Author: Rachel Caine
Release date: 2008 UK this paperback edition
Target audience: Adult (explicit sexual content and strong language)
UK Publisher: Allison and Busby
Summary from Amazon:
Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden. The Wardens Association has been around pretty much forever. Some Wardens control fire, others control earth, water or wind - and the most powerful can control more than one element. Without them, humanity would be wiped off the face of the planet. But now Joanne is on the run from another kind of storm: accusations of corruption and murder. Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful Warden. Unfortunately, he is also on the run, having stolen three bottles of Djinn and become the most wanted man on earth. Joanne must find him, and find him fast, as some really bad weather is closing in...
Do you ever have days when you wake up thinking: I’m really in the mood to read about someone who wields the weather? No. Really? I do. I often wake up in the certain mood for a genre or random paranormal ability. So anyway, this is how I come to be reading adult fantasy and in particular Ill Wind, the first book in Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series.
Joanne is the main character in the novel and she is a weather warden. A person who has the ability to harness or manipulate the weather. Lightning, hail, rain, these are her forte and she has the power to do untold damage with them. At the beginning of the story, we meet Joanne in her classic car tearing away from the scene of a crime. She is literally being chased by a storm and the people in control of the organisation she works for want to bring her in for questioning.
Joanne is the driving force for the book. She is the type of character that is a bit arrogant and a loose cannon. She has a sharp wit. She also has a strong conscience and as the story develops, you realise she has been through a horrific experience.
The first half of the book takes place pretty much in her beloved car and Joanne has many flashbacks to key incidents in her past. Simultaneously she is trying to dispel the weather working against her and protect the innocent civilians who are at risk from the storm. At times I was a little bored with the lack of actual progress. I am not one for stories that are about literal journeys from one place to another. Plus there is the obvious hindrance to the telling of the story because if you only have one character in a scene, then you can’t really have much dialogue. I’m the type of reader who adores dialogue and doesn’t go in for big action scenes. Luckily Joanne’s voice is so strong that you feel you are the one having a conversation with her.
The other thing that I found alienating in Ill Wind was the “meteorology” speak. Yes, I wanted to read about someone who could wield the weather. But I’m not sure I needed quite that much detail. At times it felt like reading jargon rather than actually moving the story along.
The latter half of the book is much better because Joanne picks up a hitch hiker and voila, there is chemistry and dialogue. The romantic side of the story was definitely the best thing about this novel. That and the ending. I loved how Rachel Caine gives a decisive and powerful finale to Ill Wind. She didn’t take the easy route out. So I really felt rewarded by reading to the end. I definitely will read the next book in the series and see how I get on. If it doesn’t begin with a car chase, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. Oh and if anyone would like to share a recommendation about a novel with a weather wielding character, please do!