Review: Total Eclipse

Reviewed by Jen

This ninth book wraps up the Weather Warden series with a finale bigger and badder than anything that’s come before it, and with a series following one main character this long, that’s the way it should be. There are definitely some familiar vibes—a cross-country road trip, chasing down Oracles, djinns under control of the Mother—but everything happens on such a jacked up platform, it doesn’t feel like a rehash. It feels like life or death.

The story begins with Joanne and David suffering the effects of the sacrifice they made to take down Bad Bob. They’re both human. On top of that, all the wardens and djinn with them are quickly diminishing as they rush to get out of the black corner they created. Of course, things only get worse when they get back to the real world. Mother Nature is now fully awake and she is on a rampage. She pulls the djinn into her thrall and begins systematically destroying the human race.

Our main couple is seriously handicapped by their humanity for the first half of the book. In time, their powers show up in unlikely hands –and eventually make their way back where they belong, but it’s a hard road. The silver lining is seeing the relationship between Jo and David as a human couple. It really brings a lovely dynamic to their love we’ve never seen before—and I kind of dug Human David.

You might think things would take a turn for the better when their powers are restored, but it only gets worse. We lose a major character… more than one. And Mother Nature makes for a much scarier adversary than we’ve ever seen before. It’s not just killer weather Joanne must fight. It’s not just the djinn. Not just the Oracles. It’s all those things at once, plus creatures natural and unnatural, ready to rip Joanne apart.

I enjoyed the breakneck pacing and the crazy obstacles in Joanne’s path. It felt suitably big and world-changing. But there were a few disappointments. Beware of spoilers ahead. Kevin’s death was so sad and unexpected. I know he was a flawed character, but I felt like he had a redemption arc working to an extent I could see him as a solid antihero one day. Not only did he die, which I considered a waste, it happened off page. That was number one. Number two was Lewis. He’s been hanging Jo out to dry for a while now.

And while the author makes it a point to show he does it despite his love for her, this book pushed his constant willingness to sacrifice her beyond what I could forgive. And then, the resolution of his story was supposed to be this big sacrifice and it didn’t pay off, at least not for me.

And then, there’s the resolution for Jo and David. Which just couldn’t feel like a real HEA with him as a djinn and her as a human. The epilogue paints a domestic-y picture, but I feel like he’s absent and the whole mortal vs immortal thing feels like an insurmountable issue.

Finally, we spend some time with Cassiel, the main character of the spinoff. I think her name was mentioned in the last book (maybe?) and we meet her here, but the author treats her like a character we should know already. This bugged the crap out of me, because it made me second guess myself to the point I wasted an hour Googling it. She seems like an interesting enough character; but would it be so hard to treat her like the new character she is?

I will probably give the Outcast books a try at some point—and I hear Caine is working on a book 10. I’m really curious to see where she takes this crazy world next. And maybe she’ll even the playing field between Joanne and David before everything is said and done. Here’s hoping.

Click to purchase: Amazon

Total Eclipse
by Rachel Caine
Release Date: August 3, 2010
Publisher: Roc

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