the Author

Cast in Conflict: Spoiler Discussion Thread

Posted in writing.

It goes without saying that a spoiler discus­sion thread is for discussing the events in the book — so people who hate spoilers (I don’t, my long suffering husband does) should prob­ably avoid the comments here.

45 Responses to Cast in Conflict: Spoiler Discussion Thread

  1. Nicki Himmel says:

    I read the book in one day and you never disap­point me. Loved it.

  2. This is my favorite book in this series in awhile. I loved that we finally brought together the various fief lords and from a plot perspec­tive covered a ton of ground and brought in many char­ac­ters. It was fast paced and really fun and I made my husband leave me alone for several hours while I finished it 😄. 

    I espe­cially loved the addi­tion of Robin. What a great new char­acter as Kaylin is at her best when protecting young kids. I was surprised to learn that she was still only 20 years old though. Talk about a dense life!

  3. Tchula Ripton says:

    Michelle, I just finished Cast in Conflict last night! What a great story (although I confess I’d forgotten some of what happened in Cast in Wisdom, so I should’ve prob­ably re-read that one first.) I really liked the Wevarans.

    Person­ally, while I under­stand the spider “cringe” phobia, I’ve always loved them. Prob­ably because Char­lot­te’s Web was the first book I read at six-years-old where I cried buckets because she died after saving Wilbur. I remember tear­fully asking my mom, “Why did she have to die? She was so nice! Why did the writer do that?” So I’ve always had a soft spot for arach­nids. Although I do admit, I’d be freaked out if I came face-to-face with ones the size of Wevarans! xD

    I like how you resolved Bellus­deo’s emotional state, and explained Emme­ri­an’s. It was very believ­able to me, and I hope they’ll find a good reso­lu­tion in the future. I also liked learning more about Durandel, Night­shade’s Tower’s Avatar, and hope to under­stand more about their rela­tion­ship, too. Liatt and Durrant were inter­esting as well. Liatt having a daughter with whom she wants to inherit the Tower is a new idea for the series, and I wonder how that will all play out. And Mando­ran’s inter­ac­tions with Kaylin made me lol as usual. I swear, they are so similar and I find it highly amusing that this annoys Kaylin at times. Teela and Tain must be laughing uproar­i­ously! Another enjoy­able read. Thank you!

  4. Jennifer Lynn BOSWELL says:

    This really was a great book! I usually reread the whole series when a new one comes out but I couldn’t wait that long. I’m with Kaylin, happy for Bellusdeo but sad she won’t be living there anymore at the same time. Change is hard!

  5. br60103 says:

    I have been wondering about the economics of autonomous build­ings. Do they provide food and things magi­cally? Does Kaylin pay rent?
    I also like Robin. I would have liked a scene where his parents find out what he is doing now.

  6. Anjali says:

    Read the book. And then reread it again!! Iv read the series over 10 times by now. And every time I need some laughter and famil­iarity I turn to the Cast series.
    It’s like every book after the cohorts rescue is about rescuing more people who have faded from the world. Seems to me like slowly Kaylin and Co. are bringing together various races and char­ac­ters who almost always end up becoming “family” to kaylin.
    Love the inter­ac­tion between Terrano, Mandoran and Kaylin. It’s hilar­ious and brings much comic relief from the some­time inten­sity of other characters.
    Person­ally I want more of Kaylin and Sedarias. The new old high halls and the new char­ac­ters there. Kaylin and Night­shade. Evanton, Teela & Tain & Marcus. All the old lovable characters.
    I know you can’t bring them all back all the time. But such are the char­ac­ters you have created that I can’t seem to not want them more LOL.
    Awesome writing as always. Love the series. The only real gripe I have with you Michelle is…. I wish you could release a new book every month!!!
    Well done as the former Arkon would say.

  7. E_ says:

    Anyone else think Kaylin is slowly influ­encing the Dragon Court to find their horses? I almost feel sorry for the Emperor.

