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Rachel Caine
book cover

Weather Warden Book 1
2003; Dec; Roc
Buy from Amazon.com (mass market paperback)

Who recommends: Shelley, Linda, Laurie, Preeti, Suzanne, Edith, Danielle, JW, Lori
Who discommends:

I enjoyed ILL WIND quite a bit. It is told in first person, by the heroine. She is a weather warden and her powers are wind and water. She has been accused of killing another weather warden and is on the run.

ILL WIND was very fast paced and the action was interesting. Although the heroine is desperate, she is not clueless (although a little slow on the uptake once or twice). The weather magic was actually very interesting -- I had not really thought I would find it compelling, but I was pulled in by the descriptions of how she perceived weather.

It is the beginning of a series, but the book works well on its own and has a definite (if slightly frustrating) romance.--Shelley (3 Feb 04)

I enjoyed this book a lot and agree with all Shelley said about it. First person POV isn't my favorite type of narration, but it didn't take me long to get past that hurdle. ILL WIND is intriguing right from the beginning with its different take on the weather and elements and how they affect the world. A storm has never felt so menacing!

Most of the world lives innocent of knowing that the only thing keeping people alive are the wardens that keep the elements (fire, water, etc) under control. Joanne is on the run. She's wanted for murder, but if the other wardens knew the full story, it would be the end of her. She needs help fast and hopes an old friend, the strongest of all wardens, will be able to save her. (At one point she's in Pittsburgh with a storm following her. I felt sure she should have been heading for Erie. With our weather, it would have been perfect for her.)

So, on the run she is, in her faithful Mustang (I got a kick out of her attachment to it), chased both by her fellow wardens and storms made by an unknown enemy. The book was fast paced with a neat take on the use of djinns and had some surprises in store, especially at the end. I'm really interested in seeing what Caine has in store for the next book! Oh, and I enjoyed the romance in it a lot too!--Linda (09 Feb 04)

I finished ILL WIND but I didn't love it as much as I'd hoped. Here's my 2 cents.

I found ILL WIND, what with its darker edges and snarky wit, somewhat similar to Jim Butcher's fantasies and Tanya Huff's "Keeper" books, but the premise of weather wardens is one I haven't read about before. The weather, for me at least, has never been so wildly dangerous.

Caine literally throws you into the story with very little in the way of back story or introduction, and initially, this was a bit of a stumbling block for the me of the limited patience and very few working brain cells. Once I became used to the writing method and the frequent flashbacks, I was able to figure a few things out and stopping saying "huh?" every few pages as I did early on. This technique of writing and the lack of shorter chapters to break things up often brought the pace of the story to a screeching halt for me, and it took a bit of an effort to continue turning the pages on more than one occasion.

Fortunately, after the bumpy beginning, things began to move along at a faster clip (this may stem more from the fact that I decided to just accept the storytelling method and began to expect the abrupt jumps back to the past).

Joanne is a Weather Warden and possesses the power to control the weather. When the book begins, she's on the run from both the weather (which is verrry frightening when it decides to turn on you!) and wardens who will end her life once they discover she has been poisoned by some sort of magical demon mark. She's desperately searching for her missing, uber-powerful friend Lewis. He apparently stole three djinn, which is a major offense as djinn apparently help wardens become even more powerful.

What follows is a magical road-trip filled with one adventure after another and lots of hunky men (wish I lived in Joanne's universe!). It was a decent start to the series and intrigued me enough to want to pick up the next book, but I can't say with any honesty that I'll be remembering the details of ILL WIND when HEAT STROKE comes out.--Laurie (23 Feb 04)

What a fun read. ILL WIND is about Joanne, a car-mad, full-of-attitude, mid-level weather warden in trouble and on the run. Looping flashbacks explain her history with all the story's characters and the events that led up to the current situation. I skipped around and read the book completely out of order, so I have only myself to blame for sometimes being confused.

The story had me itching to get back to it whenever I put it down. I loved the whole magic system Caine created. The weather, fire, and earth wardens are part of a bureacracy that keep earth habitable for humans. The powers of many high-level wardens are augmented by enslaved djinn, while some others are tempted to seek unsanctioned power through opening themselves up to demons. There might be a religious underpinning to all this somewhere that isn't explained in ILL WIND--demons and (briefly) angels and a One God are referenced--but, hey, that's what sequels are for.

There's also a love story that's integral to the plot. To say more might ruin some of the pleasure in discovering the surprises in the story for yourself. I really liked this enough to look forward to more.--Preeti (6 Mar 04)

There is an interesting premise behind this new series. In the world we know, the weather is really controlled by magic, and 'weather wardens' are responsible for keeping weather from doing great harm. Joanne is our kick-ass weather warden heroine who is accused of killing a fellow warden, and who goes on the run to find help from an old friend.

It was great to read a romantic fantasy that eschews the vampire/werewolf motifs and goes for something new. The romance is quite well done, and I really enjoyed the twist at the end. Loved the djinn. I give this one high marks for keeping me interested, in suspense, and intrigued all the way through.--Suzanne (6 Aug 04)

The end of ILL WIND has a high HSQ. If you don't like loose ends, I wouldn't start it without the second close at hand.

ILL WIND was better, I think; I really liked Caine's detailed descriptions of working weather magic. I don't know enough about meteorology to know if it's accurate, but at least she made it concrete.--Danielle (7 Dec 04)

...Before that I read ILL WIND by Rachel Caine. I liked it, up to a point, but I find it a bit annoying when I read a book where the heroine doesn't seem to have enough questions, and the author doesn't provide enough answers. I got the feeling the world wasn't quite well enough defined. And, despite the fact that the Amazon.com information (on the second book that had spoilers for the first) wasn't quite accurate, I still didn't like the ending of ILL WIND. So I'm not quite sure I'm going to read the next book. However, it was good while it lasted.--Lori (24 Feb 05)

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