- Trenton, ON, Canada
- member since January 22, 2011
“At the end of Dark Heart Forever, Evan turned out to be Raphael, the son of Anna’s teenage love Gabriel. Raphael wanted revenge because he mistakenly believed that Anna had broken Gabriel’s heart and caused his death. Luca, Dayla and Lowe saved Jane and her family from Raphael’s wrath when they...”
“At the end of Dark Heart Forever, Evan turned out to be Raphael, the son of Anna’s teenage love Gabriel. Raphael wanted revenge because he mistakenly believed that Anna had broken Gabriel’s heart and caused his death. Luca, Dayla and Lowe saved Jane and her family from Raphael’s wrath when they were able to prove that guilt ridden Gabriel had in fact broken Anna’s heart when he deserted her. A sombre Evan returned to Nissilum along with Luca and Dayla. In Dark Heart Rising, the second installment of the Dark Heart series, Luca finds himself in a bind when his parents, unhappy with him being with a mortal, betroth him to another werewolf, Lila. Luca is duty bound to obey his parent’s wishes and a heartbroken Jane is forced to contemplate life without him. To take her mind off Luca, Jane joins her grandmother on a trip to Paris where she meets a Hungarian art lover, the mysterious enigmatic Soren Balzac. It’s not long before the two strike up a tentative friendship.
Jane comes to discover that her meeting with Soren was not by chance after all when he reveals that he is from Nissilum and wants to help reunite her with Luca in order to prevent him from marrying Lila whom he happens to love himself. Jane is unsure if she can trust Soren after his initial deception but is swayed by the thought of being with Luca again.
Celeste and Cadmium incarcerated Raphael on his return to Nissilum for his actions in the Dark Heart Forever. He has been released and supposedly cured of the ‘madness’ that had been inflicting him. With Cadmium seriously ill, Celeste has hopes that Raphael will step up and fulfil his duty as ruler of Nissilum. Raphael however still seeks answers to his father’s disappearance and uncovers some startling discoveries that reinforce his beliefs that Nissilum’s rule is not what it seems.
Jane and Soren return to Nissilum. Raphael is surprised when he sees Jane and intrigued by Soren whom he sees as a kindred spirit. Luca however is shocked when he sees Jane with Soren and struggles to keep his emotions in check for the sake of his family. Jane’s only true ally is Luca’s sister Dalya. Jane has further reservations about Soren when she meets his one ally in Nissilum, the vampire Vanya, who Jane almost fell victim to in the previous book. What dark secret is Soren hiding and what are his true reasons for being in Nissilum?
I really enjoyed this sequel and thought it was better than the first book. The plot moved along nicely with lots of suspense and twists that I didn’t see coming unlike the first installment - Soren being the son of Gabriel and Vanya for example. That Gabriel certainly has a lot to answer for although he’s as yet to make an appearance – something that will hopefully be remedied in the next installment?
The development of Jane’s character throughout the book was pleasing. She’s more mature and emotionally stronger in this book. Vanya was a surprising revelation too. I found her quite creepy in the last book but we see a wonderful zealous and loyal side to her in this book. Her ironic dry sense of humour as well as the scene where she dresses Jane up as a vampire made me laugh. Soren was a pleasant addition to the book as well. He had his secrets but he also had genuine reasons for keeping those secrets. In the end his intentions were honourable. Also how cool is the fact that he’s half angel half vampire!
One of the highlights of the book was the chance to explore Raphael’s story and perspective. I found myself understanding his motives and even liking him. I respected him for doing the right thing by Soren when he had every reason to see him as a threat.
I'm really looking forward to seeing how the author will develop further in the next installment Dark Heart Surrender - especially with regards to Raphael and his new personal mission to find his father in the mortal world. It will be interesting to read how Luca copes with the mortal world now that he has decided to join Jane there.
Becky D rated a book.
“Dark Hearts Forever is the first installment in the Dark Heart trilogy by Lee Monroe. Jane Jonas has always felt like an outsider. Bullied at school, she has constantly struggled to fit in and prefers to be homeschooled. Jane is approaching her 16th birthday and is troubled by vivid dreams in...”
“Dark Hearts Forever is the first installment in the Dark Heart trilogy by Lee Monroe. Jane Jonas has always felt like an outsider. Bullied at school, she has constantly struggled to fit in and prefers to be homeschooled. Jane is approaching her 16th birthday and is troubled by vivid dreams in which she feels inexplicably drawn to a boy, with moss green eyes who tells her that they belong together. Around this time another boy, Evan arrives in town and literally sweeps her off her feet. Handsome but enigmatic, Jane can’t believe her luck when he expresses an interest in her and the two start dating. Then she meets the boy of her dreams, sweet and gentle Luca who Jane feels a connection with. Soon Jane finds herself caught between two worlds: one familiar, but tinged with romance and excitement; the other a dark and dangerous parallel world with werewolves, vampires, witches and angels etc. Who should she trust?
