Friday, May 31, 2013

Tempest Reborn (Jane True #6) by Nicole Peeler

Tempest Reborn starts exactly where Tempest's Fury ended (and yes I'm still not pleased with that cliffhanger ending).  Jane is reeling because her lover Anyan has been turned into the White and has flown away with the Red.  Together with her friends, Jane is determined to find a way to get Anyan back.  To succeed, Jane must fully embrace the fact that she is the champion and be prepared to make sacrifices that she never dreamed possible.  If that were not enough, because the entire world is under threat, the government has taken notice of Jane and is determined to make her into their own super special weapon.

Alright, fair warning, this review is going to be full of some fanpoodling because not only do I love this series, I love Peeler's writing.  I must admit that I went into Tempest Reborn with a touch of sadness because it is the last in the Jane True series.  To be honest, I could have kept on reading this series but I am glad that Peeler decided to end it on a high note, rather than just continuing the series for the sake of continuing the series, until it became unrecognizable to its fans.   

After finishing Tempest Reborn, I must admit that it really feels like Jane has matured so much from the weak and afraid young woman that she started out as in Tempest Rising.  With Anyan gone and Blondie dead, Jane has no choice but to rise to the occasion and become the champion she was always destined to be.  Now, everyone looks to her for answers and direction.  One of the things I really liked about Jane, is though she had access to so much power, rather than letting it corrupt her, she really saw the killing of the Red and the White as a team effort.  She knew that without her band of merry scoobies that she would not be able to accomplish the task in front of her, even though she had the creature to help and occasionally pull her out of tight spots. Jane is strong without actually being a weapon and has moments of weakness and despair, which work to reveal her vulnerability in the face of so much destruction.

When Jane's relationship began with Anyan it was so very unbalanced because of course the Barghest being a supernatural creature for all of his long life, was well aware of how the world really worked.  Now that Jane has come to accept her role in the battle to save the world from the Red and the White, their relationship is on far more of an even keel.  Anyan still wants to save and protect her but Jane is adamant that there are some decisions she has to make on her own and some missions she must complete without him.  Anyan does not like it but he backs off when he realises that Jane is right.

There were parts of this story that were esoteric.  Much of fighting the Red and the White comes down to the process of alchemy.  At times, it felt a little forced and repetitious but it did work as an excellent vehicle to dispatch the Red and the White.  Jane also had a meeting with the Dali Lama and his fighting monks.  This scene did reeked of appropriation but I did find myself absolutely enthralled by it all.  The universe even popped in to explain to Jane about the importance of balance.

From start to finish the Jane True series had very few POC and very few GLBT characters. At best, they were peripheral characters and most certainly not a part of Jane's most intimate fighting circle at the very end. It is however worth noting that relationship between Grizzie and Tracy was loving and real but the fact that they were human -- meant that Jane's supernatural life was a mystery for them for most of the novels and even when they did find out -- their humanity kept them from being in her fighting circle. At times they almost felt like a tokens.

Tempest Reborn wasn't nearly as funny as the other books in this series but it was absolutely understandable given the seriousness of the story itself. From reading the reviews, I know that several people had a problem with Jane and Anyan stopping to have sex while the world was ending but I actually felt good about these scenes.  Yes, the world is ending but if you thought that your lover was gone for good and finally got him back, it makes sense to me to want to be as close as possible to him.  It makes sense that they would want to renew their connection.  I did however have a problem with Jane's sudden decision to want to go dancing. Yes, even a champion must need down time, but it felt ridiculous to me, even though Peeler used that scene to explain the connections between people in her story and have Jane make the decision to sacrifice herself instead of Anyan; it really didn't fit with the entire timbre of the story.

I know that I have pointed out quite a few problematic elements in both Tempest Reborn and the entire Jane True series, but the truth of the matter is that I love these books, warts and all.  They are engaging and one cannot help but root for Jane from start to finish.  She knows exactly who she is and never shies away from that.  Jane is funny, loving and most certainly a good friend to those around her.  She is strong when she needs to be and is not afraid to breakdown when the weight of all she has to carry becomes to much to bear.  This makes Jane real to me and someone I would most certainly like to sit down and have a beer with.  Peeler's entire Jane True universe is full of pop culture references, funny, action packed and on target from the very first book to the last.  It's a series that I would most definitely recommend to others.