Book Review: Rachel Caine’s Unbroken

Posted July 14, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Rachel Caine’s Unbroken



Rachel Caine

urban fantasy that was published by ROC on February 7, 2012 and has 308 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Undone, Unknown, Ghost Town, Rachel Caine, Bite Club, Dark and Stormy Knights, Devil's Bargain, Devil's Due, Last Breath, Unseen, Hex Appeal, Black Dawn, Working Stiff, Two Weeks' Notice, Bitter Blood, Kiss of Death, Fall of Night, Daylighters, Kicking It, Prince of Shadows, Ink and Bone, Paper and Fire, Ash and Quill, Killman Creek

Fourth in the Outcast Season urban fantasy series revolving around Cassiel, a former Djinn made human.

My Take

It reads as though the series may be complete even though Caine does provide future threat material for some of Cassiel’s actions. It may well simply mean the end of our focus on Cassiel and Luis within the Weather Wardens. It certainly sheds a wee bit more light on Ashan’s true purpose. Totally unexpected.

We don’t get any detail on what the shipload of wardens and Djinn were doing — other than averting a major disaster — or where they went. They simply return. Albeit, with the Mother having her little fit (understatement of the year), the Djinn aren’t exactly…helpful.

It’s tricky fighting the Djinn. Cassiel can feel the conflict within those trapped into this and she does her best to spare them even as she fights to save Luis and Iz and mankind. Caine does a great job of creating tense, dramatic situations which leave you wondering to the end. Most of Caine’s concentration in developing her characters are the ones on whom she’s focusing for the story so if your preference is to read about a few, this’ll work for you. I get a bit frustrated that we don’t get to delve into characters who were primary in her Weather Wardens series, but, hey, Caine’s way is fair.

I’m not finding this series as compelling as the WW as I’m not as invested in Cassiel. Yes, I enjoy it as I like learning about life from a Djinn’s perspective, but I find it harder to empathize with her. I suspect part of it is because Caine has only given vague hints as to what Cass and Luis’ future may be. Nor does she do much to explore Isabel’s emotions other than to briefly touch on them. Maybe she’s saving Iz for the next series?? I do wish that Caine had elaborated on Cass learning about mother love, though.

Caine claims that Esmeralda is without her Warden power but she still seems to have magic on hand. I suspect I missed something… Nor is it very clear just how it is possible to bottle up Djinn again. I don’t remember Whitney either.

The “adventures” the quartet had trying to get to Seattle certainly made me think about stocking up a fallout shelter! Eeek. I did rather enjoy Rashid’s sense of humor. Quirky, scary, but definitely cheeky!

No, no, I ain’t buyin’ this. Why would Lewis lock up David if he so desperately needs Wardens? Leaving Joanne out on a limb? No. This makes no sense and is a cheesy way to create tension — it just pisses me off.

Caine has Cass realizing a nice point about mankind. That man expresses courage in the “face of panic, terror, pain, and death” no matter how helpless we may feel. We hope.

Overall, yes, I liked this as it answers some questions and takes us further into the story (or ends it!?), but I didn’t like the vagueness or the avoidance of some issues. It was a lot of glossing over or ignoring. In spite of how desperate things were and how clever Caine was in providing exit strategies, it was just too easy.

The Story

It’s humanity’s last gasp and “natural” disasters are erupting all over the world killing millions as the Wardens try to rally. The loss of life as well as the loss of Wardens is so great that Lewis will ally with anyone. Anyone at all.

In the midst of this carnage, Luis, Cass, Isabel, and Esmeralda struggle through their own disasters as they make their way to Seattle. Only to encounter their hidden nemesis and are forced to accept the help.

Complications abound between the renewed capability to bottle the Djinn, Pearl’s constant attacks, the Mother’s anger, and Cass’ own discoveries of her purpose.

The Characters

Cassiel has been turned human by Ashan as punishment. No longer able to access power on her own, she must use Luis as a conduit.

Luis Rocha is an Earth Warden and the six-year-old Isabel‘s uncle. They rescued her from her captivity with Pearl where she was tortured and genetically altered to enhance her powers and she understands the need to use her power to help. Iz is a combination of mature and child with all the weaknesses of a child desperately in need of love and security.

Esmeralda has been trapped as half-human, half-snake as punishment and has her own ideas of what is helpful and she cannot be trusted to aid in the greater good.

David is half-human, half-Djinn and married to Joanna Baldwin, another Weather Warden. David is the leader of the New Djinn while Ashan leads the True Djinn. Lewis Orwell is the most powerful of the Wardens with all their powers and leads the group. Brennan is a Weather Warden and in charge until Lewis arrives. Bit of an ass.

Pearl, a.k.a., the Lady, is Cass’ sister and intent on recapturing Iz, suborning Cass to her cause, and taking over the world by overthrowing the Mother. The Mother is Mother Earth, Mother Nature. An entity who normally sleeps, but whom Pearl has woken and antagonized. A Mother who has herself suborned the Djinn to fight for her against the Wardens and humanity. The children who hold to Pearl include Edie (Air) and Alvin (Void) whom Pearl sends with Cass and Luis when they go to rescue the trapped Wardens. Very clever of Cass to use this technique to handle them, gruesome, but practical.

Of the Djinn, Rashid, Rahel, and Priya are forced to fight against their inclinations while others gladly fight for the Mother. Venna is one of the True Djinn and has her own part to play.

The Cover and Title

The cover is tones of yellow to brown in a desert landscape with Cassiel sitting very confidently on her motorcycle in her black leathers, jeans, and boots as an eagle soars overhead. The top fourth of the cover is a warm brown showcasing the author’s name, the title in gold, the series name, and its position within the series. I love it when authors give us these last two!

The title refers to Cassiel and the Guardians. Despite the agonies and trials, they remain Unbroken. Pretty impressive, really.