the Author

Spoiler thread for THE EMPEROR’S WOLVES

Posted in writing.

As promised, for those who have already read The Emper­or’s Wolves and wish to discuss it, this is the post on which you can do so.

It goes without saying that the discus­sions will involve spoilers, and if you hate spoilers, avoid this partic­ular post.

I am behind in absolutely every­thing T_T. I will be absent in a vain and flailing attempt to catch up. 2020 has not been the year for great focus =/.

42 Responses to Spoiler thread for THE EMPEROR’S WOLVES

  1. Anne says:

    Wonderful book. Have read it twice already. Thank you.

  2. Wendy Sahyoun says:

    This book is absolutely amazing. I am reading it for the second time. I was always under the impres­sion that Severn’s story would be a short story, I was surprised in a fantastic way. Thank you. After reading the book I have spec­u­lated about Severn’s expo­sure to barrani at an age younger than 8 – 9, and what happened to that barrani.

  3. Susan Reese says:

    I’ve listened to it once(was on a long drive) and now reading it. So good, lots of back­ground infor­ma­tion, and lots of tears with Severn’s view of the chil­dren being killed, waiting anxiously for next book!!

  4. Lauren W Isaacs says:

    I was enthralled with this book, so much more than I was imag­ining. So, you know that my imag­i­na­tion sorely needs work. I can’t wait to get the next install­ment in Severn’s story. Please also let us know when the next Cast in book will be avail­able. Love all your work.

  5. Stareyes says:

    Granted, now I want to re-read some of the later Cast books for Barrani stuff to get a better grasp on how the bit of poli­tics we saw here connects, since I think I recog­nized some names. 

    (I also had to re-read the section where Severn got the picture of Kaylin in the dress from Random to see if her full face was visible, since that’s rather a different mark than the ones Severn knows about.) 

    Also pleased that we got not only Severn and a look at how the Wolves operate but things like more about the Tha’alani and the fact that we got some answers about Severn’s back­story (how he knew Ybelline and the Tha’alani, how/why he became a Wolf), but still have more to go (the whole West March thing) and new ques­tions (what was he doing before age 10 where he could read/speak fluent Barrani and was tested for magic the Barrrani way). 

    And that the whole thing had other POV char­ac­ters; I adore Kaylin, but it is nice to get details from many perspec­tives, and makes the series feel different to have Ellu­vian and occa­sional others taking the POV stick.

  6. Lois says:

    I liked it a lot. So much so that I’m rereading Cast from the begin­ning. The inter­sec­tions don’t line up precisely in my recol­lec­tions, so rereading. And what a plea­sure that is. (Started Fury last night.)
    I too am fasci­nated by the Barrani influ­ence in his early life. And that he has magic.
    I also think he has a thing with Ybellini. But I’ve always been amazed at sexless this series is. Intense feel­ings, but if they’re having sex it’s offscreen.🤷🏼‍♀️ So I speculate.…😊

  7. Kate says:

    I loved the book! I feel like there could be some very inter­esting effects on future Cast in books. I would love to see Severn starting to use some of that magic.

  8. Nicki Himmel says:

    I read this book in 1 day.

  9. Therese says:

    In Cast in Flame (page 156 because yes I looked for it), Severn tells Kaylin that he couldn’t light a candle, then inter­rupts Teela after saying this by claiming he couldn’t make a simple light, either. The Emper­or’s Wolves suddenly casts a different perspec­tive on this conver­sa­tion. I’d be really inter­ested to read how Severn’s attempts to light a candle actu­ally went!

  10. C. Theresa Masin says:

    Please please say this gonna be a series.

