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Total Eclipse (Weather Warden, Book 9) by Rachel Caine
Review by Drew Bittner
Roc Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451463456
Date: 03 August 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

In the ninth book in the Weather Warden series, things could not be much worse for Joanne Baldwin and her husband, the uber-powerful djinn David. A devastating battle against their worst enemy has left both of them powerless...and dying by inches.

Total Eclipse begins with an almost-literal voyage of the damned. Joanne, David and a handful of djinn are on a freighter, sailing as fast as they can to escape a magical dead zone. Deprived of magic, the djinn are dying; even Lewis Orwell, Jo's boss and best friend, cannot stave off their imminent demise.

Things take a turn for the strange when they reach the border of the dead zone--and the djinn vanish. Turns out Mother Nature is waking up...and she is not happy. Storms, earthquakes, and volcanic upheaval wreak havoc on the world, and there is nothing the gathered Wardens can do to stop it. At best, they can only slow the inevitable: the end of mankind.

With the djinn now avenging the damage humanity has inflicted on the Earth, Joanne and her fellow Weather Wardens have their hands full. Well, Joanne and David don't, because they're powerless. But Jo and David conceive a desperately dangerous plan, and call upon their friends Cherise and Kevin for help. Seeking out an old enemy, the two find their courage and love tested as never before, because this last challenge is one for all the marbles.

With its epic scope and earth-shattering climax, Total Eclipse may well be the last novel in the series--it is hard to imagine Rachel Caine has left her (surviving) heroes anywhere to go or any greater challenges to overcome. Taking on the Earth itself is about as big picture as it gets, but the story never flags and the action never lets up.

Joanne remains true to her core self here, snarky, anti-authoritarian and willing to take crazy risks in order to win. But her almost violent individuality is now tempered by her fierce love for David, and his for her. They've endured amazing challenges, earning their happily ever after a dozen times over, but life is not often kind to heroes.

Lewis also comes into his own here, after stories in which he was also virtually powerless or boxed into a corner by circumstances and so on. He's the most powerful wizard of his generation, but this may be the first time we see him truly unleashed.

Kevin and Cherise have grown into stalwart allies (especially Kevin, whose introduction several books ago was an ill omen), while the djinn undergo perhaps their most dire transformation into Mother Nature's wrath incarnate. They haven't lost all of their personality but they are being controlled--and some go with it, while others fight it.

The devastation is epic as well, with entire cities obliterated by nature's fury. Moviemakers take note, this is how it's done.

As a payoff to her loyal fans, Caine has delivered a powerhouse story that (as I said) could well be the end. What a way to go.


Our Readers Respond

From Emma:
I hate to correct, but, they weren't on a freighter, they were on a cruise liner.
From the Editors: Oops. Thanks for the correction.

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