Dark Hearts Forever is an average and at times quirky YA book. I found Jane’s visits to Nissilum intriguing and believable. The idea of a world where werewolves, vampires and witches reside with the angels keeping them in line is an original concept I have not come across before. On the other hand, I found many aspects of the plot predictable. Evan unsettled me from the onset as I felt he was trying too hard to ingratiate himself with Jane and her family. By the time Jane goes to the ball, it became obvious that Evan originated from Nissilum too. It was easy to figure out that Jane’s mother Anna was the author of the journal quite early on especially when Jane’s father lets slip that he wasn’t Anna’s first love.
The main character annoyed me at times. Granted she has trust issues but her inability to see the wood for the trees was exasperating especially when people were genuinely trying to help her. Luca also had his own issues to work through too, but once he made up his mind, he comes through for Jane. The book doesn’t offer a sufficient explanation on how or why Luca is supposedly connected to Jane. Why is Jane able to see him in her dreams? Does the connection have something to do with Anna’s previous visits to Nissilum?
I loved Jane’s younger sister, Dot. The banter between the two was sweet at times and suggested that Dot was mature beyond her age. Luca’s sister Dayla was also a scene stealer as she more than once laid herself on the line for Luca and Jane. Lowe was one of the most interesting characters to emerge out of Nissilum for me. He is sharp and observant; he was suspicious of Jane from the onset. I couldn’t quite put my finger on whether he was a goodie or baddie and I’ll be interested to see how his character develops later in the series.
I was swayed into buying the book by the beautiful imagery on the front. So much so that I’ve bought the second book without knowing how the first one would turn out. I hope that now Jane has decided who she wants we will get to know more about Nissilum and the strange bond Luca and Jane share in the next installment.
“Unbroken is the fourth and final installment in the Outcast series by Rachel Caine. The book picks up shortly after the events of Unseen with Cassiel, Luis, Isabel and Esmeralda counting their losses from the previous battle. Isabel has changed as a result of the manipulation and exploitation she...”
“Unbroken is the fourth and final installment in the Outcast series by Rachel Caine. The book picks up shortly after the events of Unseen with Cassiel, Luis, Isabel and Esmeralda counting their losses from the previous battle. Isabel has changed as a result of the manipulation and exploitation she experienced at the hands of the malevolent Pearl. Cassiel and Luis can only guess at the extent of the abuse she suffered. With her new powers and a maturity beyond her six years, Isabel realises there’s no going back and she can no longer be a hindrance to her uncle and Cassiel. To their horror she ages herself and announces she will no longer be treated as a child and wants to help stop Pearl once and for all. Cassiel realises that the ramifications of what Isabel has done to herself will be felt throughout her now brief life.
Pearl is no longer the only danger on the horizon – Mother Earth is awake, and she is about to unleash her anger on planet earth, the likes of which humans, wardens and Djinn have never seen. Cassiel and Luis unite with Lewis and the Warden’s as they attempt to minimise the damage being inflicted by earthquakes, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes to the earth and human life. Adding to the chaos and destruction are the Djinn who are under Mother Earth's thrall with instructions to take out the Wardens. To their dismay Cassiel and Luis discover that Pearl has taken human form to convince the Wardens of her desire to help and continues to tap into her children’s powers. Cassiel knows that the children with their powers enhanced by Pearl’s manipulations are now capable of destruction beyond human comprehension. She also knows that Pearl is bidding her time and will strike at the first opportunity.
Lewis instructs Cassiel and Luis to rescue Joanne who is trapped at a nuclear plant. Cassiel later finds herself in dire straits when she is captured and held prisoner in a crystal cocoon by Pearl who plans to transform Cassiel into her own personal weapon. Fortunately she’s rescued by Lewis who heals her. Now the lines have been drawn and the battle ground set. Cassiel has chosen her allies and now she must take a final stand to protect everything she holds dear. Only towards the end does Cassiel realise what Ashan wanted of her and why. Will her sacrifice be enough?
Unbroken is the fourth and final book in the Outcast Season series and in the Weather Warden time line runs alongside the last book Total Eclipse. Those familiar with Total Eclipse will have an inkling of how some of the plot plays out but Outcast allows us to see how events played out from different perspectives. Cassiel’s journey is different from Joanne’s in that she alone must stand against Pearl who remains intent on destroying Mother Earth. Every character has their own role to play – their own sacrifice to make. All in all Caine does a great job of creating tense, dramatic situations which leave the reader wondering to the end.
Isabel’s evolution from the innocent, happy mischievous 6 year old first introduced in Undone to the emotionally scarred, brave resolute girl in Unbroken was heartbreaking to read. She was mature enough to realise what needed to be done and yet at times she was still the 6yr old girl who needed her parents and love and security.
It was great to see cameo’s from Joanne, David, Lewis, Rahel, Venna and even Rashid. Esmeralda’s death came as a surprise. She had been redeemed, finally gets her body back only to die? Apart from that the series ended on a satisfying note.
