“He’s right. If anything is to survive, we have to risk everything. Everyone. There are no safe places left.”
Finishing Unbroken by Rachel Caine has made me a little sad. The Weather Warden series can be traced back to my early Urban Fantasy days, along with The Dresden Files and the Anita Blake series. I have followed it for years. It’s hard to say goodbye to a world that has given me so much enjoyment, especially a world that was so unique. Even after all these years, seeing so many different PNR and UF worlds, this one still stands out.
If you have never read the Weather Warden or Outcast Season series before, do NOT start with this book. You will be completely lost and will miss out on everything (two series worth of everything) that has gotten the characters and the world to this point. It’s the end of the world, literally, and there is simply not time for the author to stop and info dump enough to get you up to speed. So do yourself a favor and start in the beginning. Don’t worry, it’s worth it.
Watching the world end is a thrilling experience—nail-biting and humbling, sure, but quite thrilling. Danger wasn’t coming from a single front, which leaves the characters and read with an overwhelming sense of constant peril. The Mother (aka Earth) is waking up and disaster is everywhere. In the world Caine has created, the main characters don’t simply gain a new power and turn into a bigger badass than the bad guy to save the day. Simply put, there is no bigger badass than the Earth. Tornados, earthquakes, lightning, fire…you name it, the Earth can throw it at you. That kind of opposition is simply overwhelming. Just stop and imagine what that would be like. There is nowhere to hide and your power, however mighty, is a speck in the face of that kind of power. When you add in the Djinn…well, let’s just say that things are not looking good for the Wardens.
I have always loved Cassiel’s character. She’s cold and logical and I could gorge simply myself on heroines like her. Having said that, her character type means that she is always the one to do what has to be done. I love that, but I get tired of whiny characters being horrified or disappointed by her actions. Those hypocritical, ivory tower types are true to real life, but the mean part of me would rather Cassiel let them die simply to teach them a lesson about being hypocritical. *cough*Luis*cough* Maybe they’d rather die with their morals than have Cassiel step in to do what has to be done to save them, no matter what it takes? *ahem* Enough of that. I’m starting to get irritated again.
I loved Cassiel just as much as usual, but I was not impressed with the people surrounding her. I started to question why she had to fall in love with this man and this family. She’s gone to the wall for them, but I don’t ever see them returning the favor. I never really got over what Luis did in the last book. Cassiel easily forgave him, although she never forgot, but I am not nearly so nice. He knew what it would mean to her and he still did it. But despite my irritation, I was actually glad the author cast him like that. It stood as a good indication of what this kind of circumstance does to people. The lines between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ became easy to blur and your opinion on the behavior of the different groups became hazy, depending on which side of the battle you were standing on. It was an us-against-them free for all and certain characters crossed some definite lines.
This story runs concurrently with the last book in the Weather Warden series, Total Eclipse, so you’ll notice some overlap with Jo, David, and Lewis. I really liked getting to see another side of the action. It goes to show that everyone is star of their own show, even when they’re fighting the same battle. At times it felt like you were missing part of the action, but that was because you literally were. Cassiel was fighting her battle, but the larger fight, the one to save the world, was being waged by Jo. They occasionally intersected but a lot of the information about the larger battle came from casualty reports and information given by side characters. This made Cassiel’s final battle seem a little random and easy, but the overall story arc was good enough that it didn’t bother me too much.
Despite the problems I had, like the ones mentioned above and my dissatisfaction with the too easy solution for the dilemma of Ibby’s involvement in the battle, I really loved this book. If you’re looking for a new, unique world with complicated politics and uncertain allies, this is one you need to check out. I hope you love the world as much as I do.
There was hope. Always hope. And it was those like Luis who would be the bearers of that hope, and the victims of it; heroes they were, and heroes died so that others might live.