Monday, February 23, 2009

Undone - Rachel Caine

Outcast Season: Book One
Rachel Caine

Urban Fantasy

This is the first book in new series based on the author’s Weather Wardens novels. It’s very clear, at least in the first portion of the book, that most of the characters and relationships were established in the previous series. I haven’t read any of the Weather Warden books, but the author did such a good job at sketching in the background that I never felt lost. I do wish I had read the previous books, just on general principles, though, because it’s clear that I missed some good reading.

Cassiel was a Djinn; a being of the aetheric plane. When she refuses a request from Ashan, her ruler, he punishes her by casting her out of the aetheric and dumping her on the human plane in a human body. In order to survive, she needs regular infusions of energy from Wardens, keepers of elemental forces. Due to previous problems with the Djinn, the Wardens are not too happy to have to work with Cassiel, but realize the value in her ability to focus their powers.

Cassiel teams up with Manny Rocha, an Earth Warden. During their first job together, averting a potentially devastating earthquake, the two are attacked by an unknown force. There’s an attack by fire at Manny’s office that puts Cassiel, Manny, and Manny’s brother Luis, in danger. During this attack, an unknown Djinn pulls Cassiel to safety. The attacks escalate, eventually putting Manny’s family in danger, too. Luis was a gang member before discovering his Earth Warden gifts, and still has enemies from those days. Cassiel has lived forever as a Djinn and made plenty of enemies.

The biggest surprise for Cassiel is discovering that being human means actually caring for the people around her. The opening pages detail her ‘fall’ to human status and make the pain of that transition abundantly clear. Her adjustment to being human and all that it entails is the real story. Discovering who or what is behind the attacks and dealing with her feelings for humans, including Luis, is a bonus. I’m sure that readers of the first series will enjoy this novel more thoroughly, knowing all the background. I enjoyed the novel even without that; but I plan to read the Weather Warden series as soon as possible, and look forward to the next installment in the Outcast series.

Rating: 8
February 2009
ISBN# 978-0-451-46261-9 (paperback)


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