Book Log #98: Undone, by Rachel Caine

Undone is the first of userinforachelcaine‘s new series Outcast Season, the offshoot from the Weather Warden books, and as series starters go it’s not bad. We’re introduced to Cassiel, a djinn who’s forced into human shape–and, as a result, forced to work with the Wardens on whose power she depends to keep herself alive. But when the Warden assigned to work with her is killed along with his wife, she must turn to his brother instead to track down their killers. And all the while she has to cope with the unwelcome side effects of prolonged incarnation in human form.

The story’s not without flaws, most of which are repeatedly played too heavily: how much Cassiel hates being human, the cute child insisting on calling her Cassie despite being told repeatedly that she prefers to be called Cassiel, how the Wardens keep assuming that if something goes wrong it’s clearly Cassiel’s fault, how Cassiel being incarnated into human form is part of a Greater Plan(TM). Taken individually, none of these quibbles are too bad, but as a whole, for me as a reader, I could have liked all of them toned down just a tad.

Also: the token appearance of David and Jo at the very beginning of the story honestly detracted from the rest of the story for me, and it really felt like a question of “let’s put them in here just to prove to the reader that this is the same universe as Jo’s stories”, since David and Jo didn’t really provide any other plot relevance to the story–and we’re not even told why Cassiel, incarnated into human shape, is dumped on David and Jo to begin with. Lewis has far more pertinent reason to show up at the beginning, since he’s the one that lays it out to Cassiel how it’ll have to go if she expects the Wardens to work with her. But much as I’ve enjoyed David and Jo’s story over in the Weather Warden books, they just didn’t need to be in this one.

All this said? There’s still a good solid story here. I liked the edgy interaction between Cassiel and Luis, still very much too edgy to be a proper romance yet, and hopefully it’ll be a relationship that takes a while to develop. The Big Bad of the story intrigued me, as did the backstory there between the Big Bad and Cassiel herself. And yeah, I’ll be checking out Book Two. For this one, three stars.

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Angela Korra'ti

As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.