Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rider on the Storm

The Warden Association has been around pretty much forever. Some Wardens control fire, others control earth, water, or wind-- and the most powerful can control more than one element. Without Wardens, Mother Nature would wipe humanity off the face of the earth…

Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden. Usually, all it takes is a wave of her hand to tame the most violent weather. But now Joanne is trying to outrun another kind of storm: accusations of corruption and murder. So she’s resorting to the very human tactic of running for her life…

Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful Warden. Unfortunately, he’s also on the run from the World Council. It seems he’s stolen not one but three bottles of Djinn-- making him the most wanted man on earth. And without Lewis, Joanne’s chances of surviving are as good as a snowball in-- well, a place she may be headed. So she and her classic Mustang are racing hard to find him because there’s some bad weather closing in fast…

Title: Ill Wind
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Weather Warden, Book 1
Start & Finished: 6/17/10- 6/19/10
Published: December 1, 2003
Publisher: ROC Fantasy (Penguin Group)
Pages: 337
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Endorsed by Jim Butcher as a “fun read,” Ill Wind is the first book in Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series about Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin. Originally written as a short story with the main character having leukemia, searching for her long lost brother for a transplant, and chased by bad weather wherever she went, and the author loved the “energy” of the story but publishers refused it because of the main character having cancer. Finally, Caine “reset the universe into a fantasy context [with] the cancer becoming a *Demon Mark*” and so the Weather Wardens series was born.

What surprised me was that even though we know from the very first page that Joanne is in trouble and is on the run, we don’t know what from or exactly why and that theme is repeated throughout the whole book. You’re left guessing while the author slowly feeds you what you need to know, when you need to know it (sometimes in flashback sequences). For example, we’re introduced to a neat character fairly early on named David who is a hitchhiker and yet there was just something about him that after the initial meeting had me wondering about him. He’s the second best character in the book-- and I’m hoping, the series-- after Joanne.

Joanne Baldwin is a cool chick. She loves her fast cars (hers is a “sweet midnight blue ‘71 Mustang“ named Delilah) and hot guys, combined with the fact she can also control wind and water, she‘s a badass but still girly at times. She’s a Weather Warden and a really powerful one at that. The Wardens protect us from the weather because it isn’t what we think. The weather is “a predator. In fact, the whole world around you is full of predators you can’t see, can’t sense, that are held in check only by their own whims and the power of about 1 percent of the human population.” They do this by their own powers as well as using the powers of their captured Djinn. Djinn are the proper name of what we know as genies and I’m not talking about from Aladdin. These are seriously dangerous, fantastic, and amazing creatures!

The Weather Warden series has quickly made its way onto my list of favorite urban fantasies. I even liked it better than the author’s young adult Morganville Vampire series and that’s saying something. Some of the talk of weather patterns did go over my head but it didn’t effect my enjoyment of Ill Wind one bit. The ending has me itching to pick up the next book as soon as I possibly can!
I find that as a Warden, it pays to drive something aerodynamic and fast that the wind will have a hard time shoving over a cliff. Just because I can control the weather-- with the proper focus-- doesn’t mean the weather likes it, or that it won’t decide to screw with me at the most incontinent times. In my business, we not only understand chaos theory, but we totally abide by it, as well. Chaos happens. Plan for speed.

People talk about nature as a mother, but to me she’s always been Medea, ready and willing to slaughter her children.

There was no way I wanted to bring my problems into that world. That world didn’t know the sunshine was provided for them, just like the rain, or that somebody had to protect them daily from the fury of the earth and the weather.
It was a nice world to visit, even if I couldn’t live there.

Weather Warden
1. Ill Wind (2003)
2. Heat Stroke (2004)
3. Chill Factor (2005)
4. Windfall (2005)
5. Firestorm (2006)
6. Thin Air (2007)
7. Gale Force (2008)
8. Cape Storm (2009)
9. Total Eclipse (2010)

First Paragraph: Well, thank God this is about over, I thought as I drove-- well, blew-- past the sign that marked the Westchester, Connecticut, city limits. Traffic sucked, not surprisingly; rush hour was still in full swing, and I had to moderate my impatience and ride the brake while I watched for my exit. Calm down. Things will be back to normal in a few more minutes.


Vision~ A Resource for Writers
Crescent Blues

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Source: Giveaway from the Random (but not really) blog

Picture Explanations
Road: Joanne’s constantly on the go in this one… for good reason!
Storm: The main character’s ability is to control the weather and the weather doesn’t like this at all!
Lightening: Joanne met Star when she saved her from a storm that was intent on killing her
Mustang: Delilah!


  1. Sounds like a fun book! I find it interesting that it was originally rejected because the main character had cancer.

  2. Wow, thanks for this review, Jen. I've had this book on my reminder list at paperbackswap.com for over a year now. I thought it looked awesome, but I was also a little bit wary because there are already so many books in the series and I've been very disappointed at the slow self-destruction of the Hollows series which I see as a close cousin to this series.

    I may have to go ahead and get this first book. It sounds great!


  3. LOVE the car.
    Love the opening.
    Great review.

  4. These books are awesome. There is a spin off series which is great too :)

    I love your review, btw. All the pictures in it are great :)

  5. This was a series I read last year. I had a marathon read feast and read them all back to back. Awesome and action packed. I throughly enjoyed it. I actually thought I had read the whole series only to find there was another book out in 2010 so I hope I can remember enough to get back into it. I loved Caine's world where there were djin and the weather warden's powers were quite impressive too. You also get a romance thrown in, so all in all this series has a bit of everything for the reader.

  6. Ooops, totally forgot to thank you for for visiting me and becoming a follower.

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  7. Bermudaonion: Me too! The publishers claimed that they couldn't have a heroine with cancer even if they don't die. Paranormal cancer is another thing I guess because that's pretty much what the Demon Mark is.

    Paxton: I already emailed you :)

    Juju: I do too. I can't wait for Crusing the Coast this year! All kinds of classic cars from around the country come down here to Biloxi for car shows. These are everywhere!

    A Girl Reads: I have heard about the spin off series. We'll see how much I'm still enjoying this series by the time I finish it before I try that one.

    Lisa R: I love marathon reads like that! It's a little difficult for me to review them though because they all get mushed into one in my mind.
    No problem! ♥

  8. Wanted to invite you back to my blog so you could signup for the giveaway.

  9. Hi! thanks for the comment on my blog. Sorry for the late reply :)
    Do read the rest of this series, I thought it was pretty great for the first 3 books at least..

  10. I have owned this book forever and STILL haven't read it. I must remedy that!

  11. I've read the first two books in this series and loved them both although I think I liked the 2nd one even better than the first. Definitely excited to pick up the third one at some point soon. Great review as always!

  12. Lisa R: Thanks

    Deepali: Uh-oh! Okay, I'll have to try to do that. I do own the first 6 so I'll get to eventually anyway.

    Kailana: I did really like it but the ending has me a little nervous...

    Samantha.1020: Oh good! The ending of the first book has me a little nervous about the way the series is going to go.

  13. Stopping by very late to say that I thoroughly enjoy this series, and really should hurry up and read the next book for me!

    I really liked that concept of something as every day as the weather being manipulated.



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