Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ill Wind

Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden - one of only a few people with an innate ability to control the elements (air, water, earth, fire) and, therefore, the weather. The rest of us mundane folk go around thinking that we are at the mercy of the weather (silly us, particularly those of us who've been buried under several feet of snow this past week!), when in reality there is a secret group of people managing things behind the scenes, making storms that seem powerful and destructive less powerful and destructive than they might be, otherwise.

As the book opens, Joanne is in trouble. She has had a run-in (referred to in an intriguing series of flashbacks) with a Warden in Florida, and killed him in self defense, but now she has a serious issue that she cannot confide in any of the other Wardens. They are chasing after her, and she is trying to get to the one person she thinks might be able to help her. Unfortunately, someone very powerful is seriously out to get her - as evidenced by a near-miss lightning strike aimed at her. A mysterious, handsome man she meets along the way helps her out of a scrape - but she hesitates to further involve him, because doesn't want to endanger him. If only he weren't so amazingly attractive...and perhaps there is more to him than meets the eye?

This novel is a combination of cross-country road-trip chase adventure, romance, and fantasy thriller. The supernatural premise is certainly an interesting, fresh one - although it does involve the traditional element of djinni, who are used, glass containers and all, to augment the Weather Wardens' powers.

I enjoyed this book, mainly for the pleasure of Joanne's company. She has an engaging voice and an enjoyable way of describing things that really gets her point across. The structure of the novel, with its alternating flashbacks that describe the events in Florida as well as Joanne's childhood, and the ramifications of growing up with burgeoning Weather Warden power, is very effective. The characters are complex and interesting and pack some surprises along the way. I do have some unanswered questions, though. I am wondering how the most powerful of these Wardens accrue the funds to be so fabulously wealthy - if no one knows what important work the Wardens are doing, how is it remunerated? I'm also curious why no one seems remotely concerned by the moral ramifications of enslaving djinni - which leads to some additional questions regarding Joanna's attitude about one djiinn in particular. Perhaps we shall see in future books of the series, which I'm looking forward to reading. Interesting premise, engaging characters, exciting plot, tight writing - what's not to like? It is good to see that there are a whole lot of books already written in this series, so it will be some time before I'll be forced to play the waiting game. I like that!

Books in the Weather Warden series:
1. Ill Wind
2. Heat Stroke
3. Chill Factor
4. Windfall
5. Firestorm
6. Thin Air
7. Gale Force
8. Cape Storm
9. Total Eclipse

Ill Wind (#1 in the Weather Warden series) by Rachel Caine (Roc, 2003)

Also reviewed at:
Angieville: "It's always fun sinking into a new world, particularly one like Caine's--that rare urban fantasy sans vampire, shape shifter, or other furry beastie."
Beyond Books: "The entire series it seems as though Joanne is always on the run from someone or something and she really is. But she is so captivating, sarcastic and funny that her dire situations seem a little less dire as she keeps her wits about her and a cool head under pressure." Tez Says: "But while I wholeheartedly enjoyed reading about the whether, the paranormal elements just didn’t grab me. Oversight seemed very convenient, as did having a Djinn to intensify one’s powers."


  1. I was thinking about you with all that snow! Hope you're stocked up on food. ;)

    I'm so happy you're starting this series finally!! I am already in waiting game mode as I have completed it way too fast since last summer. MORE JOANNE!!

  2. Cat - I remember how quickly you whipped through it last year - it's one of the reasons it's been on my list so long. It took me forever, but I finally got to it!

    We weren't very stocked up on food because we'd been away, and we came back to a house that was freezing (poor kitty) with no power, and we had to throw out most of the food in the fridge. Welcome home. Luckily we have some wonderful friends who let us spend the night at the their house, and other friends who invited our dog to stay with them, etc. We did have time to stock up before the second wave of the storm hit, thank goodness! :-)

  3. great concept for a story.

  4. Yes - definitely not a rehash of the usual. And fun!

  5. This mistress of the art of Death, sounds really good! Historical fiction, no fantasy element?

  6. VA Gal - It is excellent - I think you'd love it. No fantasy element, and I still liked it. :-)

  7. I have been wanting to read this series since forever. Now even more so. But I can't blame you for this one ;)

  8. Kiirstin - Whew! My book-blogging karma thanks you. :-)


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