Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Slap

This is a review of “The Slap” by Christos Tsiolakis. The Slap has also been made into a BBC series that aired on ABC on Australian television in 2011. Unfortunately it was repeated late last year and I missed it 😦 I don’t know when it will be on again.

A group of friends and family are enjoying a BBQ in suburban Melbourne. The night is progressing quite normally without too much drama, until a young boy is slapped by a man who is not his father. Each chapter is from a different character’s perspective. We get an insight into their perception of the incident and we find out more about them and their lives.

There’s Hector. The slap took place at his house, and was meted out by his cousin Harry. Deep down Hector thinks the kid deserved it, but outwardly he agrees with his wife Aisha, that his cousin should not have done it. Hector’s got a pretty good life. He’s got a beautiful wife, two kids and he’s aged well. He likes his life. But he’s got a pretty awful secret…

Anouk is Aisha’s best friend. She’s childless and writes the script for a tv soap. It isn’t what she really wants to do (it’s a bit trashy) but it pays good money. She’s dating one of the young actors from the show. She too thinks that the kid needed to be disciplined, but she’s not a mother, so her friends don’t think her opinion should count for much. Anouk’s thinking of heading in a new direction in her life. What will her future hold? The publication of her serious novel? Or maybe marriage, kids?

Harry is the slapper. The kid deserved it. He was threatening Harry’s son with a cricket bat for god’s sake! What was he meant to do? Maybe he shouldn’t have slapped him, but his parents weren’t doing anything. Harry loves his life. He has got everything he wants. Hot wife, perfect son, amazing house. And now this. It could ruin everything. The stupid mother has got the police involved, and there’s talk of the media. How could everything go so wrong so quickly?

Connie works for Aisha at her Veterinary Practice. She’s a teenager, 17. She thinks that no child should be slapped. But then again, she’s almost a child herself. After the BBQ she begins babysitting the slapped boy, Hugo. She’s in her final year of high school, and she lives with her Aunt Tasha. Her best friend is Richie. She’s got a secret too. And it’s the same as Hector’s…

Rosie is the mother of Hugo, the slapped boy. She is outraged and appalled at the man who “bashed” her son. She wants him punished. She’s taking him to court. Her husband Gary has a drinking problem, which she tries to ignore. She wasn’t sure about motherhood when she first had Hugo, but she’s determined to show him he’s loved. She’s quite lonely. She can’t wait to see the animal that hit her son punished.

Manolis is Hector’s father and Harry’s uncle. He’s growing old, and he’s seeing his friends around him die. He supports Harry in this slapping debacle. After all, he’s family. And if that woman was a better mother, none of this would have happened. He’s a bit bewildered and dismayed by how these young people are handling things. He just wishes Aisha would support her family and not her friend.

Aisha is Hector’s wife, and best friend to Anouk and Rosie. She is Connie’s boss. She thinks Harry was very wrong to have hit Hugo. And the incident has brought up a memory she prefers would stay hidden. She’s tempted by another man while away at a Veterinary Conference. She goes on a holiday with Hector, which turns out to be nothing like she had expected.

Richie is Connie’s best friend. They go to school together. Recently he’s confessed to her that he thinks he’s gay. Connie doesn’t mind, she understands him. He’s got crushes on inappropriate people, and he’s got a lot of teenage angst. He sometimes helps Connie babysit Hugo. Connie’s told him her secret. But feeling guilty she’s twisted it a little, and when he can’t bear to keep her secret any longer, the consequences are pretty awful.

I really liked this book. I couldn’t stop reading it. It was great. I could identify with the characters a lot. Going through similar things as a teenager as Connie, and similar feelings as Rosie regarding motherhood. I liked the Australian-ness of the book and also the multicultural elements. I didn’t really like the negative feel about extended breastfeeding that was expressed by the characters in the book, but I guess it is reflective of today’s society. I liked that it explored attitudes to hitting children. It was well written and a really intriguing book.

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Unbroken

This is a review of “Unbroken” by Rachel Caine. It is the fourth and final novel in the Outcast Season Series, which is a spin-off from the Weather Warden Series. It follows on from “Unseen“.

As this book is part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel(s). I would suggest that you not read this review if you wish to read this series in the future and do not want to know of any plot spoilers.