  8. Naomi Booth says:

    Unlike the other responses, I found this book harder reading. I enjoyed reading more about the Towers and the spiders. It seemed a little disjointed at times but that may be due to all the inter­rup­tions when I was trying to read it. I loved the hints that Liatt’s daughter may have walking diffi­cul­ties and the Outcast may not be fully respon­sible for his actions. Is the next book going to have Kaylin trying to save the Outcast? Or will Sedarias find a way to solve her own dilemma?
    Looking forward to the next exciting instalment

  9. Tchula Ripton says:

    @E_says Auto­cor­rect strikes again! (horses, lol) I think Kaylin as Chosen is defi­nitely a prime mover of strange events and actions, which is pushing the Dragon Court, and the Barrani to change. I suspect Bellus­deo’s captaining of the Tower is not truly her hoard yet. She is wedded to the war against Shadow and the Outcaste right now, but the war or desire for revenge cannot be her hoard (other­wise Karri­amis would not have accepted her). I think what she will build with him, and hope­fully Emmerian, after the war is over, will consti­tute her hoard. That, in turn, will lead to Emmerian finding his hoard, which is to be with her.

    I assume Sana­bal­is’s hoard is his students. The Chan­cel­lor’s is knowl­edge, which the Acad­emia embodies, and Diarmat has his duty to the Emperor. Tiamaris has Tara, and the Emperor, of course, has Elantra. Can’t think of anyone I missed, unless some new Dragons awaken. Don’t think we’ll see any born for quite awhile yet into the future (if we see it at all).

  10. E_ says:

    Auto­cor­rect gets me every­time @Tchula. And yes…that should be hoard. Which almost changed to heard this time.

  11. cgbookcat1 says:

    I tried to stretch this book out over several days but ended up reading the whole thing within 24 hours. I loved the new Wevarin, the idea of having the fief lords meet to strate­gize, and the upcoming changes for Bellusdeo and Emmerian. And I want to know under what circum­stances dragons change color! Presum­ably the blue to silver tran­si­tion means some­thing important.

  12. KScappace says:

    One of my greatest plea­sures in this book was Serralyn and her reac­tion to being able to attend the Acad­emia. She even develops a friend­ship with Robin. It seems to me, in a way, that Serralyn is what the Barrani were before the wars and the corrup­tion of the High Halls. Also, I wonder if Maggaron will go with Bellusdeo? If he doesn’t what will happen to him? I don’t think he can rejoin his people. Each new book leads me more and more to the feeling that ulti­mately Kaylin will have to heal Ravellon. 

    I would love to under­stand the thoughts and emotions of other char­ac­ters, like the new Arkon, Teela, and Tain espe­cially, about Kaylin in her current state. I am always a bit thrown by the lack of respect she is afforded. Not just because of the marks but also because of what she has accom­plished with them. It seems that many of the people around her might know some­thing about what the marks mean and yet they with­hold the infor­ma­tion while insisting that she is being derelict in not learning magic. It seems clear that the magic she wields is completely different from that used by anyone else. 

    So, I would love to see a short story or novella about that. Like maybe she’s kidnapped and we learn how the char­ac­ters truly feel about her while they are trying to rescue her? Some­thing anyway. Cause seri­ously, they all need a slap upside the head.

  13. Kat says:

    I loved it so much! I loved Bellusdeo growing and having some reso­lu­tion. I hope we see some­thing similar with the Cohort soon. I liked that Kaylin real­ized that she misses Severn, and am hoping that he will take more promi­nence in the next book(s). I also want to learn more about the Weavarin and maybe some other races that we haven’t met. I also love the idea that the outcast dragon may be controlled by shadow rather than evil. I’m inter­ested to see where that thought leads. I’m also fasci­nated by getting to know the indi­vid­uals who became the hearts of the towers and how they interact with the captains/ lords.

  14. Jamie says:

    There was so much to digest with this install­ment — and I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface with Ravellon. I can’t wait for Kaylin to unravel the mystery behind why Ravellon is the way it is and whether she can free all its one-off shadows… how many of them are trapped and how much is it Shadow? 