  11. Mook says:

    Michelle, have to comment here as a Severn critic in a previous post. Loved, loved it — I enjoyed getting to know Severn in a different way and the story took so many inter­esting turns that I didn’t expect and also I feel it added a new level of depth to the Cast series. Look out or you are going to get to the level of West layering and complexity!!! :)))

    I love this world so much as I do all of your writing. Looking forward to the next Cast book and will try to spot all Severn Easter eggs :)

    I would also like to add — your writing — tone and word­play — is so beau­tiful. Did you grow up using words like Inter­stices and Extir­pated in casual conver­sa­tion? This is not a snarky ques­tion —  I’m in awe of you finding the most beau­tiful words to paint your beau­tiful world.

  12. Sandra says:

    I’m enjoying this look at Severn and the Wolves. I hope there will be another book about Severn. I’m a big fan of your books espe­cially The Chron­i­cles Of Elantra. I have re-read them several times and continue to read them until a new book is published.

  13. Patrick Gates says:

    I absolutely loved this novel. There was a depth of the char­ac­ters that was wonderful. Thanks for writing this!

  14. michelle says:

    @Wendy: I was under the impres­sion that Severn’s story would be a “short” (for me) story, too. Or at least only a novella. So chapter seven (which is not chapter seven now) broke that perma­nently. But there’s a tonal ending that I wanted to reach. My intent — and given the frac­tured state of my thoughts at the moment, intent is a generous word — was the have Severn join the Wolves, and be sent out on a simple case with Ellu­vian or Mellianne. Mellianne was instantly too much work — it would be too complicated.

    But the simple case was Ybelline’s, and… that wasn’t going to be a simple case. At that point I had to make a choice: continue with the now not-short story, or try to cut it off before the case. 

    @Lauren: I’m not sure when the next CAST novel will be published; some time in 2021, and it’s revised and returned to publisher. I think orig­i­nally we were thinking of 6 months between books, which would leave the CAST books at a year a part, but that wasn’t working well for me, in the sense that I felt an imme­diate dead­line CRUSH and so did edito­rial by the time I finished the novel. So I *think* we’re now looking at 8 months.

  15. michelle says:

    @Stareyes: When I first started writing the CAST books, they were single PoV books for two reasons. The first: they work for the broadest range of readers; the second — and most impor­tant — was that I could expect to write 150k words in a book with a single view­point. Multiple view­points — which are far more natural for me specif­i­cally as a writer — put 150k words in serious jeop­ardy, and sadly, that was the upper limit.

    @Peter: this is rele­vant to your point as well :). Because it’s a “Cast” novel in some fashion, I intended to stick to a single viewpoint.

    Severn, however, is nowhere near as frenetic as Kaylin, or as I said in frus­tra­tion around my house­hold “Severn isn’t talking to me”. He is the type of person that makes his choices and lives with them; the internal doubts and uncer­tain­ties that often char­ac­terize Kaylin aren’t really present, or at least, shared.

    It’s hard to write a book when the main char­acter is so reserved. 

    I think that the multiple PoV adds to a sense of depth here, because multiple PoVs are facets of the same thing, different windows into the story. AND the book was not 200k words — so clearly I’ve learned some­thing over time.

  16. michelle says:

    @Therese: Severn had no interest in, and no inten­tion of, pursuing magical studies. 

    And while this is a spoiler thread, I’m pretty sure people don’t really want the next book spoiled, so — there is a reason for his comments there :)

    @Theresa: There will be at least one more book about Severn, also set in the past. Right now I’m strug­gling with timing in the past, because one sentence in one book puts time for an event IN THE WRONG PLACE, and having now written the first book, I’m trying to make a deci­sion about whether or not to honor #pastme, who is a jerk, or to continue in what now makes far more organic sense.

    …this is why I always promise myself I will never write books set in the past Ever Again T_T

  17. michelle says:

    @Mook: You realize I had to imme­di­ately go and look up ‘extir­pate’ when I read your comment? It is a word I use from time to time in conver­sa­tion, but… not delib­er­ately in actual writing T_T. Inter­stices I use more frequently, as in ‘inter­sti­tial’, because it’s a genre word. 