Cassiel is still after Pearl. But now she’s got another problem. The Mother (Mother Earth) has woken up. She is in pain and she’s severely pissed. She’s taken over all of the Djinn and now they’re hellbent on destroying the human race. Being human completely blows sometimes! They’ve got to contend with natural disasters, killer Djinn (some who used to be their allies) and plague ridden Djinn, who are spreading sickness and disease.

And Pearl has extended her helping hand to the Wardens. As the Wardens need all the help they can get, they’ve gladly accepted her offer. Cassiel and Luis know how dangerous she is, but no one else wants to listen. They just want to get out of their current mess. So Cassiel is forced to cooperate with Pearl and her damaged children. They’re all pretty frightening, so powerful, but the void children, capable of completely destroying a Djinn are terrifying.

They’re still dealing with Pearl’s damage to Isabel. And Ibby herself (with the help of Es) has decided to transform herself into someone who is more capable. Es is as venomous as usual, but things are going ok. Now all they’ve got to to do is save the world, destroy Pearl, rescue the Djinn and humanity and protect the Mother. No worries.

I liked this book. It ended the series well. I loved the way it joined with the events recounted by Joanne in “Total Eclipse“. It was pretty cool to see Cassiel’s perspective of the same events. It was awesome to think that while Joanne was busy with her mission, Cassiel had one that was just as important. It was also quite cool to see how Cassiel interacted with other characters from the Weather Warden Series, and how they in turn interacted with her. Rahel was entertaining as usual. And so was Rashid with his leather pants. There were some sad parts, but all in all I did like this book a lot. I am looking forward to reading more Rachel Caine in the future. 🙂

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Unseen

This is a review of “Unseen” by Rachel Caine. It is the third novel in the Outcast Season Series, which is a spin-off from the Weather Warden Series. It follows on from “Unknown“.

As this book is part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel(s). I would suggest that you not read this review if you wish to read this series in the future and do not want to know of any plot spoilers.

Cassiel and Luis have Isabel back with them. But there are some issues with settling back in. Ibby finds it hard to trust Cassiel fully, and she’s also finding it hard to contain her powers and stop using them. Her ability is Fire (with a smattering of Earth power) which is not too great to be out of control with either. And then Luis gets a call from Marion Bearheart, who would like Ibby to attend her boarding school specifically for the abducted Warden children.

Ibby, Cassiel nor Luis are keen on the idea, but it’s probably what’s best for Ibby. Reluctantly, and after a life lesson from Cassiel, Ibby agrees to attend the school. The three of them set off on their journey to Marion and the others. The school is both a hopeful place and a sad place. It’s sad because the children are mostly orphaned and damaged, and hopeful, because they have each other and mentors to help them. Luis wants to stay. It’s obvious their help is needed. But Cassiel knows she must try and defeat Pearl, and to do that she must leave Luis and Ibby. That doesn’t go down very well at all.

Cassiel, in disguise, infiltrates one of Pearl’s compounds. Pearl’s cult is a bizarre place, where strangely enough Cassiel feels content and peaceful. There are gifted children and normal folks, and it seems like everyone has a place. Will Cassiel fulfil her goal of destroying Pearl? Or will she lose herself in the cult? Are Ibby and Luis safe at Marion’s school? Or is there a traitor in their midst?

This was a good novel! It was great having them all back together, and even though it was hard to read, it was good to have a bit of conflict between the characters, especially between Luis and Cassiel. I liked Esmeralda, and Darwin’s little cameo :), and it was really cool seeing a different side to Ashan. I really like the way this novel and this series intertwines with the Weather Warden Series.

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Yay! My review got retweeted by Rachel Caine herself!

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Unknown

This is a review of “Unknown” by Rachel Caine. It is the second novel in the Outcast Season Series, which is a spin-off from the Weather Warden Series. It follows on from “Undone“.

As this book is the second in a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel. I would suggest that you not read this review if you wish to read this series in the future and do not want to know of any plot spoilers.

After discovering a large operation involving an ex-Djinn, Pearl, now a major supernatural entity bent on revenge and the extermination of the Djinn, and the kidnapping of children that exhibit Warden abilities, it is Cassiel and Luis’ goal to shut it down. Isabel is still missing, and they both desperately want her back safe and sound. They turn to the FBI for help. Specifically to Agent Turner, an undercover Warden in the FBI. He promises to see what he can do.

In the meantime, Luis and Cassiel head home to recuperate. But it seems as if their relationship is shifting into something more than just Warden partners. They are attacked at home by a forceful but uncontrolled being, they trace the attack back to a child Warden. They disable him, put him to sleep and contact Marion Bearheart. She says she will take the boy. So Cassiel and Luis hit the road to take the unconscious Warden boy to Vegas it the Ma’at and then Marion. The trip is not without problems.