    And Hope mentioning the deal again…things were never easy for Kaylin, but I feel like we’re going to get our “when push comes to shove” moment soon. 

    I so love this series, and all the rela­tion­ships. It was great to get a clearer picture of some of the more back­ground char­ac­ters too, as well as deeper dive into some of the new char­ac­ters intro­duced in the last book. Now I just need to go back and re-read this series again and again until the next one comes out!

  15. Paula Lieberman says:

    This was going through my head during the scenes in the Libraries.… 

    I’m a child of the Library,” by Piers Cawley [From 2011, though it was the past year and a half that I first heard it, sung by Piers live on Zoom] 

  16. Chels says:

    Sooo good :). I love that the towers and actual people, with emotions and attitudes 😂. 

    I cant wait to see the dragon rela­tion­ship dynamics!

    Always an amazing read, thanks Michelle!!

  17. Grace says:

    I liked meeting all the fieflords, but was hoping Night­shade would be a major char­acter again. It was nice for Ynpharion to put on an appearance.
    Has anyone else thought that the Arcan­ists are being strangely quiet about all the recent events?
    Other stuff we haven’t seen much of: the human caste court/nobility. And what ever happened to Roshan Kaylarr?

  18. Tchula Ripton says:

    @Grace I found the discus­sions of the different parenting styles in Barrani fami­lies inter­esting. It makes sense to me that Night­shade had a good rela­tion­ship with his parents, and desper­ately wanted to get his brother back from the Hallion now that we know his family was more loving than a family like Sedari­as’s. Hearing about Ynphar­i­on’s family also helped me under­stand and like him better. It was a relief to know that most Barrani feel that Sedari­as’s family was extreme in terms of disci­pline and compe­ti­tion, and that this is not the norm, even in the fami­lies closest to the High Halls. I’m excited to see how things will change, now that the High Halls have changed, and Sedarias has come to power.

    Because Night­shade loved his family – even if no Barrani would state it so boldly – that makes me believe that he wants to recreate that for himself somehow, with Kaylin in the role of Erenne. Which we don’t fully under­stand, but I’m guessing it has some­thing to do with being able to pull Names from the Lake, which Night­shade wouldn’t be able to do other­wise, being outcaste.

    I do find it sad that Teela doesn’t ever want chil­dren. I can under­stand her fears, but don’t believe for a minute anyone she would choose to marry would ever do the things her father did. Someone like Tain certainly wouldn’t, and they’ve basi­cally helped raise Kaylin between them and the rest of the Hawks. I admit, I don’t under­stand the details of Teela and Tain’s rela­tion­ship inter­ac­tions. Some­times I think they are or were inti­mate, some­times I don’t know – maybe they are just part­ners at work. But Teela, as a Power, at least has choice, and since Barrani live as long as they want to, unless they’re killed, she has time to change her mind, or not.

  19. Jazzlet says:

    I loved that we have several living wevaren, rather than one library ‘preserved’ protector, and getting to know more about the other fief lords. I am intrigued by the hints that Liarts daughter has walking diffi­cul­ties, maybe other health prob­lems, but that Liart wants her to inherit the Tower when holding the Tower agaist Ravellon means fighting. It was lovely to see Robin so happy with the Acad­emia running as it should, and making friends with Serralyn. So much more too.

  20. Shadowkindrd says:

    I am now offi­cially Team Mandoran.

  21. Agustine says:

    Thank you another awesome book, Michelle. XD I’ve just finished reading CiC n I honestly love it. I love the Wevarans, I love how Sedarias sort her fears through (with loving supports n sincere accep­tance from the cohorts), I love how Kaylin misses Severn, n how she was enlight­ened abt how Severn feels through what she learns about Emme. I’m happy that Bell finally captain the ex Candallar, but kinda also a bit sad that she moves out of Helen. And also Mandoran and Terrano; gosh, I love ‘Em! N to see Terrano who will also apply for Acad­emia is great. I’ M looking forward to reading more of your books. How many books left for this series that you have in mind, Michelle? I kinda wish for forever, but wishes seldom comes true. Grins. Crossing my fingers for at least another 4.or 5 books, though. XD

