Ill Wind (Weather Warden, Book 1)
US: Penguin (2nd December 2003); UK: Allison & Busby (28th April 2008)
Although first published in 2003, Rachel Caine’s Ill Wind has stood the test of time: with fresh ideas no one else seems to be writing about even five years later. With an easy voice, wild weather and classic cars, Joanne Baldwin features in one hell of a road trip novel. There are three types of Wardens who control/tame fire, earth, and wind and water. Jo falls into the last category, melding physics with metaphysics to create the ultimate urban fantasy read.
The content is so fascinating because it makes use of a great fear: that which you can’t control. Only in this alternate America, “natural” disasters aren’t so natural after all. The mega-storm chasing Jo is somewhat demonic…and thus why she’s on the run, branded with a Demon Mark in an incident where Jo’s boss died. She plans to keep the weather at bay, get the Mark removed and clear her name. But to do so she needs the most powerful Warden of all: Lewis Levander Orwell.
One of my two favourite characters in the novel, Lewis is intriguing with great characterisation. In comparison, he makes Jo’s new bedfellow David seem like your standard UF lust interest, unremarkable. My other favourite is Rahel, a Djinn (genie) with real personality who’s great fun to read.
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.
Earlier this year (or late last year), I read Heat Stroke, the second book in the series. It went completely over my head at the time, and I can’t really remember it now. So if you’re going to read this series, please read it in order, or else you’ll be wasting your time. Though I have no time for rereading, even I’m thinking of putting Heat Stroke back on my wishlist…