Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Unknown by Rachel Caine

Living among mortal, Cassiel has begun to develop a reluctant affection for them--especially the intriguing Warden Luis Rocha. As the mystery deepens around the kidnapping of innocent Warden children, Cassiel and Luis are the only ones who can investigate within both the human and the Djinn realms.
But the more Luis an Cassiel search, the more dangerous the trail becomes, reaching not only into a fanatical splinter group, but into the highest ranks of Cassiel's immortal kin. An outcast from her own kind, Cassiel must now rely on her own limited earthbound powers to save the young Wardens...if it's not already to late.

My vacation reading continues with the second book in the Outcast Season Series by Rachel Caine. I really enjoyed the first book, which was a nice set up for the big show downs that seem like they are going to continue throughout the short series.

Starting with Cassiel, she is becoming more and more human every day, although she is more than able to still act and think like a Djinn. There is a serious oh my God moment in this book where Cassiel just goes hard core Djinn, and it's really at this point that you understand that there are two Cassiels, the one who is learning to be human and love her fellow humans and the Djinn whose eons of existence can't be pushed aside by only a couple of months of humanity.

Luis and Cassiel together as characters are just awesome. They work so amazingly well together, they are both so single minded in their mission that they are able to have this short hand that you would think should take years to cultivate. I love how protective the two of them are of each other, even though they are each total powerhouses. I am really enjoying the evolution of their relationship, and the love that is really starting to grow between them. But I do also think that there is something looming on the horizon for them, some kind of hiccup in their road to happiness together, and it will be interesting to see if they are able to overcome whatever it ends up being.

I really thought the whole series was going to be able trying to get the one child back, Ibby, the one who they both have a personal connection to. Heads up, here comes a spoiler, Ibby is finally found in this book. And as I am sure everyone can totally understand, is not the child that was taken, gone is her innocence and blind trust. It is going to be really interesting to see how the adults cope with having this girl who has powers that she shouldn't have yet, and how Ibby copes with the new reality of her situation.

I also think that Caine should be given a lot of credit for coming up with this great villain. Pearl is really, in every sense of the word, a super villain. I also think that everyone except Cassiel totally underestimate her. I am not sure if that is because Cassiel is just not coming off as trustworthy to people, or if it's just simple denial that there really could be a problem of this magnitude on the horizon. It seems like everyone in any position of power think Cassiel is just crying wolf. Although the government agencies start getting into the mix in this book so it's going to be really interesting to see if the non-gifted humans can combat such a big bad when every other major player seems to have gone missing.

I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys urban fantasy or Rachel Caine, I think this is one of her stronger series. Also I think that if you like a good paranormal romance this book is a definite step up from the previous book in terms of romance, so you may wanna check it out.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Undone by Rachel Caine

Once she was a powerful Djinn. Then Cassiel defied her ruler, Ashan, who tore her very essence away and reshaped her in human flesh as punishment. Forced to live among mortals, Cassiel has found refuge among the Weather Wardens--whose power she must tap into regularly, or she will die.
Cassiel earns her keep by assisting the Earth Warden Manny Rocha on his missions--which she finds much easier than coping with the emotions and frailties of her human condition, especially her growing affection for Manny's brother, Luis. But when Cassiel encounters a malevolent force that threatens the Rocha family, se discovers that her perceived human weaknesses must be her greatest strengths...

Rachel Caine has been one of my favorite authors for a long time now, and if you haven't read her Weather Warden series you should. This series is a spin off of the Weather Warden series, taking place in the same universe as that series, even with a couple of familiar characters popping into the beginning of this book. That being said I think this book stands completely on its own.

I really liked Cassiel, she is kind of a crazy person by human standards, as I think all Djinn are, they have a very interesting view of the world. You start following Cassiel right at the beginning of her fall from "grace" and while she is shocked about her new condition, she handles things shockingly well. In a lot of ways this novel is really just a starting point to the real action which I assume will start to pick up in the next book.

Cassiel works with Manny, and start to form human connections with him and his family. Manny is a great guy for Cassiel I think, he's just a good person at heart and can really teach her what it is to be human by allowing her to really become a part of his family. When Manny's family comes under fire, and his daughter, Ibby, goes missing, Cassiel really realizes how much she has come to care about these people.

Cassiel teams up with Luis, Manny's brother and Ibby's uncle to find and bring Ibby back home. Luis is much less trusting that Manny was with Cassiel. He's lived a harder life, having been in a gang before, and generally not sure if Cassiel is actually going to help things. The two of them together I think work really well together. It's like they are both such hardened people on their own, that they are able to come to an understanding about how to work with each other really quickly. I really hope their dynamic starts to evolve in the next book into something more, but I think I just have a thing for characters pairing up.

The action in this book really starts after Ibby goes missing, and then it never really stops. It's a constant ride from that point on, a race against time if you will to find her before something else happens to her. And throughout the race to find her they discover that what it is really going on is even more than anyone could have conceived. The book ends with pretty much a cliff hanger, but at a decent stopping point.

Overall, I liked the book a lot, as I like almost all of Caine's books. I think any urban fantasy reader would enjoy reading this book, although PNR people are going to be craving more romance since there is next to zero in this book. I really did enjoy this book and I look forward to reading book two and the rest of the series.