    Anyway, stay safe n stay healthy, Michelle, we’re now facing a tsunami of Covid infec­tion here in Indonesia. Hospi­tals over­load, medics are infected n dies, n the fune­real services (ambu­lance n ceme­tery) oper­ates 24 hrs nonstop, n still not enough. Hope things will get better soon, n I’m still waiting for my 2nd dose of AZ vaccine, but I suspected that I may not get it in time, due to current govt concen­trates more on getting people to get 1st dose vaccine, to create herd immu­nity. Well then, let’s just hope for the best for now. =)

    Have a wonderful, blessed day to you n your family, n also to all fellow readers of Michelle ‘s series, wher­ever you are. Stay safe! =)

  22. Paula Lieberman says:

    What’s Annarion been up to [or down to]? He’s caused quite a bit of psychodrama and unde­sir­able outcomes in recent books, but was only the most periph­eral of pres­ences in Cast in Conflict [as opposed to Mandoran, Terrano, and other less, um, ordi­narily flam­boyant members of the cohort than Terrano, Mandoran, and Annariaon…

  23. gregbanks3624 says:

    16 books in and Elianne has not learned a thing. She wants to believe she is not stupid yet contin­u­ally does the same things, always and forever seat of the pantsing. This was truly disap­pointing book consid­ering a monu­mental battle was ongoing between enti­ties that had the power of life or death are back­grounded, by a new species, two less than signif­i­cant Baranni what could be construed to be an insane child. Don’t get me wrong the handling of Durant and Liatt and their denizens made for an inter­esting sidebar. Emmerian, Beelusdeo, Tiamaris, Hope played well who was the second blue dragon or was it just a slip of MS’swriting pattern?

  24. Tchula Ripton says:

    @gregbanks I dunno…I thought it was really awesome when Kaylin used a rune of silence to basi­cally shut up three arguing dragons. Doesn’t get more boss than that! ;-P

    And I liked that she relied less on Hope this time around, too.

    Can you mention the chapter or page of the second blue dragon? I don’t recall that, as the outcaste is ebony and Kami­aris is “ghost­like” or silver in appear­ance, but I’ve only read the book through once so far.

  25. Lisa B. says:

    Excel­lent read as always! It feels like the overall series plot is leading up to some­thing and it was cool for them to finally reach Ravellon, even if that wasn’t the intended result of their actions. It was nice to visit the former Arkon in his new role and learn more about Emmerian. I do wish that there could have been a little more inter­ac­tion from the High Halls and the Emperor and I am anxiously awaiting the next time they meet in person. 

    I re-read Oblivion and Wisdom quickly before picking this one up to refresh things in my mind (terrible memory and all that — makes re-reading super fun though!) and managed to accom­plish nothing but reading for the past week or so and can’t wait for your next work!

    I have left the first book of the series on my husband’s coffee table and I am very quietly waging a war until he picks it up to start reading.. Until then I am pleased to find a spot to chat about these books! 

    Thank you for your writing!

  26. I really enjoyed this story… was glad to see some of Night­shade, but was hoping for more.

    I read Severn’s story and will read his next one as well, but I can’t ever feel ok if they get in a rela­tion­ship. If she had babies with him, I can’t see how she’d ever be able to trust him completely!

    I’d rather Night­shade because at least it’s clear that he had a healthier family situ­a­tion and real love with his brother.… makes more sense and no ugly history of murdering Kaylins chil­dren to boot. 

    Also, was so excited that they were able to bring back so much from Ravellon! I know the Chan­cellor will be ecstatic… but who will keep the books? The wevaran, the Arkon, or the Academia???

    Was a bitter­sweet moment when Belusdeo finally claims her own home… will miss having her around Kaylin all the time, but so happy she has a chance for happi­ness and romance also! I’m so relieved that it’s Emmerian and not the Emperor, but also worried how the Emperor is going to react. 

