Previous Novel: Gemini Cell
What You Need To Know:
Javelin Rain is the sequel to Gemini Cell. Both novels take place in Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops world albeit before the events in Control Point (review), Fortress Frontier (review), and Breach Zone (review). Javelin Rain continues the story of US Navy Seal Jim Schweitzer as he fights for his family against the nefarious Gemini Cell; the seemingly government sanctioned operation that turned him into the monster he is.
Javelin Rain takes place almost immediately after the events of the previous novel with Schweitzer having conquered the spirit Ninip, regaining control of his body, and having defeated a number of Gold Operators sent after himself and his family. Schweitzer along with his wife and son go on the run as they attempt to evade Gemini Cell pursuit and formulate some kind of plan going forward. Meanwhile the Gemini Cell increases their efforts to track down Schweitzer and his family without regard for collateral damage. Elsewhere, we are introduced to a new cell with their very own sorcerer, Dadou Alva. Alva is tasked with attempting to bind spirits to the living rather than the dead, a job that is significantly messier than Jawid’s binding spirits to corpses. Alva is eventually called in, at the behest of the shadow Director, to assist Doctor Eldredge, Jawid, and Gemini Cell in tracking down Schweitzer and his family while simultaneously using Gemini Cell’s resources to further the task of binding a spirit to a living creature.
Cole adds a fascinating element to the story in that Dadou’s magical ability is the same as Jawid’s however her personal ideology and religious frame of reference differs vastly. Using their magic to call spirits from violent soul storm both Jawid and Dadou both experience the same thing but interpret it in different ways. It becomes further apparent that both Jawid and Dadou are profoundly damaged individuals whose psychological hang-ups make them easy targets for manipulation by both The Director and others. Cole does an excellent job of conjuring sympathy for both parties while rocketing both towards what will ultimately be a tragic confrontation. I absolutely love Cole’s world and the parts of Javelin Rain are really the only section of the novel where he delves into the nitty gritty of the magic seen throughout the novel. Sadly, I don’t feel like any lingering questions about Dadou’s and Jawid’s abilities are answered. This is a disappointment for me, as I crave to more about the magic of this world, but other readers might feel differently.
Doctor Eldredge plays a more prominent role in Javelin Rain as his experiences with Schweitzer and the wanton destruction reaped by the Gold Operators over the course of the novel begin to tax even his loose moral code. Eldredge’s moral dilemma is further compounded by the enigmatic Director who seems unconcerned with threats to the funding of Gemini Cell. Eldredge was a far more mysterious figure in Gemini Cell and infusing him with some humanity here is a nice touch. While the Director plays an important role in the novel the less said the better as that role would constitute a major spoiler.
I do have to admit that Javelin Rain is my least favorite of Cole’s novels so far. Schweitzer’s complete lack of a plan for most of the novel and an extreme focus on Schweitzer’s love for his family, while understandable, felt like it impeded the novel’s progress on multiple occasions. Throughout Javelin Rain I was more compelled by Doctor Eldredge, Jawid, and Dadau Alva then I was by Schweitzer and his family. While those other characters play an important part in the novel it becomes difficult when the bulk of the novel is spent with Schweitzer. That being said I’m still curious to see where things are moving going forward. There were hints throughout Javelin Rain that tie it more strongly with previous Shadow Ops novels and I am not entirely certain that Schweitzer’s quest to end the Gemini Cell, righteous as it is, will end well for him or any magical actives across the United States.