Tuesday, June 19, 2012

[review] Rachel Caine - Cape Storm (Weather Warden, #8)

Title: Cape Storm
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Weather Warden, #8
Publisher: Roc
Format read: Mass market paperback
Source: Personal collection
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository
Summary (via Goodreads):

Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin and her new husband, the Djinn David, are running from a malevolent hurricane bent on destroying her. Joined by an army of fellow Wardens and Djinn onboard a hijacked luxury liner, Joanne has lured the storm into furious pursuit. But even their combined magic may not be enough to stop it-nor the power-mad ex-Weather Warden controlling it...
Random paragraph:  "Passengers--even me--weren't allowed on the bridge. Apparently, that only happens in the movies, or to Cherise. I helped Lewis get through the rest of the passenger and crew interviews in neutral, nonsecure locations. No real surprises: a couple of drug smugglers, some embezzlers, and a few people who had raided the cabin steward's closet for illegally obtained soaps and pillow mints. Other than that, we were clear of evil influences ... except for the two we already knew about." (p. 125, mass market paperback edition)

This is the second-to-last book in the Weather Warden series. I AM SO SAD ABOUT THIS.

Yarrrr, a warning: thar be spoilers beneath this cut.

 I don't fangirl over too many series in general, much less urban fantasy. But for this one, I turn into a puddle of goo and squee. Why? LET'S EXAMINE THESE REASONS.

The concept: In the Weather Warden universe, there's a group of people with elemental powers who are tasked with protecting us -- normal, ordinary humans -- from Mother Nature. If there's a huge wildfire, or earthquake, or tornado, etc -- they're the ones who mitigate the damage, often at the cost of their own lives. I'm a huge geek for this sort of thing; I am legitimately trying to decide between majoring in meteorology or geology. My favorite superhero when I was a kid? Storm.

So anyway, they're tasked with saving humanity... but sometimes, they're not enough. And that's why they have djinn to help them out.

Unfortunately, in the past few books, it's come to light that the djinn haven't been exactly... happy about their situation. Some Wardens treat their djinn with respect, and others... not so much. In Cape Storm, it's become illegal to forcibly own a djinn. But they're not the only ones to worry about. Ifrit (corrupted djinn), demons, and in this book, "ghosts"... yeah, it's not a very safe world.

The characters: I can't remember the last time I loved a cast this much. The heroine, Joanne Baldwin, is kickass and amazing. She's witty, genuinely funny, and has a good heart. I love how the male characters in this series aren't perfectly sculpted -- they're awkward and a bit grizzled. David, Joanne's djinn lover, has a habit of wearing trenchcoats; Lewis, her ex (and basically a super genius with holycrapamazing powers), is a bearded, crunchy, intellectual-type. Cherise, one of Joanne's human friends, looks like a typical tanned blonde but has a penchant for X-Files and conspiracy theories; Kevin, another powerful Warden, is a sullen, broody teenager with an attitude problem.

I could go on, and on, and on. But I love them all.

The pacing: These are the type of books you can read in a day. Yes, there are cliffhangers at the end, but they're incredibly fun and I don't even mind them -- instead of going "awww" I tend to go, "SHIT JUST GOT REAL." These books do not let up on the action front... and yet, they still have character development. Awesome.

So, now that I've gotten my general love for the series out of the way, let me ramble about this particular book! It's on a cruise ship. (It's on a BOAT.) There are hurricanes. And sharks. And pirates.

In the last book, Bad Bob -- the villain who really kicked off everything -- puts another mark on Joanne, effectively connecting the two. He's sending a hurricane to Miami to wipe it off the face of the Earth, and the Wardens have a plan for getting it to change direction. However, there are times when Joanne can't stay herself; Bob's power is too strong. She knows it, her closest friends know it, and it leads to some very difficult decisions. It doesn't help that for a chunk of the book, she essentially turns evil: she craves destruction and doesn't care about anyone. Which was kind of awesome to read, really.

Meanwhile, up on the aetheric (the plane where Wardens and djinn work their magic), there's another problem. Things are appearing -- things that don't just destroy djinn, but erase them. When this happens, the djinn becomes unrecognizable, even in spirit; for example, when Joanne calls David to example an ash-turned djinn on the boat, he frowns and replies, "I don't know what that is." It's chilling and very, very unsettling.

I especially loved that there was more Lewis in this book. He's one of my favorites in an already awesome cast, and it was nice to see he and Joanne reminiscing and connecting. I also liked that Rahel appeared near the end -- she's another favorite, and it was kind of awesome how she and Joanne wriggled out of an unpleasant situation.

Overall: I'm not sure whether I want to read the last one immediately or wait a while, so I can stretch out my time with these characters as long as possible. Either way: highly enjoyable. I <3 this series.

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