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Thursday, March 1, 2012

'Unbroken' Outcast Season #4 by Rachel Caine

 Received from the Publisher

From the BLURB:

For millennia, Cassiel was a powerful Djinn-until she was exiled to live among mortals.  Now the threat of an apocalypse looms, and Cassiel is in danger of losing everything she has come to hold dear . . .

As the world begins to fall apart around her, Cassiel finds herself fighting those she once called her own: the Djinn.  With Warden Luis Rocha and the rescued child Ibby by her side, Cassiel struggles to find a way to protect those who are in her charge and come to terms with the leadership role she never asked for.

Cassiel is opposed by Pearl – a powerful Djinn bent on raising an army of kidnapped Warden children to bring about nothing less that the end of the world.  It will take everything Cassiel has to stop the Djinn from starting a war that will wipe all of humanity from the face of the earth.  She knows that this might not be a battle she can survive, but protecting those she loves is worth any cost . . .

Cassiel was once a powerful Djinn, until she took a stand and had humanity forced upon her. Since that time she has bared witness to imminent human destruction – experienced love, pain and loss, and gained an unbreakable connection with the human warden, Luis, and his niece Isabel.

When a deranged and ruthless Djinn called Pearl set out to kidnap warden children and harness their untapped powers for her own means, Cass was on the front lines with Luis – fighting to rescue young Isabel, but also to protect the human race.

Now Isabel is returned to them, much changed. And Pearl is not the only danger on the horizon – Mother is awake, and she is about to unleash her anger on planet earth, the likes of which humans, wardens and Djinn have never seen.

Lines have been drawn, the battle ground set. Cass has chosen her allies, and now she will take a final stand with them.

‘Unbroken’ is the fourth and final book in Rachel Caine’s ‘Weathr Warden’ spin-off series, ‘Outcast Season’.

It was with deep regret and duelling satisfaction that I read the final instalment in Rachel Caine’s phenomenal ‘Weather Warden’ series. Joanne Baldwin and Djinn David’s story ended in 2010, but the sting of their ending was somewhat lessened by Caine’s spin-off series, about a Djinn turned human called Cassiel. The ‘Outcast Season’ was a wonderful additional dimension to the brilliant ‘Weather Warden’ series, offering up more perspective about the Djinn world and an interesting new character in Cass, who was struggling as much with her unwanted humanity as her remnants of Djinn personality.

Alas, all good things must come to a (definite, conclusive and unmistakable) end; such is the case with ‘Outcast Season’. Rachel Caine has always maintained that Cass & Co. had a definite story arc in this spin-off series, and their tale would be told in four books. With ‘Unbroken’ released this February, we are now at the absolute end of the ‘Weather Warden’ world. And, like with ‘Total Eclipse’ that concluded Jo & David’s story, ‘Unbroken’ is such a befitting conclusion to a radical series that, as a fan, there is no bitterness to be found in this swan song. . .

When the story begins, Isabel is newly rescued from Pearl’s clutches, but Luis and Cass are only just beginning to fathom the extent of Isabel’s abuse. With her newly tapped power, Isabel has a maturity beyond her six years, and she will not stand being treated like a child any longer. She does something awful and destructive to herself, the ramifications of which will be felt for the rest of her life. And that’s how ‘Unbroken’ kicks off – absolutely hitting the ground running and throwing readers right into Isabel’s delicate psyche, as well as Luis & Cass’s predicament not only as her guardians, but as wardens trying to harness this young child’s power.

Also making an early appearance is everyone’s favourite bad-ass and buck-naked Djinn, Rashid. I was so happy that he made a reappearance in this final instalment, and his scenes are brilliant, particularly for how they impact on Isabel;
Isabel grabbed on to me and hugged me, wordless and shaking. I hugged her back and looked over at Rashid, who inclined his head just a tiny bit.
“You’re sane,” I said.
“Well,” he replied, with a sharp-toothed smile, “that is not a common opinion. But I am no longer a puppet of the Mother’s will. Only of hers.” He cast a dark look at Isabel, and my arms tightened around her in reaction.
“You are well aware how I feel about such things.”
“Don’t,” I warned him. “She’s a child.”
“Old enough to hold my bottle,” he said. “Though that was your doing, my sweet dear cousin, sticking me in one. For the second time. There will come a reckoning. Soon.”

Also along for the finale is Esmeralda – the snake/human warden whose power warped her and imprisoned her in a partial reptilian body. ‘Es’ cannot be trusted, but has become fast (and unlikely) friends with Isabel. I loved these two together! They are a fantastic, if chilling, team – and even though their scenes have a lot of unlikely camaraderie, reading them will also set you on edge because you just know that Es could snap at any moment. . .

One wonderful thing about ‘Unbroken’ is that the ‘Outcast’ timeline is made to match up with the ‘Weather Warden’ series – after being out-of-sync for three books now, ‘Unbroken’ is on the same timeline trajectory as ‘Total Eclipse’. And, best of all, Lewis Orwell, Jo Baldwin and David Prince all make lengthy cameos in ‘Unbroken’. Even better is that most of their scenes are alternatives to what happened in ‘Total Eclipse’ – so while we were following Jo’s narrative in that book, in ‘Unbroken’ we get to read what was happening with David and Lewis in certain scenes. Brilliant!

Of course one big drawcard of Cass’s story has been her romance with the Warden, Luis. Let me just say that these two are epically adorable in ‘Unbroken’ – and a big focus of this book is on the redemptive and restorative powers of their love. Another big ‘spiritual’ focus of the book is on how Cass is experiencing a very human emotion and conundrum – the absence of hope. As the world ravages itself and Mother turns on her children, Cass is left to question everything she has known and truly understand what it is to be human, and succumb to doubt and despair. It makes for some intense, poignant scenes;
The enemy of my enemy. . .
“Mother,” I whispered, close to tears. “How could you desert us? How could you bring us to this?”
But the Mother had never spoken to me, not directly, and she did not do so now. There was only darkness, and silence.

Rachel Caine’s ‘Weather Warden’ series was one of the best and most original fantasy series of recent years. Beginning in 2003, ‘Weather Warden’ draws to an absolute final close in 2012, with the end of its spin-off ‘Outcast Season’ series. As with Jo and David, Luis and Cass have been on one hell of a ride, and Rachel Caine gives them an explosive and wonderfully befitting send-off in ‘Unbroken’. I absolutely urge any and all ‘Weather Warden’ fans to dip into this spin-off series, if you haven’t already.



  1. I think this will be my next series pick. Sounds awesome. Great, detailed review! Also, it's nice to be able to read all the books right away. :-) No waiting!
    _yay_ @

  2. I am a couple of books behind in both this series and the Weather Warden series. I think part of the reason for that is that I don't think I want to get to the end.


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