Title: Cape Storm
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: August 2009
Paperback: 320 pages
Stand alone or series: Book eight (eek!) in an ongoing series. And take it from me, this is a series you’re gonna want to read in order!
Why did I read this book: The Weather Warden books are among my top three ongoing Urban Fantasy series’. Ever since reading Ill Wind a couple of years back, I have been addicted to the adventures of Joanne Baldwin and the writing of Rachel Caine.
Summary: (from amazon.com)
Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin and her new husband, the Djinn David, are running from a malevolent hurricane bent on destroying her. Joined by an army of fellow Wardens and Djinn onboard a hijacked luxury liner, Joanne has lured the storm into furious pursuit. But even their combined magic may not be enough to stop it-nor the power-mad ex-Weather Warden controlling it…
**Please note that as this is a review of book 8 in an ongoing series, it will contain spoilers for the previous 7 books! If you have not read these books yet, I highly advise you to look away from this review! (And start reading these already!)**
I should preface this review by saying again that I am an enormous Rachel Caine fangirl. The Weather Warden series is one of my all time favorites for its empathetic heroine, the palpable danger that leaps off each page, the romantic entanglements, and most of all for the incredible world-building. And, as each book ends on a cliffhanger, my expectations for each novel are always of the highest order – and somehow Ms. Caine manages to deliver time and time again. And book 8 in this ongoing series is no exception.
If you’ve read the Weather Warden books this far, you know just how hectic poor Jo Baldwin’s life is. Cape Storm picks up immediately following the events of Gale Force. Instead of enjoying a lovely wedding with her husband and leader of the New Djinn, David, she’s given an early present from the supposedly dead Bad Bob Biringanine – a big, nasty, irremovable demon mark. Instead of enjoying a leisurely honeymoon, Jo, David and the Wardens are on a commandeered cruise liner trying to outrace an antimatter fueled storm out to kill them, and possibly destroy the universe. And, to add insult to injury, Jo’s demon mark is growing each minute, overtaking her body and mind with its thirst for power. Jo needs to find a way to keep her sanity and to stop Bad Bob from destroying herself, the Djinn, and everything she holds dear.
Like every other book in this series, Cape Storm is the equivalent of a three-hundred page adrenaline rush; Jo doesn’t get a moment of rest, and neither does the reader. This time around the stakes are even higher, as Bad Bob’s return and his new toy of antimatter – the long, toxic crystalline shards undetectable by Djinn and can erase them from memory of existence – threatens to rip a gash in the fabric of the universe itself. Ms. Caine writes with her trademark flair for action and plot contortions – for “twists” seems too tame a word to describe the places Ms. Caine takes this series. At the forefront of conflict, there’s the antimatter problem (which we saw in Gale Force), Jo’s marriage to David and the impact on the Djinn (by his making a vow to a human, David as The Conduit has made all Djinn susceptible to enslavement by humans once again, incurring the rage of Ashan and other Old Djinn), and Joanne’s loss of control as she goes over to the dark side. Once again, Ms. Caine’s writing is hopelessly addictive and damn-well done. Granted, this isn’t exactly War and Peace or truly challenging reading, but it is a impeccably written thriller, imaginative and well-paced. I would be remiss if I did not say how much I loved the new setting of the story – almost entirely at sea, on a luxury cruise ship no less, Jo doesn’t get to drive a single car in this book! I loved the change of pace and change of scenery (in addition to the cruise liner, Jo also swims through shark infested waters, there’s a secret fortress, and of course appearances in the aetheric), but I do miss Jo’s sweet american muscle cars.
In addition to the usual plot happenings, the character development advances in a way we haven’t really seen in the series yet. One gripe I know many readers have is the feeling that this series isn’t going anywhere, that it’s all noise and action without forward motion – and to those readers, I would say read Thin Air (book 6) and Cape Storm. As Thin Air was a bit of a reboot but then a change of heart for Joanne, Cape Storm shows her descent into powerhungry madness, as she becomes nothing more than a tool of Bad Bob’s. It’s terrifying and so very effective because the whole thing is narrated in the first person by Jo herself – she decides not to care about the people she hurts, including Kevin, Cherise, even Lewis and ultimately David. And, because it’s all told from her perspective, readers know that she’s being consumed by her demon mark, but her justifications and change of heart are a scary thing to read – it’s a very ballsy decision on Ms. Caine’s part, by having Jo cross that line. As always, Jo is driven to a fault, but her desire to save the world is turned on its head in this book, which is a nice change of pace.