“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....”
“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.”
“In Unborn we were introduced to Cassiel, one of the old Djinn who had been cast out by Ashan after she refused to destroy humanity to eliminate a bigger threat to the Djinn – Pearl. Now in human form and no longer connected to the aetheric, she was forced to rely on the Warden’s whose power she...”
“In Unborn we were introduced to Cassiel, one of the old Djinn who had been cast out by Ashan after she refused to destroy humanity to eliminate a bigger threat to the Djinn – Pearl. Now in human form and no longer connected to the aetheric, she was forced to rely on the Warden’s whose power she now needed to sustain her in order to survive. She was assigned to work with Manny Rocha and developed a bond with his daughter Isabel. When Manny and his wife are murdered and Isabel was abducted, she and Manny’s brother Luis set out to rescue her. Cassiel discovered that other Warden children were also missing and that Pearl, an old powerful rogue Djinn she had presumed dead was using them to build an army. In Unknown, Cassiel and Luis continue their search for Isabel but find themselves under constant attack from child soldiers trained by Pearl. The trail eventually leads them to a traitor. Will Cassiel save the captured Warden children and stop Pearl from destroying the world before it’s too late?
Unknown is set around the time of the 8th book of the Weather Warden series, Cape Storm. With most of the Warden’s out on a cruise ship trying to prevent a massive storm from consuming them, Cassiel and Luis find themselves alone in their quest to find Isabel and stop Pearl. With reference to the WW books however, one cannot but draw comparisons between the heroines in both books. The irony being that we have Joanne losing her humanity as she fights the Demon Mark possessing her while Cassiel is finding her humanity and learning to deal with the overwhelming emotions that go with being human.
There is little plot momentum in the second installment as the emphasis seems to be more on character development. Cassiel remains determined to avenge the family she failed to protect and find Isabel. Her relationship with Luis continues to evolve as does her own sense of self. We get to learn more about her Djinn side and in turn see just how far she’s come since she became human. With the Djinn continuing to boycott her, the Warden’s in short supply and friends betraying her, the stakes have never been higher and she’s forced to make some tough choices that are often shocking but necessary. They are helped by an unlikely ally in the form of Rashid, a New Djinn, as well as an FBI agent/Fire Warden, Ben Turner. Though soon, both Cassiel and Luis realize that trust is not a luxury they can afford.
“Undone is the first installment in the Outcast series by Rachel Caine. The book focuses on Cassiel, a fallen Djinn who has been cast out to live life as a human by Ashan as punishment for disobeying an order. No longer connected to the aetheric, she’s forced to rely on the Warden’s whose power...”
“Undone is the first installment in the Outcast series by Rachel Caine. The book focuses on Cassiel, a fallen Djinn who has been cast out to live life as a human by Ashan as punishment for disobeying an order. No longer connected to the aetheric, she’s forced to rely on the Warden’s whose power she now needs to sustain her in order to survive. Taken under their wing, Cassiel is assigned by Lewis to work with Manny Rocha, an earth Warden. Cassiel struggles to adapt to human life as she had always shied away from humankind while she was a Djinn. On meeting Manny’s family – his wife Angela, daughter Isabel and brother Luis Cassiel starts to form an attachment to her new family – particularly Isabel.
Cassiel’s new life is disrupted when Manny and Angela are murdered and Isabel is abducted. Now teamed up with Luis whom she has started to have feelings for, Cassiel tries to track down Isabel while facing a menacing unseen force that is hell bent on stopping her at all costs. The duo soon learns that other Warden children have also been abducted. Who is responsible for the abductions and what are their reasons? Will Luis and Cassiel rescue Isabel in time? Who is the force behind the attacks on Cassiel that has even the invincible Djinn afraid?
The course of the story follows Cassiel as she learns to deal with her human limitations and the world that the Wardens live in. Watching her adapt and battle with all the human feelings suddenly bombarding her was interesting to read. Having read the Weather Warden series prior to the Outcast series, I was familiar with the concept of the wardens and djinn as well as the characters. One of the most surprising characters to make an appearance was Jonathon, the former leader of the Djinn before they split into two factions. After his death he had appeared twice to Joanne and indicated that he still existed on some plane but it was never fully explained how or why. In Undone we learn that he has moved on to a higher plane and is in fact an angel.
Throughout the book I wondered why Cassiel had been cast out by Ashan and thankfully all was revealed towards the end when we learned that Ashan had wanted her to destroy humanity in order to eliminate the greater threat – Pearl. I did wonder over her reasons for not agreeing as she had no concept of who humanity was prior to turning into one herself but fortunately she did.
It’s Cassiel's struggle with human emotion that makes Undone such a compelling read. Her attachment to Manny and his family, her bond with Isabel as well as her growing attraction to Luis made the book more interesting. She goes from being cold and impersonal to loyal and caring. The book ends on a cliffhanger as do most of Rachel’s books so be warned!