    When I’m writing – and not bashing my head against the nearest wall or pulling my hair out – I reach for the words that work in that moment. Obvi­ously on some level, those are word choices I’m making, but they’re not always conscious choices, if that makes sense.

  18. Kat says:

    I’ve read comments from some authors that they know all of the unwritten back­sto­ries and connec­tions of their char­ac­ters from the begin­ning. Did you know this story before you wrote it, or just the broad strokes?

  19. Mary Allen says:

    Any chance you’ll wake another Dragon? The Emperor is now down to just three in his court. I really want to know more about the Barrani who was involved with Severn before he was ten?

  20. Stefani Podoll says:

    I always thought the use of his weapon pulled from his magic pool. It seemed to me the reason he did not use magic the way others did is that it was a trade off for him to use the weapon. It IS a magical weapon, and all magic has a cost. The weapon chose him and I have felt it was because of his desire to protect. This has been a single moti­vating factor in his life. His whole life tied to a promise that even comes before his oath to the emperor. Prior books have hinted that the familiar knew of and made an agree­ment to be with Kaylin. Severn and many of the other char­ac­ters that have attached to Kaylin could have been placed there through a story written by an Ancient to lead to the full­fill­ment of stories that need to be told to bring Ravillon back alive. Kaylin has been pulling to her many beings of power mortal and immortal. Severn has been there from the start, so it would not be a stretch to think he too had agreed to be her protector. There had been a study done in the late 1800’s on human souls. They found that every human upon death lost a minute weight. It was the same in every case. In the cast series the emperor values humans because they can do things he never can due to his immor­tality. They create things he could not. What if the humans there are all frag­ments of an immortal who wanted to see every­thing that they could do? That upon death they return to the immortal and can be sent out to expe­ri­ence other things. It would explain how Kaylin could have agreed to be with Hope before he hatched in the world. It would also explain how Severn wound up as her protector. HE liter­ally could feel the need. It also would explain how the ancients knew what to write on Kaylin in the first book when they added to her words while she was in Night­shade’s castle. The idea of time has been touched on in the series. Some beings are not affected by time as the people in the books know it. There is a lot of things that can be used and played around with. Anyway it was a very good book. Thank you very much for putting in the time and effort to make it. I think it helps adds more to the char­ac­ters we already have met in a way that gives new dimen­sion to them, such as the emperor.

  21. michelle says:

    @Kat: I have broad strokes — except endings. For me — and once again, there is the usual disclaimer: every single writer has a process unique to them, even if there’s overlap — sitting down to write out the entire char­acter sheet with appro­priate stats takes all of the sense of the organic out of the writing; it shuts things down, rather than opening them up, and leaves me with the ghost of a book, not the seed.

    Unless I feel free to ignore all the work when I finally start to put words on the page.

    I truly envy people who can draft detailed know-every­thing descrip­tions — but when I tried that a long time ago, it killed the story. In some fashion, having been so detailed, I’d *already told it*. I had finished it. It was done. It’s like an outline, writ small. If the outline is detailed, the book is, on some subcon­scious level, “finished” for me — and it wouldn’t past muster as finished to anyone else.

    Writer brains are weird — and they’re all weird in their own ways. I think the struc­ture of the outline/character sheet is so constraining to my creative brain it trips me up constantly.

    So: I have broad strokes and windows to look into or out of.

  22. Asia says:

    I so loved this book — i am huge fan of Chron­i­cles of Elantra but I was not sure how Severn story will sit with me. After just few pages I have started to ration reading just to not finish too soon :) and now i think that i need to start re-reading Chron­i­cles from the begening just to check some events like first meeting of Severn and Yabellinn or Severn and Night­shade etc. I am tempted to look for all the dots again and to see how they connect. I am happy to hear that there is one more Severn book planned cant wait to read more :) 

    Thank you Michelle for creating Such amazing world, char­ac­ters and stories!!! 😍 Is there any chance that some day we will be able to read story of Nightshade??