And as for the other characters, all the old familiar faces are here, going strong. Cherise is adorable and quirky as usual, but makes some big decisions in this novel proving once again why she’s such a worthy best friend. Kevin is back too, and his relationship with Jo has long been one of my favorites – I love the hostility and distrust, blended with reluctant admiration on both sides. And then, there are the two main men – Lewis and David. I’ve always been a David girl since the beginning, but I love Lewis too. And whoo-boy – let me just say, there are some near tear-jerking moments with Lewis in this book. There are developments, and we learn more about the most powerful human on the planet – not just the extent of his powers, but also what Lewis is made of. It’s a different, more ruthless side, and it’s one I hope we’ll see much more of in the next book. And of course…there’s David. The ongoing relationship between David and Jo is one of my current favorites, and Cape Storm doesn’t disappoint in the slightest.
I loved Cape Storm, from beginning to end. It’s another win by Rachel Caine – with the only drawback? Waiting another year for book nine!
Notable Quotes/Parts: I love the exchanges between Cherise and Jo:
“Jo?” The mattress dented on my left side as Cherise perched on the edge. “You crying?”
“No,” I lied. “Fuck.” I swallowed hard. “I can’t do this. We can’t do this. We’re sailing away into the middle of nowhere with a bunch of innocent people and we’re all going to die, Cher. I can’t stop it. God, we’ve screwed this up.”
“Hey.” She moved my arm away from my eyes and looked down at me with such gravity that she didn’t look like Cherise at all. “What’s going on?”
“Did you hear me? We just about got our asses kicked!”
“But you didn’t,” she siad. “You told me before we got on this ship that it was going to be hard, and people were going to die, because you can’t go to war if you don’t expect casualties. You didn’t want me to come with, remember. You wussing out on me now, Rambette?”
I sniffled. “No.”
“Good, don’t even. You’re a Warden. You don’t let anything stand in the way of what you think is right. You have the most lustworthy guy I’ve ever seen madly in love with you. You have fabulous hair. You’re strong and beautiful and smart and evil pees itself when it sees you coming. So don’t you fold up on me, Jo.” Cherise’s mask slipped, just a little. “Because if you do, I don’t think I can keep it together on my own.”
“Bullshit,” I said. “You’re way tougher than me.” I hugged her. “I’m just so tired. I just want to rest.”
“Then rest,” she said, and let go. I settled back on the bed. “But don’t you dare think you’re not up to this. You’re a hero, babe. Heroes don’t wuss.”
“Do they whine?”
“Only to their bosom sidekicks.” She flashed me her bosom to prove she had the cred. Cherise, motivational speaker to the stars.
You can read an official excerpt from Chapter 1 HERE.
Additional Thoughts: For any other Weather Warden fans out there hungry for something to fill the year-long gap between Jo’s books, maybe this will hold you over…
WHAT HAS GONE BEFORE
My name is Cassiel, and I was once a Djinn — a being as old as the Earth herself, rooted in her power. I cared little for the small, scurrying human creatures who busied themselves with their small lives.
Things have changed. Now I am a small, scurrying human creature. In form, at any rate. Thanks to a disagreement with Ashan, the leader of the True Djinn, I can only sustain my life through the charity of the Wardens — humans who control aspects of the powers that surround us, such as wind and fire. The Warden I’m partnered with, Luis Rocha, commands the powers of the living Earth.
I have made mistakes, in my short existence as a human. I have made promises I could not keep. I have lost those I learned to love.
I will not let it happen again.
Even if every instinct tells me I must.
I loved book 1 of this series, Undone, and I cannot wait for Unknown! Unknown hits stores on February 2, 2010. You can read a full chapter excerpt online at Rachel Caine’s website HERE.
Verdict: Another winning novel from Rachel Caine. I loved Cape Storm, and absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the series! Highly recommended. AND if you haven’t read this series yet, you really should get crackin’.
Rating: 8 Excellent
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