    So many issues are left open for the next novel and I can’t wait!

  27. gregbanks3624 says:

    So Maria is the Tower’s name not Tara, how bout dat, however we still don’t know what species Maria is. To Tchula Ripton I looked but not supris­ingly I was unable to refer­ence to the second blue dragon.

  28. Linda Robins says:

    @gregbanks3624 I was confused when I read the name Maria. I finally assumed it referred to Tara. It seemed so random to appear just once in this book with no appear­ance in any previous book that I could remember, and not really neces­sary to plot. Maybe someone else remem­bers a previous appearance.

  29. michelle says:

    @Greg & Linda: The Towers remember the names of the appli­cants who were finally chosen to become the heart of a Tower. Those names weren’t always kept by the Towers, and the mortal Tower (nee Maria) was subject to drift; she didn’t remember the name she’d been born with. (To be fair, this is true of Hallionne Orbaranne as well.)

    I believe Maria was also mentioned, but only once, in Cast in Wisdom. And… yes, it’s prob­ably more confusing than it needs to be =/

  30. Louise says:

    I just hope we find out at some point just why Night­shade marked Kaylin. What does he want from her? I read each book hoping to find the answer. I believe in a previous book it was mentioned that Severn is Kaylin’s Protector. Reminds me of the rela­tion­ship that Bellusdeo has with Maggaron.

  31. cgbookcat1 says:

    @Louise, my theory is that when Kaylin went back in time and met a younger Night­shade, he saw the mark and knew to mark her when he met her in book 1. But I am sure there is more to it than that!

  32. Tchula Ripton says:

    @cgbookcat1 Yes, and he also knew that Kaylin had seen him as outcaste and the captain of a Tower, which she called a castle. So he knew what shape to ask the Tower to assume when he took it. (Seri­ously, I love Cast in Secret, it might be my favorite book of the series).

    Durandel sounds like a jerk, but he knows his duty as far as I can tell. Sounds kinda like Diarmat to me. It would be inter­esting to see more of Night­shade, Annarion, and Kaylin as they try to interact with him. Maybe that will happen now that the captains of the Towers are inter­acting with each other more. Durandel defi­nitely doesn’t seem like a Baranni who is open to change and new ideas, so I wonder how he’ll perceive this.

  33. gregbanks3624 says:

    &gcbookcat1 and Tchula Ripton You’re right Silence clears up a number of things such as the marking the fact Night­shade knew Tiamaris and Severn before meeting Elianne at the castle. He recog­nizes Severn from meeting him seven and a half years previous at the killing times, may I be so bold as to suggest that Night­shade was instru­mental in Severn’s wolf trip to West March where Severn won his weapon at that time. Tiamaris is a slightly different story however Calar­nenne and Tiamaris have centuries to meet over the inter­regnum either thru explo­ration or battle. Why Elianne was marked is rela­tively simple Calar­nenne had been waiting millen­nema to renew aquain­t­ence with a girl who struck his fancy

  34. gregbanks3624 says:

    Ques­tion here, Why was Moran de Carful not in conflict? She is this godlike Aerian with Praevolo powers. She more than held her own vs Makuron while in the southern stretch. Has she come to some sort of under­standing with the outcaste some­thing like stay from mine and I’ll stay away from yours or is she just substan­tially weaker nearer the fiefs?

  35. Therese says:

    @gregbanks362 I kept waiting for Moran to arrive too. I’m not sure how that would have changed things, but it would have defi­nitely been inter­esting to see!

  36. Therese says:

    I really like Mandoran and Kaylin’s friend­ship. It would be great if they did share their names with each other. I’d love to read that in a future book.

  37. Mary Allen says:

    I wonder now that the tower avatars are inter­acting if Helen, the avatars for the acad­emia, the high halls and even the Halleron (sp) will be allowed to commu­ni­cate. I missed the Lord of the West March and wish Kaylin would visit him again.

    fI thought the Blue Dragon was just Emmerian because they can change color.

