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Ill Wind
Rachel Caine
Roc, 352 pages

Ill Wind
Rachel Caine
Rachel Caine has been writing and publishing novels and short stories since 1991.  She is a former professional musician who has the distinction of having played with such musical legends as Henry Mancini, Peter Nero and John Williams. She's also an avid movie buff, a TV-holic, and prefers a good stout Guinness to wimpy American beers. Ill Wind is her first novel.

Stormwatch: Rachel Caine's Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Ill Wind

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Michael M Jones


"Mother Nature is schizophrenic and homicidal, and the only thing that stands between you and hideous, painful death is a couple of thousand people worldwide hanging on by their fingernails."
--Joanne Baldwin, Warden
Joanne Baldwin, Weather Warden, can control air and water and manipulate the weather to her own ends, so long as those ends are for the greater good of an unknowing public and a strictly hierarchical Wardens Association. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem. Except that she's on the run from her friends and co-workers, accused of murder and tainted by an unholy force. Should she be caught, she'll be depowered, or killed, regardless of her innocence. Her only hope lies in finding Lewis Orwell, the most powerful Warden the world has seen in a very long time. Too bad he's gone missing, and with him three bottles of imprisoned Djinn, the magical beings which bolster Warden powers and help them protect humanity against a vicious, uncaring Mother Nature.

It's a race against time for Joanne. Find Lewis before the Wardens find her, and just who the heck wants her -- dead? That last lightning bolt, for instance, the one out of a clear sky? Way too close for comfort. And then there's David, the hitchhiker who comes along at a rather coincidental moment, and is simply too good (and too sexy) to be true. Is he on her side, or another pawn of her enemies? Joanne doesn't know where to turn or who to trust at this point, not when she's been betrayed by her superiors and used as a tool in a very deadly game. Little does she know she's only uncovered the tip of the iceberg, and the trouble she's in has barely begun.

Ill Wind, the first book in the Weather Warden series, is an impressively strong debut from newcomer Rachel Caine. She starts off by dropping us in the middle of Things Going Wrong, and cranks up the pressure from there, adding plenty of twists and turns along the way, and capping it all off with a truly surprising change in status quo. Her characters are memorable, and Joanne is a likeable character of whom I want to see much more. Added to that is the entire concept; a secret society of magical weather controllers who do their best to moderate the destructive potential of forest fires, earthquakes, storms, hurricanes, tornados and blizzards. It's one of those twists where you really have to go "I wish I'd thought of that." Toss in some very unhappy Djinn (old school... no three wishes here, just really annoyed magical beings trapped in bottles and forced to do your bidding and believe me, you'd better give them distinctly clear instructions and watch your back....) and you have a recipe for a cool new series. This is good stuff, definitely worth checking out.

Copyright © 2004 Michael M Jones

Michael M Jones enjoys an addiction to books, for which he's glad there is no cure. He lives with his very patient wife (who doesn't complain about books taking over the house... much), eight cats, and a large plaster penguin that once tasted blood and enjoyed it. A prophecy states that when Michael finishes reading everything on his list, he'll finally die. He aims to be immortal.

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