Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ill Wind by Rachel Caine

Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden - waves her hand to tame the most violent weather. Now she races against accusations of corruption and murder. Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful warden known. Because he stole three bottles of Djinn, he is now the most wanted criminal on earth. Can she find him before the bad weather closes in?

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To say this book keeps you on the edge of your seat would be a slight exaggeration maybe, but it does suck you into its action and suspense right away and keeps you reading to find out what will happen. Then, just when you think you might have figured out where it's going, the plot swerves in an unexpected direction and you're left scrambling to figure out what's truth and what's lie the same that Joanne is. Sometimes you might end up guessing right, others you end up guessing wrong.

Joanne is both straightforward and complex. While she does have a fairly good grip on what's right and what's wrong as well as an innate drive to do good, she also has a certain amount of arrogance and recklessness that makes her not particularly care at times. She doesn't even really realize her own selfish tendencies until she meets David and is presented with the answer to at least one of her problems. The decision she makes then speaks of a sudden maturity and a tightening morality in her. By the end, she's come a long way, but is still the same old Joanne in many ways as well.

David is an intriguing character, even before his true nature is revealed. In some ways we don't get to know a lot about him, but in others we get to know him quite well, particularly in terms of ways in which he is apparently rather different from others of his kind. As the story unfolds, he endears himself to you, until you ache for him when plot twists go against him.

Reading this book, one can learn quite a bit about how weather works, as much of the physics behind it is explained in detail throughout. It's always done in a way that flows with the main narrative, however, so you never feel like you're sitting in a physics class having a semester's worth of information dumped in your lap in one go. The way the information is woven in is quite masterful and makes you want to know more, for the author makes it all sound quite fascinating. It probably isn't enough knowledge to let you make forecasts on your own, but should help you understand the weather reports and forecasts better at the very least.

All in all, a very compelling read, and one I'd recommend to anyone that enjoys urban fantasy with a touch of romance. I'm not sure I'm down with how it ended, but I can understand why things worked out the way they did, and even why they had to. No real happily ever after here...or is there? It's all a matter of how you look at it really. Nevertheless, I'll be looking forward to reading more in the series, and hope that it maintains this level of quality.

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