  23. Tracy in Texas says:

    You’re amazing Michelle, we love you and all your worlds! :) :) :)

  24. Melissa from Australia says:

    It took me a while to get into The Emperor’s Wolves, as the begin­ning seemed to ramble a little, but I enjoyed it once started. The style was more intro­spec­tive than action which I liked as it gave more insight into the char­ac­ters but I would still want to have a first-person narra­tive from Severn as he has always been more opaque than the other char­ac­ters — a story from Teela’s perspec­tive would be enlight­ening too! 

    The trouble with giving your readers char­ac­ters who are rounded and have depth is that you create an insa­tiable desire to know more about them. It says a great deal about your talent as a writer that you can do this, a pity that you can’t write 24/7 to fill that need.

    Thank you very much for giving us books that we can read and re-read with such pleasure.

  25. Vicki LENOIR says:

    Having restarted the Cast series, I wonder if one of the Barani close to Severn fell victim to lethe. It would explain why there were no appear­ances of En, An-Tellerus or Verrannian without having to retcon too much…

  26. Elissa Carroll says:

    Oh Michelle, this was such an amazing book. It instantly added so much addi­tional depth to the cast in series. I listened to it while moving from SLC to FLorida and enjoyed it immensely. I cannot wait for either more Cast in books or more Severn stories. I feel like even if we just get of the Severn stories here or there that it will be wonderful.
    I am starting to think more and more about Kaylin and romance. I want her to get to have phys­ical inti­macy in her life as it is such an impor­tant aspect of life to me. I would love to see her grow and heal in that way but man does she have a lot of other stuff going on too.
    Thank you as always for a well-thought out and enjoy­able adventure.

  27. Taen says:

    For me, this book has rein­vig­o­rated my interest in the earlier Cast novels. I have read them all and have enjoyed them and the intriguing world­building, but Kaylin herself has been more of a struggle for me over time, as the imma­tu­rity of youth seemed to dog her char­acter and choices for long enough to become frus­trating rather than endearing. Now with the different perspec­tive provided by Severn, I will go back to them and no doubt see them in a different light. Severn rather reminded me of Adam. :)

  28. Paivi says:

    After having read the emper­or’s wolves, I needed to reread all the chron­i­cles of Elantra books. It has been quite illu­mi­nating. Normally I detest the pairing discus­sions based on books. But because I feel that there is such a strong connec­tion between Severn and Kaylin, and I am not at all sure where the author will go with that, that I have pondered the rela­tions between other char­ac­ters in the series. Apart from Marcus Pridlea, we rarely get any glimps into male-female rela­tion­ships in these books. Teela once stated that she has sex, but it is not clear with whom. It is possible it is in her rela­tion­ship with Tain, but it is equally possible that it is with someone we have not read about. 

    For those who have read the books several times I have a few ques­tions. Is anybody else than me of the opinion that there is (or has been) some­thing more than what we have seen between Night­shade and the Lady? In Cast in Honor Gilbert says that Night­shade spoke of his brother, HIS LADY and Kaylin with Gilbert during the over 40 years in the non-exis­tant future. In one of Kaylin’s and Night­shades earliers encoun­ters she is taken to a room in Night­shade’s castle, where the walls have images of a pale haired Barrani lady and Kaylin has not yet met the Lady at this stage. Could this rela­tion­ship be related to the reason that he is outcaste? I also find it quite funny when Kaylin has had the emperor over for dinner and Helen says that he is not right for Bellusdeo. After that they go through almost the entire dragon court stating why none of them is suit­able. In the end Helen says some­thing like that she feels there is still someone, and Kaylin does not seem to realize that they have not mentioned Emmerian.

