“Spoiler Alert! At the end of Unknown, Cassiel and Luis rescued Isabel and a small group of children and Cassiel realised that the threat Pearl posed went deeper than they had anticipated. Programmed and brainwashed against the Wardens, the children’s powers had manifested before their time. Forever altered as a result of their ordeal at the hands of Pearl, they faced a long battle in learning to control their new enhanced powers. In Unseen, Marion Bearheart urges Luis to enrol Isabel at her school which has been designed to help the children rescued from Pearl’s camp to control their powers. Luis is reluctant as is Isabel who doesn’t want to be separated from her uncle. Cassiel must make a difficult choice when she realises Isabel needs help and that her own priority must be to stop Pearl at all costs. Isabel resolves to enrol after meeting the half snake half witch, Esmeralda. Luis however, elects to stay and help the other kids but misjudges Cassiel’s desertion as rejection. He in turn betrays her.
While Luis’s betrayal cuts deep, Cassiel remains focused on her mission. With the FBI hot on her trail, Cassiel attempts to penetrate one of Pearl’s cult operations the Church of the New World by infiltrating an FBI camp outside one of Pearl’s complexes. En route to the camp, Cassiel learns that there is a traitor at the school but is helpless to turn back and can only warn Luis. At the camp, Cassiel befriends a fellow camper named Will who she feels an attraction to. To her dismay, Will turns out to be Ashan in disguise, still trying to convince Cassiel to destroy humanity. When he severs her connection to Luis she must take drastic measures. Will she make it in time to stop the traitor at the school? Will she infiltrate Pearl’s complex and stop her once and for all?
There were several surprising twists in Unseen hence the title. The identity of the traitor was someone I had never expected. Also several of the new characters introduced surprisingly end up dead. Cassiel continues to fascinate me. She questions her old beliefs as a Djinn and weighs them against her new experiences as a human. By coming to terms with her humanity she has come to see understand the limits and vulnerable aspects of being human. Unfortunately she comes under fire for some of the choices she’s forced to make but she never wavers from what she believes is right.
Isabel’s transformation from the delightful innocent child first introduced in Undone to the damaged, haunted, troubled girl we now see as a result of her being exposed to evil was heart breaking to read. Cassiel sadly realises she can never go back to the sweet girl she was.
Two highlights of the book for me were the emergence of Ashan and the mysterious Djinn Rashid. The latter’s penchant for appearing in his birthday suit whenever he appears around a flustered Cassiel has me in fits of giggles. Currently it’s anyone’s guess who he answers to. It was interesting to read more about the motivation behind Ashan’s agenda and what he feels should be done about Pearl. Shockingly it appears he has feelings for Cassiel, even saving her life at one point when she takes a beating at the hands of Pearl and her children. I had disliked Ashan intensely in the Weather Warden books, his disdain for humans being a sore point but here I found a shred of sympathy for him. At one point he foretells his own death and appeals to Cassiel to come back to him. Cassiel turns down the chance to become a Djinn again because she has now embraced her humanity, something Ashan had never considered when he cast her out. Esmeralda was also an interesting addition, caught between two different forms it will be intriguing to read how her friendship with Isabel develops in Unbroken.”