In Vegas, they encounter the Ma’at and the free Djinn Rashid, who provides them with aid. Cassiel realises that she must petition the Earth Oracle Imara for a special list that will provide her with very valuable information about the stolen Warden children. But the list must not leave Cassiel’s hands and no one else may touch it. Can they save Isabel and the other Warden children?

I liked this novel, not as much as I liked “Undone” (I really enjoyed that one). I am excited for the new things growing between Luis and Cassiel, apprehensive about the pact Cassiel made with Rashid :/, and nervous for Isabel. Looking forward to reading “Unseen”.

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Undone

This is a review of “Undone” by Rachel Caine. It is the first novel in the Outcast Season Series, which is a spin-off from the Weather Warden Series.

Cassiel was a Djinn. Until Ashan cast her out for refusing to his bidding, and bound her to human flesh. A form she has never taken on in all her years of existence. It’s painful, humiliating and highly inconvenient. And what’s more, it appears that she has become dependent upon the Weather Wardens as a source for her power, she is unable to pull any power from the world surrounding her into herself. With a little help from David and Joanne (from the Weather Warden Series), she is paired with an Earth Warden from Albuquerque, New Mexico; a Manny Rocha.

He is a rather average Earth Warden, and his job is not too strenuous or exciting, but he’s her meal ticket, and Cassiel does have a lot to get used to in her new existence as a human. She’s shunned by the other Djinn, and if any do deign to talk her, they’re New Djinn, not like her, an Old ‘True’ Djinn. His family (wife Angela and young daughter, Isabel) welcomes her, and though she doesn’t want to be human at all, she finds her heart being touched by the Rocha family. And then strange things begin happening.

While out on a job, Manny and Cassiel are attacked by an unknown force with Warden or Djinn powers. And then after the arrival of Manny’s younger brother, Luis (first appeared in “Gale Force“) another attack is made on Manny’s work office, when all three of them are there. After Cassiel is attacked on her own while following a lead on who is responsible, it’s clear that all three of them had better watch out.

After a truly devastating attack, Cassiel and Luis are force to track and trail something very precious to the both of them. Can they find the responsible party? Or will they die trying?

I really liked this book. Cassiel is a very cool character. I loved her Martian-ness: the confusion and detachment and discovery involved in her attempts at being human. I liked her haughtiness and lack of modesty or embarrassment. I liked getting to know Luis a little better. There was sadness in this book, but love too. I am enjoying this series immensely so far (I know I have only read the first book) and I think I may even like it better than the Weather Warden Series already! It is definitely worth the read. You do not need to have read the Weather Warden Series to get into this one, but you will have a greater understanding of Weather Wardens and Djinn if you do. And really, who doesn’t love discovering a new series with lots of books to be read and none to wait for?

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Total Eclipse

This is a review of “Total Eclipse” by Rachel Caine. It is the ninth and final novel in the Weather Warden Series. It follows on from “Cape Storm“.

As this book is a part of series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novels. Do not read if you want to read this series in the future and do not want to know of any plot spoilers.

It’s the end of the world as we know it. Well, for the humans anyway.

After defeating Demon-addled Bad Bob Biringanine, Jo and David are powerless. The final battle has forced their powers to exit their bodies, and both of them are now defenseless humans. But it seems everyone else is in the same boat, literally and metaphorically. The battle created a black corner, where Wardens have no power and Djinn do not either. It’s alright for the Wardens, it’s pretty bad for the Djinn. They’re all struggling in the hospital ward while the Cruise ship attempts to get them all out of the black corner as quickly as possible. But as soon as the black corner ends, the Djinn begin screaming. It’s a sound unlike any other, it’s terrible, horrifying, painful. And then all of the Djinn disappear. Poof!

There can only be one explanation. Mother Earth. And it seems after this latest assault she is majorly pissed, and wishes to be rid of humanity once and for all. And she’s got not only the Djinn helping her, but the animals too. Disaster after disaster rains down, and it’s all anyone can do just to survive. And Jo and David didn’t get their powers back at the end of the black corner. Someone else got them instead.

