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Gale Force
Rachel Caine
Roc, 320 pages

Gale Force
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.

Stormwatch: Rachel Caine's Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Chill Factor
SF Site Review: Heat Stroke
SF Site Review: Ill Wind
SF Site Review: Ill Wind

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Michael M Jones

When most people get married, all they have to worry about are lost caterers, college buddies who get drunk and embarrass themselves, and relatives lost at the airport. However, when Joanne Baldwin and her lover David decide to get married, it opens up several cans of unpleasantness. You thought your family was bad? David may be the leader of the pro-human faction of the immensely powerful djinn, but there's an anti-human faction that objects to him tying himself to a human. You thought your co-workers were horrible? Joanne's just discovered the existence of a rogue group of Weather Wardens, who call themselves the Sentinels. Having broken away from their parent organization, they're dedicated to ridding the world of the djinn once and for all, and they're led by some of the nastiest, toughest people Joanne's never wanted to see again. Worse still, the Sentinels are using a strange new power source which increases their powers exponentially, a source which can kill an unwary human in moments, and utterly annihilate djinn. And they're using the newfound power to issue their own objections to the wedding, in the form of earthquakes and tornadoes and so on.

Joanne and David, determined to go through with their union -- an unprecedented event in its own right -- soon find themselves battling trouble on multiple fronts, and it's rapidly clear that what they're facing could be catastrophic, if left unchecked. Once again, someone's got to save the world, and once again, it's up to Joanne to figure out how to pull off the wedding of the millennium, including finding a dress, even as she avoids the inevitable attempts upon her life. Unfortunately, it looks as though the secrecy of the Weather Wardens may be a thing of the past, with reporters sniffing around the edges and the multi-faction conflict heating up. To save the day, Joanne and her allies will have to do the unexpected, but can they survive the repercussions? Nothing will ever be the same after this wedding... assuming Joanne and David ever get to say "I do."

Gale Force is the seventh book in the Weather Wardens series, and Rachel Caine is still going strong, throwing one curveball after another as she continues to shake up the status quo. She successfully maintains a sense of impending doom and escalating tension as the stakes get ever-higher. As always, I'm impressed with the way she's unafraid to make significant, sweeping changes in her world and characters for the sake of story, with such changes coming about organically through cause and effect. It makes perfect sense for things to go as they do, with lasting consequences (I really do hope that she won't find a way to hit a reset button later on) and interesting developments all around.

Joanne Baldwin continues to be an enjoyable protagonist, practical and determined, resourceful and savvy, and always adaptable. It's easy to see her as a world-saving heroine, if only because she needs somewhere to keep her shoes and car... which isn't to say she's shallow, just that she has priorities, and priorities. I'd want her on my side any day. Of course, if there's ever a spin-off of this series, I hope it stars Cherise, her best friend, a former weather girl who hides a quirky intelligence behind a beach bunny kind of beauty. I suspect Cherise could definitely carry a story on her own merit, with or without her boyfriend, the ever-sullen Kevin to back her up.

I really like this series, because it's urban fantasy that steers far clear of the usual vampires, werewolves, witches, and so forth, telling something exciting and original and ever-changing in the process. In particular, Caine is a whiz at using the weather as a character in its own right, describing it quite adeptly and letting it breathe. When she says that lightning is angry, I can believe it.

I thought Thin Air, the sixth in the series, was one of the weaker offerings, in part due to the main character's amnesia throughout much of the story. Gale Force, however, is definitely a return to the series' strengths, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wouldn't recommend it to newcomers, just because there's so much back-story at this point, and one of the major revelations in this book hinges upon things set up way back in the first book, Ill Wind. However, as the newest installment of an excellent urban fantasy series, it's bound to please existing fans. I can hardly wait to see where Rachel Caine takes this story in the next book.

Copyright © 2008 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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