by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Caster Bunch
The Duchannes and Ravenwood family trees are so close together, it's hard to tell whose branches are whose. But we'll try to clear it up as much as we can.
Here's the Story of a Man Named Silas
Macon and Aunt Delphine are half-siblings. Macon's father, Silas, had Delphine with Emmaline Duchannes, hence the Duchannes family name. They had three girls of their own: Reece, Ridley, and Ryan, Lena's cousins. Oh, and that snake Larkin, too. Ridley isn't much better than him—those traitors have their own pages.
In any case, Delphine's sister, Sara, is the horrible Sarafine. We're assuming Emmaline is Lena's beloved Gramma, whom she never calls by name. Macon's mother is Arelia, who is still alive and helps out during the Sanguinis Circle. And that's the way they became the Caster Bunch. Got it? If not, check out the family tree in the book. It'll all make sense.
The Ties That Bind
So now we know how each family member is related. But what is it that makes them so special? You'll soon see that each Caster has his or her own powers.
- Aunt Del is a Palimpsest. This means she can see different points in time all at once
- Her husband, Barclay Kent, is a Shifter. He can turn objects into other objects. He must be a hoot at parties. And practical too—when we have our friends over, we can never find enough chairs.
- Macon's mother, Arelia, is a Caster, but we're not sure what her exact power is because, well, Lena never tells us. We do see her whispering the Sanguinis Circle chant, "Blood of my heart, protection is thine" (10.31.235). She's also one of the Casters who speaks of Ethan's alleged power, but she doesn't ever elaborate. Come on, Arelia, throw us a bone!
- Lena's Gramma, Emmaline, is an Empath, meaning she can copy other Casters' powers for a limited time.
- We never meet Emmaline's sister, Althea, but we learn that she was an Evo. Not only can she influence like Ridley, but she can also shift into other people. That means she could be anyone. Hmm, maybe we have seen her and we don't know it. She did turn Dark, after all, so she's the perfect person to act as one of Sarafine's secret agents.
All the adults work together to Bind Ravenwood, closing it off completely. They're trying to protect it from Sarafine and her evil powers, but by doing so, they unwittingly create a prison for Lena. And they might just be doing more harm than good.
Okay, the adults are covered. Now on to the younger generation. We only get small glimpses into the lives and powers of Lena's other cousins, Reece and Ryan.
- Reece is older. She's already been Claimed Light. She's a Sybil, which allows her to see when other people are lying and to read their thoughts. She's pretty much a human lie detector.
- Ryan's the youngest. Even though Lena says that Caster children normally don't live with their parents, for fear they might go Dark, Ryan does. The only explanation we get? "She's a special case" (10.09.120). We do know that she's a Thaumaturge, a healer, and she saves Ethan's life on one occasion.
These cousins don't have too much bearing on the plot. They do serve to deepen the rich magical world that Garcia and Stohl have created, though, and we look forward to seeing what roles they will play in the future struggles between Dark and Light.
Moving on to the other magical residents of Ravenwood who aren't part of the family tree—they're like little shrubs nearby.
We have no idea if Kitchen, the Alice to the Ravenwood/Duchannes Brady Bunch, has a corporeal form (i.e., a body) or not. At first we thought Macon just had an impersonal way of referring to his household staff, but if you think about it, we never actually see them during the course of the book. And, man, are they fast, whipping up a gourmet meal in just a matter of minutes.
Hunting in the Woods
We don't even want to waste our breath on this guy, but Hunting (Macon's brother), is the last of the bunch. His name really says it all: he's more animal than human, a bloodthirsty Incubus who would kill his own brother. And that's exactly what he does.
Hunting is clearly more brawns than brain. By killing Macon, he renders Sarafine's ultimate plan completely moot. Sarafine is using Macon as a tool to manipulate Lena to go Dark—if she goes Dark, Macon will live. But once Hunting kills Macon, that bargaining chip is off the table.
Lena, of course, doesn't know that Macon is dead. She's too busy trying to save herself and resurrect Ethan to notice until after the smoke clears. But if she had been aware of Macon's death, she probably would have gone Light, wiping Sarafine, Hunting, Larkin, and Ridley off the map. Think ahead next time, Hunting.