    I have wondered about the fact that so many of the “romantic” pair­ings are so much in the air. However, we are reading form Kaylin’s point of view, and she has a very fraught rela­tion­ship with anything related to romantic love and sexual rela­tions. She has, however, been growing steadily, and I wonder if these wolves books will enable her and Severn’s rela­tion­ship to grow too (as our, namely the readers’, view of Severn expands)? Also it seems that this kind of rela­tion­ships are detested by at least the immortal races. However, even terribly powerful crea­tures, such as Gilbert can be lonely. Could not then the immor­tals also then long for the compan­ion­ship that being with someone entails? Anyway thank you Michelle for giving me some­thing else to ponder than the real life disas­ters that we see around us!

  29. Jennifer says:

    I think there is some­thing between Night­shade and the Lady. Whether it is romantic or two people who share similar ideals or rebel on some level on races few of how family should be seen or treated, I don’t know. I also don’t know how sexual rela­tions for those who are promised/committed to someone else are consid­ered. Is it expected you will have multiple part­ners because boredom along the long lived or is it taboo? Did we get infor­ma­tion on that front I am forgetting?

  30. Lindee says:

    After listening to Severn conver­sa­tion with Night­shade, I still confused about why Jade and Stephie were going to be the next victims and why their deaths stopped the threat to Kaylin. (this may have been explained in the Cast books but I’ve forgotten). Was it that since Kaylin knew all the victims and as the victim’s connec­tions to her became closer to her emotion­ally the rituals gained power…?

  31. marinamoon says:

    I just finished “The Emperor’s Wolves” and it was amazing! I was excited about this series but scared too. Pfft, I should have just trusted in your story­telling. It was spell­binding as always. I learned so many new things. I loved seeing this side of the story. It was a blast to find out Severn and Kaylin are both trou­ble­makers, =0p .Thank you so much! I can’t wait to read the next one in the series! So want it now. Hugs. Stay safe.

  32. marinamoon says:

    I love Kaylin and Severn’s rela­tion­ship. It’s complex but comforting to her. He is such a good care­taker. I have been thinking about re-reading the Cast books. There were so many new people in this book I had so much fun learning about everyone. Severn is special I knew it. He was able to become a Barrani lord that is not a small thing. Also, am thinking about getting the audio­books. I did not know about them until now. 

    @Paivi Night­shade and the Lady were close friends. They shared similar ideas. That is what I recall. That is the vibe I got. I also think Night­shade has compli­cated thoughts about Kaylin. 0.o .

  33. Alessandra says:

    Amazing book! I’ve read all your books and all the short stories I could get, this is one of my best beloved. I can’t wait for the next instalment!

  34. Paula Lieberman says:

    @Lois – there IS a consen­sual sex scene in one of the books, it embar­rassed Kaylin (when she went to the Thalani quarter, and the person she was there to talk to, was …preoc­cu­pied… in a water feature/fountain with another Thalani).

  35. True. I was thinking of the main char­ac­ters, Kaylin in partic­ular. There might be other scenes like you suggest.

  36. jujusahm says:

    I bought the book weeks ago as a Christmas present for myself and I was (im)patiently waiting to give it to myself as my holiday read, then my work ended abruptly and my time off started that much sooner. I read to cheer myself up and this book did the trick. I fell in love with Severn’s char­acter all over again. Getting the struc­ture of the Wolves and how they are chosen and vetted was wonderful for bridging the rela­tion­ships that happen in this story AND in the Cast series.
    I am not sure I would have liked this book coming through any sooner in this series; I mean, I was always curious about the past, but didn’t think Severn’s back­story would be pivotal to Kaylin’s beyond what was already explored. Now, though, Kaylin is finally maturing enough that she could be the one for whom this story is neces­sary, so as readers we need this story now, too.
    And also? Severn is awesome. I want one of my own.

  37. MacKenzie Nyte says:

    I just completed my second listen to Emper­or’s Wolves, and I can’t thank you enough for this book, and more­over, for having Khris­tine Hvam continue as the narrator. I truly loved the story and though some ques­tions were answered, there are now, as mentioned by many people above, new burning ques­tions; I am eagerly awaiting book 2 so those ques­tions can also be addressed. 

