Rachel Caine: Outcast Season #3: Unseen

Once an all-powerful djinn, Cassiel was cast down and transformed into a human, albeit one with a limited range of ablity to affect her surroundings. The longer she spends as a mortal, the more she’s come to empathize with them, even bonding with her partner Luis and his young niece Ibby. Cassiel’s found friends and family, and a new sense of purpose. Which is bad, considering that she’s on a mission to save the world from a rogue djinn, and the only truly viable solution involves wiping out humanity. Destroy one race to save a planet might make sense to the remote djinns, but Cassiel’s not about to give up without a fight.

Unfortunately, Ibby’s own powers have been awoken far too early, and now they’re killing her slowly. Cassiel and Luis must entrust Ibby to the care of others, while Cassiel infiltrates a dangerous cult in order to thwart and confront her true enemy. But with potential enemies and traitors on all sides, is anyone really safe anymore? And what does this all mean for Cassiel’s growing relationship with Luis, when their separate missions put them at odds and take them in different directions? The conflict between djinn is fast coming to a climax, with the Earth itself hanging in the balance. Cassiel has embraced her humanity, but it may be her greatest flaw as the endgame approaches.

Unseen is the third book in Outcast Season, itself a spinoff of the excellent Weather Wardens series. If you followed Joanne Baldwin’s adventures, know that this series takes place roughly around the same time as the last few books, though dealing with a different series of semi-related threats. If not, just know that Cassiel’s a powerful being stuffed into a human body, with the temperament of a barely-civilized feral cat, and an affinity for motorcycles and adrenaline-packed moments of excitement. Despite her somewhat alien, remote viewpoint and outlook on life, she remains relateable and accessible, a heroine thoroughly worth following.

Here we see more of what’s going on, as the rogue djinn, Pearl, continues her mad scheme to destroy the world through the use of brainwashed child soldiers wielding massive power. It’s hard to fight a god-level opponent, and Rachel Caine doesn’t back away from the challenge, delivering one powerful twist after another. Cassiel has to rely more on cunning than innate power, and we’re treated to a riveting display of cunning and bravado as a result. And while the world may be at stake, it’s her fragile relationships with Luis and Ibby that seem more important.

In short, Unseen is just as intensely awesome as its predecessors, and the ending will leave a lot of fans demanding more right now. That’s right, Caine takes us right to the edge, and leaves us hanging with one heck of a payoff still in the wings. Bring it on.

(Roc, 2011)

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