Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ill Wind, by Rachel Caine

Title: Ill Wind
Author: Rachel Caine
Format: Paperback
Length: 414 pages
Genre: Fantasy
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Surreal Conversation with the Fairy Book Mother... (or my version/summary of it, as it was several months ago)

FBM: "You have to read this series of books, they are really so so good. Honestly Rach, you'll love them." *proceeds to look for these books while mentioning something about vampires* *Hands me a large pile of books*

Me: So these are about vampires?

FBM: "No, thats a different series. I couldn't find the ones I was looking for."

Me: "Erm, ok, so are these any good? What are they about?"

FBM, who is now gesticulating wildly with a large stack of books: "These are really good too! I thought they were brilliant. They are about the weather."
*sees my look of totally-not-convincedness*
"No really they are good!!! There are people who change the weather magically.... And genies."

Me: (partly from fear and partly intrigue) "Ok, I'll take them!"

So that was how I came to have the first 6 books from the weather wardens series on FBM loan, and was within the week reading all about magic weather and genies etc. in Ill Wind. This book is proof that sometimes, trusting your weird godmother's taste in good books (or any one else's, for that matter), can totally pay off, even when you don't really believe them at first.

Ill Wind is about Joanne Baldwin, a weather warden who is in serious trouble. Like the deep dark troublesome trouble, up the creek, where the hell is my paddle, seriously deep trouble. Most of the book is following Joanne drive cross country to try to find the only person who can help her, Lewis, the most powerful (and wanted) warden ever known. But, this isn't boring, as accusations of corruption and murder, seriously bad storms (metaphorical and physical), and a hit team are all chasing after her. Joanne spends most of the drive in her head, filling you in on what in her life got her into the whole mess, and explaining just what that whole mess is. I really like this form of mixed order story telling, because it is literally like Joanne is telling you a story, in the messed up order of someone stressed trying to tell you why the hell they are running for their life, and what has happened between her and all the people involved to make it really awkward.  Each character has so much past already mixed in to Joanne's relationships, and I really like how each mini flashback adds to your understanding of Jo, the other characters, the situation she is currently in, and is all relevant to the story as it develops.

I enjoyed how Joanne understands her ability to change the weather (which is undoubtedly a magicy juju thing) in terms of science and meteorology, rather than a vague, "oh, I will it and the magicy stuff happens" cop out concept. I also really like how she explains it all so casually, because she has always had those talents (which is unusual, as most books seem to be from the perspective of someone just discovering this new thing/talent/world/lifestyle etc. to get a fresh look where everything is explained to the reader). Plus, Joanne is witty, and has a great love for cars and fashion.

And the love interest, David... wait while I think of a suitably retro phrase... Holy Moly!! Joanne and David in the hot tub, and the imagined bikini! Crikey! There are also the Djinn, (what the Fairy Book Mother described to me as Genies), who are a bit creepy with all of their rules and loopholes and insane magical power. And the ending, wow. It totally sets up for the next book to start off straight away, and is a total game changer.

It did have some weaknesses in my eyes. If you aren't big on science then some of the way it is described is going to stilt your reading of it, and I had to think back to GCSE physics to make sense of some of the science behind it, but thats purely because I like to fully understand things. The constantly driving part is a bit wearing, but just about broken up enough by the flashbacks to not get too annoying. I did think that there were some elements of Caine's creation that were explained beautifully, but there were some parts that were too vague, and relied too much on the reader's own interpretation/imagination. (But, if you read the next book in the series, as I have, between the two books every concept is explained well enough). The description of Paul being a knight and living in a castle was one example. I found that you often couldn't take the descriptions too literally, especially when comparing normal sight to Oversight.

But, overall, I really enjoyed this book, and have high hopes for the rest of the series. 7.5

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