________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 2 . . . . September 16, 2016


Burn. (The Rephaim, Bk. 4).

Paula Weston.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2016.
430 pp., trade pbk. & epub, $12.99 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-77049-851-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-77049-853-2 (epub).

Grades 10-12 / Ages 15-17.

Review by Joan Marshall.

**** /4



Leon is standing now, sword drawn in his left hand. His right arm hangs at his side, as useless as his injured shoulder. "Bitch," he spits.

I spin the katana in one hand, the saya in the other. Hold them out at my sides, open, challenging. The sand under my feet is hard-packed. Firm enough ground.

Bel grins. "Are you bored, Gabriella?"

"A little." I focus somewhere between the two of them. Any second now…

Leon shifts first. On instinct I spring to the right, see Bel disappear from the corner of my eye the same time Leon's heavy blade comes at my face. He's slow. Sloppier than usual. I have time to knock it away and spin, ready for Bel. I bring the katana and saya up together, blocking the blow centimeters from my throat. I push back, find the rhythm: swing, duck, block, kick. Block, kick, spin,
strike. There's nothing but this moment. Attack. Defend. Keep my feet. Blood roars in my ears. I'm all fire and spark. If I can just get the right opening, I can end Leon. All I need is –

The night explodes into shards of white. I stumble sideways. My head is all wrong, like it's bigger, heavier. The ground hurtles up at me and hits, hard. I groan, try to move. Can't. There's sand in my ear, in my mouth. I can't spit it out. I can't breathe. Darkness presses in, suffocating. Where did my legs go? Am I holding my sword? Boots stroll towards me. There's an extra pair.
Three demons. Fuck.

Now working in tandem, twins Jude and Gaby are hiding a secret from the other Outcasts: their leader Nathaniel is responsible for the slaughter of the Rephaims' mothers. His message to the Rephaim Outcasts is that they must find their angel fathers, the Fallen, and turn them in to the archangel Gabriel. But first they have to battle back the demons and immundi and hellions led by Zareal. With the help of a human girl, Dani, who is descended from one of the Fallen, Jude and Gaby bring the quarrelling Rephaim together even as they tell them of Nathaniel's betrayal, and they call on the Fallen to help battle Zareal. The Butlers' red-neck mountain squad assist the Rephaim and the Fallen with modern day weapons and logistics, but the battle is only won when the archangel Gabriel appears and kills Zareal. The Rephaim meet their fathers, and Gabriel lays down the law: Nathaniel will lead the Fallen on earth while Jude is tasked with leading the Outcasts. They will all work together to defeat evil in a final battle whenever it occurs.

      Once again, the centre of this compelling series is the emotional in-fighting among the powerful Rephaim as they go about their daily business of destroying demons and protecting humans. Dramatic grudges, passionate love affairs and shocking betrayals keep the action moving at lightning speed. Gaby learns to restrain herself, to momentarily think before she acts, and to listen to Jude in order to build a real partnership. Jude leaves behind his carefree past and takes on a leadership role that he had never imagined possible. The Butlers once again provide some comic relief and some hard-nosed common sense that lightens the mood and proves that co-operation can happen between very disparate groups.

      The major theme of learning how to co-operate by listening carefully and not flying off the handle will not be lost on the intended reader.

      Weston uses Australia's rainforests and pristine beaches, the pier of Los Angelos and the stunning blue of Mediterranean Greece with its lush vegetation to set the story firmly in the real world even as she creates characters who can bodily shift from place to place and heal themselves from grievous injuries while doing so.

      The fighting is gruesome yet strangely hypnotic and thrilling. The love affairs leave very little to the imagination, and the salty language is typical of the characters' age: late teens, early twenties. Dialogue is modern, sharp and revealing of character.

      Weston brings all the strands of this complex series together in a satisfying finale while leaving open the possibility of out-and-out warfare between heaven and hell.

      This excellent series is compelling, thoughtful and firmly on the side of good in the world. Older teens clamouring for how to make the world a better place will be intrigued and inspired.

Highly Recommended.

Joan Marshall is a Winnipeg, MB bookseller.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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