Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: February 2011
Paperback: 320 pages
After Cassiel and Warden Luis Rocha rescue an adept child from a maniacal Djinn, they realize two things: the girl is already manifesting an incredible amount of power, and her kidnapping was not an isolated incident.
This Djinn-aided by her devoted followers-is capturing children all over the world, and indoctrinating them so she can use their strength for herself. With no other options, Cassiel infiltrates the Djinn’s organization-because if Cassiel cannot stop the Djinn’s apocalyptic designs, all of humanity may be destroyed
Stand alone or series: Book 3 in the ongoing Outcast Season series
How did I get this book: Review Copy from the Publisher
Why did I read this book: I love Rachel Caine. I was so bummed to see the end of the Weather Warden series, and I need to get my yearly fix of the wardens and djinn, and I LOVE Cassiel and Luis and Ibby. Need I say more?
Things have been tough for fallen djinn Casiel and her warden partner Luis Rocha, ever since rescuing Luis’s recently orphaned niece Ibby from the clutches of a madd djinn named Pearl. Ibby, along with all of the other abducted warden children, has had her latent powers rudely awakened far before their natural time, which means a great threat to her safety and well-being. The massive amounts of warden power – in Ibby’s case, fire – running through her veins soon will take its toll, as she has no way to control her abilities and her body burns itself out with each use of her abilities. While Cassiel struggles with her increasingly human emotions, her relationships with Luis and with Ibby, she also must hunt down her sister djinn Pearl, and stop her before she can abduct any more children and continue with her plan to feed her own power and destroy as many djinn, human, and warden as possible.
Although Joanne Baldwin and her maddening ride in the Weather Warden series will always hold top spot in my heart, Cassiel and the Outcast Season series isn’t far behind. Cassiel is a remarkable character,and her growth over the course of the series, from disgruntled djinn to almost-human, is the stuff of great writing. As a heroine, Cassiel is an alien creature that views the world in completely different way than Jo or anyone else, and Rachel Caine nails the narrative voice beautifully in this latest book. Narrated in the first person by Cassiel, readers see the story filtered through her lens, which is an intriguing experience, as Cassiel is not the most reliable of narrators. Oblivious to the mores of human behavior and to how cold she seems to those around her, only readers know that Cassiel is anything but the ice princess she’s accused of being as she struggles with her tangled emotions and sense of duty. When forced with the decision to become djinn again or stay human and rescue those she has come to love, she chooses the latter. I loved it. In Unseen, Cassiel’s emotions come to a point as she struggles with Ibby’s brainwashing and lack of trust in her, as well as with Luis, whom Cassiel loves but with whom she cannot see eye-to-eye. The relationship between these three characters – Ibby as a child forced to grow wary and old far too quickly, Luis with his anger and inability to strike out, and Cassiel with her cold logical understanding that she is the only one that can stop Pearl (even if it costs her all her human connections) – are precarious, sharp-edged, and fragile things. The complexity of these relationships adds a dimension of needed depth to Unseen, making it easily the best book in the series thus far.
As per Ms. Caine’s usual, the writing in Unseen is fraught with tension and danger, and takes place roughly between Cape Storm and Total Eclipse (books 8 and 9) of Joanne’s series. This new, secondary storyline showing the world going to hell in a handbasket lends a whole new appreciation of the dangers facing humanity, the wardens and the djinn. It’s kind of cool, too, to see that Jo, Lewis and David weren’t the only ones out fighting the good fight, and that as with any war, there are multiple crucial battles to be won on many fronts. The crazed djinn Pearl’s role in the waking of the mother and near destruction of the Earth is high-octane stuff, as terrifying as it is gripping (seriously, Rachel Caine writes bonafide book-crack). I finished the book exhausted, but hungry for more, and I cannot wait to return to read more of Cassiel’s story – especially with the stakes higher than ever.
Notable Quotes/Parts: From chapter 1:
Fire is a living, malevolent thing. It eats, it breathes, it moves with fluid grace and eerie, destructive beauty.
I could still appreciate the astonishing power of it, even as my hair crisped at the ends and the heat seared across my fragile human skin. Flames poured like liquid down the walls of the office, rippling and twisting out onto the floor, devouring the furniture. Everything seemed trapped in its own frozen moment of destruction, as if the fire had become amber. I couldn’t focus my stinging eyes for more than a few seconds; everything seemed too bright, too hot, and in the next instant smoke billowed black and choking around me.
I fell to my knees and crawled, breathing oven-hot, toxic fumes, until my searching hand fell on something soft. Skin—a woman’s hand. It wasn’t moving. I grabbed hold and pulled her backward toward me; her black suit had caught fire, and I batted the blaze out as coughing fits threatened to rip my lungs from my body.
The woman I had found was unconscious, but still breathing shallowly. Smoke had made her face a grimy mask.
“Cass! Get your ass out, now!” A raw, ragged shout pierced the roar of the fire, and I looked around to see a sheet of fire racing across the floor toward me. A sudden chemical blast of white foam snuffed it out. It was a temporary measure, but it gave me precious seconds to find the strength to move.
Luis Rocha, still holding the sputtering, empty extinguisher, stumbled into view out of the thick smoke. My Warden partner looked as if he’d been through a fierce battle—clothes torn and burned, skin singed. He’d lost part of his shoulder-length black hair to the flames. “Cass, come on, we’re losing it! Gotta go!”
I poured raw Earth power—thick, golden power that flowed like honey—over the woman I’d found, into her, and saw her breathing and heartbeat steady. I stood up and grabbed her around the waist. She was a small thing, and I was tall; even so, the weight of her draped over my shoulder caused me to stagger. The fire roared its defiance and ignited a chair only a few feet away; it burned fast, upholstery charring into black lace and revealing bones of springs and wood.
I stopped, momentarily overcome. Nothing looked right now, and I couldn’t find the exit. You will die here, something told me. It sounded like the cold, dispassionate voice of Ashan, the leader of the Old Djinn—my brother, in a very real way; my king, in everything that mattered. Why do you do these things, for them?
For humans, he meant. I was not born into flesh; being here in the mortal world was my choice, just as I’d chosen to run into this burning building alongside Luis.
I had my reasons for doing both of those foolish, potentially fatal things.
You can read the full excerpt online HERE.
Of the three covers, I think I like the first version of Cassiel best (more true to her actual form in the book…although none of the images really do the books justice).
Rating: 8 – Excellent
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