained existence. I am so glad we are getting the chance to explore more of Severn’s past.

I will advise new readers to Michelle Sagara’s books, that you are best off reading her Cast in series books first, as this book will confuse you if you don’t understand the Barrani culture and how they and the mortals fit into the Emperor’s hoard.

Sagara’s writing is amazing. I love her use of prose, her descriptions, what is omitted from the dialogue can sometmes be just as informative as what is said, but as a result some of the conversations do get a bit convoluted. Sagara likes to play with words and nuances, and this book is full of them.

I enjoyed the return to the Green, for those of us who have read her other books, though I felt there were a lot of new names that we haven’t met in the Cast books. I must admit I am still confused about what Severn’s origins means. Without trying to give spoilers, we know he isn’t Barrani, it is said multiple times, so what is he, then? This book still doesn’t spell it out.

As a fan of Michelle Sagara, this book is a worthy sequel. Sagara weaves a complex world with intrigue and danger at every turn. One for those who like to read into stories and draw your own conclusions.

About the author:

Michelle Sagara writes as Michelle Sagara, Michelle West, and has been published as Michelle Sagara West. She lives in Toronto with her family and Way Too Many Books. She does read ebooks, but started reading when ebooks didn’t exist, and can’t quite bear to part with the physical books, which she has been known to weep over, throw, or clutch tightly like a gleeful, maniacal fiend.

When she was six, she believed that every book in existence was written and drawn by hand, and she was very, very frustrated that her attempts to write a book never looked as perfect as the books she loved, no matter how much she practiced writing the letters.

Oddly enough, as a writer she has learned that it is impossible to write the perfect book, but she keeps trying.

Purchase via Amazon

Link to book on Amazon UK: eBook | Paperback | Audio

Link to book on Amazon US: eBook | Paperback | Audio

As an Amazon Associate I may benefit from purchases made using these links.

If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my epic fantasy Sentinal series. As a new threat against Remargaren is discovered, only one man can wake the ancient guards who can protect them, only he doesn’t know how. Start the adventure and stay for the journey.

Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring. Find out more about my books, my characters and advanced notice of when the next one will be published.

Success! You're on the list.