Meg’s Review: Ill Wind
Ill Wind by Rachel Caine
(Weather Warden, Book 1)
In a world crowded by paranormal fiction series, it’s difficult to find that diamond in a pile of just-as-sparkly cubic zirconium. But give me a cover with a wicked vintage car and a thunderstorm, and this Midwest muscle-car lover is willing to take a chance
on yet another cookie cutter hot-chick-with-powers novel. And in the case of Ill Wind, that leap into the tornado paid off.
Ill Wind kicks off Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series. In this first installment, the narrative follows Joanne Baldwin, a woman who can control air, water, and—more importantly—weather. She is also on the run from her higher ups for reasons that aren’t explained until well into the novel. In fact, Caine plays a lot of plot and details of the universe close to her chest, laying them out bit by bit via flashbacks as the story progresses.
Perhaps it is because I have been marathoning the last seasons of LOST recently, but the book read like a serialized show. Scenes break in places perfectly constructed for credits to roll beneath a montage of images for the next-week-on-Ill-Wind trailer. This isn’t a bad thing, though. Those breaks devour my ability to fight the urge to push through the next section — and then the next, and then it’s 3 AM and probably time to sleep but the teaser is just too good turn away from. It’s a page-turner of the best kind.
Today’s paranormal fiction genre is pretty much awash with badass chicks kicking butt. Creating a unique — or even interesting — female character is a challenge, especially when writing in the over-used (in this genre) first person point of view. However, Caine creates a character in Joanne that is woman first, badass second. There’s no I’m–so-pretty-but-don’t-date-because-no-one-ever-told-me-I’m-beautiful nonsense (thank god). And Caine does not pave the cliché route of love as a weakness (and redemptive quality, of course) with her character. Instead, Joanne’s sense of love and friendship is strong from the beginning, laying foundation for her actions, and in the end, makes her all the more formidable in conflict. Joanne’s an easy character to invest in.
The only real criticism I have for the book is that for a careful reader, the plot twists announce their impending arrival a little too loudly. Several times, I had put the pieces together dozens of pages before the information is revealed with the proper fanfare. Still, the self-made spoilers don’t ruin the experience. Rather, they made me want to read faster to see just what Joanne would do with each subsequent revelation.
In the end, Ill Wind is a promising start to a series. And, any TV producers out there, it would make a very nice serialized show for the SyFy Channel. I’m thinking Josh Holloway staring as David. But that could just be LOST talking again.