From the BLURB:
For a millennia, Cassiel was a powerful Dijn. But then she defied her ruler, who cast her out and reshaped her in human flesh as punishment. She found refuge among the Wardens - and discovered that her perceived human weaknesses may be her greatest strengths.
Living among mortals, 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 and 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. As outcast from her own kind, Cassiel must now rely on her own limited earthbound powers to save young Wardens...if it's not already too late.
This is Rachel Caine’s second book in her Weather Warden spin-off series.
I love the whole concept of this spin-off. In the ‘Weather Warden’ series the Dijn (genies – but more ruthless, scary and powerful than we know them) are mostly secondary characters that readers learn about through protagonist, Joanne Baldwin. Joanne’s HEA, David Prince, is a Dijn himself – but by his own confession he is unusual among his kind because he loves and respects humanity.
In this spin-off series Caine has a former-Dijn as the protagonist. Cassiel refused to destroy humanity and as punishment she was made human and mortal. Cassiel is a wonderful narrator because she’s so foreign and bizarre. Though she is now a human, she still sees the world through Dijn eyes and is slowly learning about humanity. The Dijn are a very powerful, frightening race – they think of humans as blips on their radars and care little for the trials and tribulations of the human race.
Cassiel keeps getting more and more interesting. She was noble and conceited in ‘Outcast Season’ book #1, but in ‘Unknown’ we see a huge transformation in her outlook. Cassiel has come to care for the Warden family she was assigned to, and in particular Earth Warden Luis Rocha. Cassiel has also started to question the arrogance of the Dijn race – particularly when she comes face-to-face with a Dijn called Rashid who is the embodiment of Dijn egotism.
Cassiel’s transformation is fascinating to read – and makes for a fulfilling spin-off because it sheds so much light on the original ‘Weather Warden’ series.
My one complaint has to do with the slow progress of Luis and Cassiel’s relationship. Where the ‘Weather Warden’ series has Joanne and David getting hot-and-heavy in every book, and a David/Joanne/Lewis love triangle – by comparison Cassiel and Luis are moving at a snails pace. In this book the two freely admit their feelings for one another, but don’t act on them. To be fair they have a tough romantic road ahead of them – Luis isn’t exactly trusting of the Dijn (for good reason) and Cassiel is still adjusting to her humanity (and all those complicated hormones that come with it). But these two are so darn cute I want them to hurry it up already!
There’s lots of drama in ‘Unknown’. Villainous Dijn, Pearl, up’s the ante and focuses her attack on Cassiel. Caine writes drama so damn well – from a motorcycle pile-up to an FBI blow out, all of her action leaves you on the edge of your seat.
Halley shrugged. “Always wondered is all. You Wardens, you’re practically gods, what with all the slinging lightning bolts and healing the sick. Bea ain’t religious. So I just wondered.”
“We’re not any kind of gods, big G or small,” Luis said. “Ain’t even angels, man. We’re just people. Smart Wardens know that better than anybody. You play God, people die.”
I love Rachel Caine and I love her ‘Weather Warden’ series. I am really liking her spin-off series, mostly because (as well as being a genuinely interesting story) it offers new insights into the ‘Weather Warden’ world. Dijn are thoroughly frightening and interesting and in the ‘Outcast Season’ books we get one as a protagonist.
If you haven’t yet, I strongly recommend you read the first ‘Weather Warden’ book ‘Ill Wind’, and actually anything written by Ms. Caine is worth-while.