They need them back. So they set off, in the face of natural disasters, homicidal Djinn and murderous wildlife to locate the three beings that may be able to help them: The Oracles, Air, Fire and Earth. Cherise and Kevin come along for the ride. Will the Oracles help them? Can David and Jo get their powers returned to them? Can they convince Mother Earth not to wipeout all humanity? Here’s hoping!

I really, really liked this book. It was a great end to the series, and I wasn’t really left wanting for anything. I liked the inclusion of Cassiel in this book, and I am definitely intrigued with her and her story, and will be reading her series: The a outcast Season a series soon. I liked seeing Jo vulnerable again, and even moreso, David as a human. There were some sad parts in this novel, but lots of action packed, adrenaline-filled parts.

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Cape Storm

This is a review of “Cape Storm” by Rachel Caine. It is the eighth novel in the Weather Warden Series. It follows on from “Gale Force“.

As this book is a part of series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novels. Do not read if you want to read this series in the future and do not want to know of any plot spoilers.

Joanne had planned to be on her honeymoon. But of course she’s not. She’s aboard a cruise ship, but it’s packed with Weather Wardens, and they’re on their way to meet with an enemy, but they’re also being pursued by an almighty storm. Who’s the enemy? Bad Bob Biringanine is back. And he is even grosser than usual. What does he want? To destroy the world of course.

Armed with his spear of antimatter, what the Djinn call The Unmaking, he has the power to destroy the Earth, and all life on it. And he’s not alone. He’s got his army, the sour and anti-Djinn Sentinels, and a mysterious force that can cause damage and even kill Wardens in the aetheric. And it can take on a Djinn. And he’s managed to infect Jo with a type of Demon Mark that is slowly spreading and taking over her thoughts and personality. He’s also still holding Rahel captive.

So Jo along with Lewis, Cherise, Kevin, David and a small but powerful force of Djinn, are setting out on their hijacked Luxury Cruiser to stop Bad Bob and save the world. But can they get there in time? What if Joanne gets uber evil before they arrive? What if the storm sinks their ship? What about these mysterious beings that have joined Bad Bob and have slaughtered Wardens on the aetheric?

Poor Jo just never seems to catch a break. I feel for her in this novel, she should be playing newly weds with David, and instead she’s trying to save the world and battle another Demon Mark. The cruise ship idea was pretty cool, and I liked the pirates too. The ghosts were a little frightening. Poor Lewis had to go through a bit in this one too. A great read. Looking forward to the next one, but not because it’s the last book in this series! We did hear a teeny bit about Cassiel in this novel. Cassiel is the main character in Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden spin-off Series: Outcast Season Series. I’m looking forward to reading those soon!

Oh and I totally loved the Battlestar Galactica reference in Chapter 1!

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Gale Force

This is a review of “Gale Force” by Rachel Caine. It is the seventh novel in the Weather Warden Series. It follows on from “Thin Air“.

As this book is a part of series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novels. Do not read if you want to read this series in the future and do not want to know of any plot spoilers.

Jo’s meant to be having some time off. She’s meant to be relaxing and de-stressing. But it appears she doesn’t know the meaning of the word vacation. And come on, it’s not that easy to take time off when it’s your job to save the world. It’s even harder when there’s a wildfire burning so close the fire is visible from your apartment. But if her vacation can’t get her mind off work, maybe David can. He’s popped the question. Yes, the question. So now Jo’s got some major planning to do.

But not everything is wonderful. There are some reporters hounding her for info on the Wardens, and so far they haven’t been easily dissuaded. And on Jo’s first shopping trip for a wedding dress, disaster strikes. Literally. An Earthquake hits. Jo goes to examine the quake on the aetheric with another local Earth Warden, and they find a curious black shard plunged deep into the aetheric ground. They can’t touch it on the aetheric. So Jo calls Lewis, and they go and examine the shard on the aetheric. Louis grabs it and his hands come away burned.

After an emergency Warden meeting, it’s decided that they need an expert to take a closer look in the real world as Lewis’ wounds show that the shard is radioactive even on the aetheric. On closer inspection the shard proves to be deadly dangerous. And what’s even more unusual, it appears the Djinn can’t even see it all. So the Djinn are blind and think the Wardens are delusional. And then an anonymous and untraceable email from a group that calls themselves The Sentinels claims credit for the attack.

What is the black shard made from? Why can’t the Djinn see it? Who are The Sentinels and what do they want?

I liked this book, but not as much as enjoyed the previous book in the series “Thin Air“. There were two instances in this book where I was shocked, I didn’t see those parts coming at all, which I really liked.

