Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Heat Stroke

by Rachel Caine


At the start of Heat Stroke Joanne Baldwin is adjusting to life as a new-born Djinn. These immortal and powerfully magical beings seem to have things pretty easy, so long as they can avoid becoming the slave of a cruel or demanding human master. But Joanne is to learn that being one of these creatures isn't all fun and games and funky, bright clothes.

Our heroine is on the run with David, a free Djinn who is helping her to learn about her new status. Both of them have to be careful not to attract attention, because they don't want to be captured and enslaved. The Warden's Association may believe her to be dead, but they are not the only ones interested in her. Joanne has trouble from a rogue warden interested in capturing Djinn for herself, and from one of the strongest Djinn in existence. She discovers that far more terrible fates than death can happen to unlucky Djinn.

Moreover, Joanne detects a rift in the world, leaking out something that neither humans nor Djinn can explain. The Djinn suspect it could be demonic, and she has to find out what is to blame and how to fix it. Rachel Caine does a good job of making the adventures of beings who are as intangible as mist seem very real and threatening. Djinn do not have bodies, as such, and they don't take permanent damage or feel things in the same way as humans do. However Joanne's struggles are just as desperate as they were in her former incarnation, and her feelings can be even stronger.

Heat Stroke is extremely sensual. Joanne encounters a lot of strong male characters, to the extent that she seems spoilt for choice. So it seems like a stroke of bad luck when she meets Kevin, a dishevelled and bitter teenager whose idea of classy women's attire is a French maid's outfit. Kevin is not without powers of his own, and Joanne doesn't know whether to pity or revile the sullen young man.

Caine's characters are a lot larger than life, and in the hands of a lesser writer they could easily descend into caricature. But this novel is infused with Joanne's sassy wit and fashion-conscious perspective, and there's no ego so overblown she won't deflate it with a word. With fiery action, intense relationships and a thoroughly modern central character, Heat Stroke is the kind of book you will want to rush through at breakneck speed. Absolutely storming!

Book Details

Year: 2004

Categories: Books

  Female Protagonist  

If you like this, try:

Night Rising cover    

Night Rising by Chris Marie Green
The first volume of Vampire Babylon, chronicling the adventures of stuntwoman and vampire hunter Dawn Madison.

5 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about Rachel Caine