    Also, 7 years was a very long time to hide in plain sight. It is a testa­ment to both his skills and the Wolf Lord’s will­ing­ness to allow Severn to ‘hide’ from Kaylin for as long as he does. I can’t wait to read about Severn and his Barrani teacher and the Hunt in the West March.

    May the muse be with you!

  38. I must admit that, as a char­acter, my feel­ings toward Severn have not always been char­i­table. I have on more than one occa­sion wished Michelle would just kill him already, he’s served his purpose and is now just annoying.

    Having said that however, there have always been lingering ques­tions about his and Kaylin’s past that keep churning in my brain. The Emper­or’s Wolves shed some light on the impor­tance of this char­acter and reas­sures me answer’s are forthcoming.

    I love the Cast books and am re-reading them in light of the new insights gained from this awesome addi­tion to an already capti­vating series.

  39. Alisa says:

    Just finished Wolves after having to pry it of my son and husband. I need to reread it again to get the full feel. Maybe take notes? I plan to reread all of Elantra before book 16 is out too.
    I am still confused (is this delib­erate?) as to the connec­tion to the Barrini.
    Will there be 2 – 3 more Severn books? How many Kaylin ones? Thanks.

  40. greg banks says:

    Seems to that Ellu­vian severely under­es­ti­mates Night­shade’s power and influ­ence consid­ering the esteem el holds AnTeela in. Shucks Night­shade has access to even the Impe­rial Palace the High Halls through his own means. You don’t get into castle Night­shade without conse­quence. Night­shade maybe outcaste but that does not mean he is friendless.

  41. Lenara says:

    You prob­ably don’t read old blog post comments. I’m hoping you do, shame­lessly, because you’re the author that named Kaylin’s familiar. A big word that — hope. I’ll just hope you see this. 

    While waiting for the next Elantra book to drop on Nook on June 29th, I just finished reading Emperor’s Wolves. I’m so glad you wrote this book because I’ve had so many ques­tions about Severn in the Elantra series. It’s as if he’s living a whole other life off those pages. I’ve felt it! Kaylin almost suggests it by qual­i­fying it as Severn being a wall or a window when she queries him about things he deems as rele­vant only to his life with the Wolves. Also he’s able to wall his thoughts from her. Clearly. Evidently. How?

    In the book about the Devourer, I found it fasci­nating that the old beast assumes an appear­ance as Severn in the Keepers Garden. Is that a reflec­tion of Kaylins subcon­scious, or the strength and power of Severn’s? In the same book, when Kaylin invokes the Arkon’s ancient mirror. Severn sees things in the mirror that is sepa­rate from what Kaylin sees. What did he see?!! 

    Also, in the another book where Kaylin and her friends meet Gilbert the Shadow, in the epilogue, Severn states his desire for her, even as he says some­thing about how it has been made clear to him that she must have a choice. Who made this clear to him?!! 

    I’m sad that Severn is not speaking to you and am wondering why he — self contained though he appears to be, and yet evidently filled with honor, duty, and emotions as I read him to be —  is not finding you to be sympa­thetic teller. Really, he needs to get over his hesi­tance and trust you! I’m quite excited about the second book and am waiting in antic­i­pa­tion! And have hope that he — Severn- will unbend and confide, and maybe…maaaybe, there will be a third book.

  42. Aquilegia says:

    Loved this. Just reread the entire Cast series after the latest book, and want to read Wolves again. But I do have a couple thoughts. How in eight years living in Night­shade did his educa­tion never come up? Admit­tedly, she is obliv­ious and never even knew his last name, but I would think that his ability to under­stand the various thugs and guards would be impor­tant. And he is called Dark­childe and it is said that he has an inter­esting shadow on him. Will we ever find out what those mean?

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