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Thin Air

This is a review of “Thin Air” by Rachel Caine. It is the sixth novel in the Weather Warden Series. It follows on from “Firestorm“.

As this book is a part of series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novels. Do not read if you want to read this series in the future and do not want to know of any plot spoilers.

Joanne wakes in a forest, naked, freezing and no idea where or who she is. She has no memory of what’s happened to her, indeed no memories of her life at all. She can only hope she’s not in any danger, but her current state seems to contradict that. She comes across two men who claim to be her rescuers, but of course she has no idea who they are. One is drop dead gorgeous and a little otherworldly, and from his body language she suspects they’ve been lovers. The other seems fairly human apart from the fact that he can generate fire from thin air (like magic!) and heal with only his hands. He says he can control the weather and what’s more, she can too.

As Joanne struggles to get by and recover her memories, Lewis (the magical human) informs her that he thinks a Demon may be after her. At first, Jo chalks this up as crazy talk. But then they come across two of their friends, Cherise and Kevin, only they’re not quite themselves. After they can’t provide an adequate explanation for their being there, Lewis concludes that they are being controlled by a Demon. A showdown with Lewis and Kevin ensues, and Jo and Lewis barely escape, but not before Jo catches a glimpse of the Demon, who shockingly looks just like…her. A fact she keeps to herself.

Eventually, Lewis and Jo are rescued by the Wardens. They are taken to a secure Warden facility where Jo is examined. During her examination, something goes terribly wrong and she is restrained in a room by herself. Where she is attacked by her doppelgänger Demon. Jo manages to escape, but what’s she to do now? With the Demon impersonating her, it appears that she herself is the Demon. And she’s only got one little Djinn (Venna of course) on her side. Add some existing arrest warrants and Eamon and Sarah to the mix and Jo is pretty well screwed. How will she get her memories back now? And how will she defeat her “evil twin”?

I liked “Thin Air”. It was nice to see Jo’s vulnerable side for a change. I also liked the memory flashbacks from the other characters. It was cool to see events and Jo from their perspective, and was nice to see some backstory and plot gaps filled this way. And to be annoyingly cryptic, yay for the new Earth Oracle!

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Firestorm

This is a review of “Firestorm” by Rachel Caine. It is the fifth novel in the Weather Warden Series. It follows on from “Windfall“.

As this book is a part of series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novels. Do not read if you want to read this series in the future and do not want to know of any plot spoilers.

Joanne is on her way to New York to the Weather Warden Headquarters to warn them of the trouble that’s to come (read: possible apocalypse). Mother Earth is waking up, and shes not too thrilled with the state of things. she can possess all of the Djinn too, which is very dangerous for the Wardens and humanity in general. Jo has her friend Cherise for company on the trip. She’s not thrilled about having her along for the ride as she’s on Warden business, but she is using Cherise’s car. Also taking the trip is her daughter Imara. Which is fairly bizarre, as she’s fully grown, with a killer taste in fashion. It’s kinda weirding Jo out.

When they get to New York, things don’t quite go as Jo planned. For starters the place is an absolute mess and a lot of the Wardens have been killed or injured by Djinn. No one really knows whether she can be trusted or not, and her story does sound a little crazy. While she’s isolated pending the other Warden’s verdict, she receives a call from Eamon, that creep who has abducted her sister (though she’s blissfully drugged and unaware an thinks he’s her brilliant new boyfriend). He wants a Djinn or he’s going to kill her sister Sarah. Jo’s feeling pretty helpless and alone. Her sister is in danger, none of the other Wardens want to trust her, they’ve kicked out Cherise and David has warned her that he really can’t be trusted anymore.

She has a weird dream about Jonathan and in it he cryptically instructs her to go to Seacasket. This she does in her new set of wheels bought forger by Lewis. The car is gorgeous, a vintage midnight blue and black SS Camaro. In Seacasket she hopes to find a being that can help her communicate with Mother Earth in the hope that she will listen and give humanity another chance. It’s a long shot, but there’s really nothing left to lose. But Ashan and his Djinn posse don’t want Jo to complete her mission and he will do anything to stop her.

I liked this book, it was great seeing Jo adjust to motherhood. I liked the introduction if the oracles and the complication with the Djinn but there were some unexpected happenings that I was a bit upset by. 😦 I do NOT like Ashan at all.

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Rachel Caine herself retweeted the link to my review. How awesome is that?!

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