I love storms. Where I come from they can be wild and destructive but the power in them is breathtaking. Some of my earliest memories are sitting on my Nanna’s front steps watching the storms come across the fields. I live in a city now, high on a mountain where the storms are entirely different – but my fascination with them remains.
Strong heroine who drives fast cars, hot genies, unique plot idea, storms, unexpected ending, finished series.
Quote that best sums up the lead (female) character:
“The storm had crawled closer on its little cat feet, and I could feel distant tingles at the edges of my awareness; the storm talked to me, the way that the forest and this meadow talked to Marion. My power, and my enemy, all at once.”
Infected with a devil mark, weather warden Joanne Baldwin is on the run accused of corruption and murder. As she races to find Lewis, a powerful warden who is in hiding, Joanne has to battle storms, have conversations with car radios and figure out exactly what the mysterious djinn named David is up to.
World building can make or break a first book in a series. In Ill Wind, the first book in the nine book weather warden series, author Rachel Caine takes the time to infuse her writing with details and language of the world. The weather in this book almost becomes a secondary character infused with menace and personality. Technical details of plot elements like oversight were told in such a way that gave me enough details to go on but not enough to get bogged down in and shows how the bureaucracy of government extends to people who hold the weather in their hands.
Most of the world building is seen in events that affect Joanne’s actions. Her control and intimate relationship with the weather tells so much about who she is as a person as the story develops that the author rarely has to fall back on dialogue to explain such things. Overall her character is well developed, likeable and quirky enough to be interesting without being annoying. I got a bit annoyed with the writers use of flashbacks to tell us about important incidents in Joanne’s past but can see that they were needed as a foundation for not only events occurring in this story but I suspect in stories to come. She is witty, brave and absurdly trusting at times.
I liked that Joanne had/has romantic feelings for several men in her life that have been important to her and yet wasn’t portrayed as slutty or irresistible. It made her a more well rounded character. One of my pet hates in romance is characters who’ve never had other relationships or who’s relationships have always ended cleanly and where the heroines feelings for other men have never really influenced who they are as a character. As a result there are several interesting male characters in the book, none of whom are pushed down the throat of the reader. The most interesting and most developed (at this stage) is David, a djinn whom Joanne picks up whilst driving across country (think genie without the pink chiffon). The rules for djinn are established well before the book even begins so when David’s identity is revealed the reader has a firm basis on which to base their interactions. Their relationship develops slowly, somewhat awkwardly and holds much promise for future books.
Oh, and have I mentioned that I love the use of normal, everyday names in this book? Joanne, Paul, Lewis, David all solid names that I can believe and that I don’t have to figure out how to pronounce.
One of the main reasons to read this book though is the authors ability to pull out a really surprising ending. Okay, I guessed who the bad guy was about a quarter of the way in, but in all honesty I never expected that ending. Most of the time what Joanne was feeling in a particular situation felt true to life and the scene that started the whole book off (but that isn’t told until later in the book) was awful to read, and rightly so. All in all though it was a really enjoyable read with great pacing, interesting details and a plot line that hasn’t been repeated in every second book.
I really enjoyed Diana Pearlman’s narration of this book. I thought she had a solid grasp of who Joanne was a person and managed to convey that through her characterisation (which is really important when a book is written in first person). She managed to make the weather descriptions and technical details interesting and paced her narration to what was happening in the story.