  38. Matthew says:

    Longterm lurker on your site Michele. Loved the book really liked all the inter­ac­tions between the char­ac­ters. Looking forward to see the impact of Kaylin healing Emmerian and how this could impact her rela­tion­ship with the Dragons. What did she learn? Dragon tongue? Defi­nitely, so many things I what to see. The new High Halls. How the Dragons would interact with the released “reset” Shadow from the High Halls. Defi­nitely Team Mandoran! So want some more dinners with Darian­daros and liter­ally “everyone.”

    I really liked the idea that some of the cohort consid­ered the acts of the Barrani as geno­cide against the Dragons during the wars. Just true to our own history, adds depth to the level of hated that would have come out of the wars. 

    Keep the stories coming.

  39. Shadowkindrd says:


    Emmerian and Diarmat are both blue dragons, although Emmerian takes on silver coloring in CoC. The Emperor is indigo. 

    As for why Moran isn’t there, well, she’s completely across the city and well south, and in the given time, she prob­ably couldn’t be noti­fied, raise the troops, and get to the fiefs in time to do anything. The involved Aerians were already in Ravelllon.

  40. gregbanks3624 says:

    I’m inclined to agree with your obser­va­tion the second bluish black Dragon was Diarmat which leads to other ques­tions. Sanabilis and Diadanros (sic) stayed home for back up? The palace will be a quiet place with the loss of four Dragons within a year can we expect two or three more to wake from the Long Sleep within in the next few books?
    Flight made it pretty plain that Illumen Praevolo has powers above and beyond any normal Areian I find it less than conciev­able that Moran was inca­pable of not having rein­force­ments addi­tional to aid to Karramis in time consid­ering she has the Hawk­lord and Areian Hawks avail­able at the Halls of Law. I venture to say my opinion that Moran and Makuron have made some type of deal is not untoward.

  41. Cheyenne says:

    I love your books!! Every time I read one I fall in love with fantasy all over again. I just wanted to say that. Anyway, Cast in Conflict was great. Bellusdeo and Emmerian. OMG! I loved the meeting of the fieflords too. So much happened. Did Kaylin pick up a new word? On her hand?

  42. Aquilegia says:

    @Kareen McCabe: It was made /very/ clear that Night­shade views her as a tool, a weapon, a posses­sion. He does not respect her as herself, he only respects her abil­i­ties and what she can do for him. I would never want to be in a rela­tion­ship like that. And from what she has said, it sounds like Kaylin would not like it either. I am not sure is she and Severn will be able to over­come their shared past, but I find it far more likely than Night­shade ever viewing her as an equal partner. 

    I love the emotional ground this novel covered. Most of the conflict was internal. Sedarias and Emmerian fighting against them­selves. And how facing those doubts and fears was good therapy for Kaylin. It has only been a year or so since the first novel (I think) and you can see the progress she has made. My only complaint, besides a couple typos, is how Maggaron seems to have disap­peared for three quar­ters of the book.

  43. Kat says:

    @ Aqui­legia I completely agree about Night­shade. I can’t see Kaylin ever getting past how he governed his fief/ being a tool

  44. Aquilegia says:

    It occurred to me that I didn’t say what I based my opinion on. And I think it’s impor­tant. I am not parroting the opinion of anyone in the books. Not even Helen. And you /know/ that she did her best to plunder his secrets while he was in screaming matches with his brother and his guard was down. She may not pass the infor­ma­tion on, but she had to look.

    I based it on eye color. Every time Night­shade tries to get inti­mate with Kaylin his eyes are violet. Not the purple of grief or the light blue of lust. Violet. A few years back on the old forums, I asked Michelle for a list of eye colors and mean­ings, and she said that violet means domi­nating desire or possessiveness.

    The author told me that he wants to domi­nate and possess her.

  45. Alisa Stein says:

    So my son, my husband and I are “arguing” about Hope, Shadow, Devourer and the Maker. We are reading all the books and getting our brains more confused by the second.
    Is the Devourer an element?
    Is the Devourer shadow?
    Is Hope an element?
    Any insight will be very much appreciated.

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