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Tag: Weather Warden

Windfall

by on Aug.05, 2010, under books

As promised, this review is close on the heels of my review of book three (mostly because I pretty much read them back to back).  Overall I’m definitely getting into the flow of these books and I’m interested to see how long they will stretch out.

In Chill Factor, Joanne managed to save the world from both the nihilistic tendencies of the god of Djinn under the ownership of a misguided teenager and a dirty cop that switched to drug smuggling to Djinn smuggling (partially due to her own past meddling).  And in the end when faced with the choice of joining up with either the newly discovered Ma’at or her old job with the wardens, she opted for neither.

In Windfall,  we find Joanne doing her best to stay off of the aetherial radar – most poignantly as a weather girl on a Ft. Lauderdale local TV affiliate.  It pays the bills and keeps the wardens from bothering her … mostly.  But when strange things start to swirl around her (e.g., freak storms, missing wardens, Djinn standoffs in the streets), fingers start to migrate in her direction.  But having a Djinn boyfriend that is barely holding himself together (literally), having limited abilities herself due to her Djinn tether and the unborn Djinn daughter in her belly, and having her recently divorced sister mooching off of her all seem to hamper her ability to do much to clear her name much less save the day.  But she manages to make a dent none the less.  And in the end, things change fundamentally once again.

While I’ve been enjoying Rachel Caine’s first-person perspective throughout these novels, I have to say that I’ve seen a marked improvement in her writing form in this book.  Where many of the past volumes had about 3 or 4 long chapters, this one had about 7 shorter chapters that each had an interstitial arc that nicely wrapped up into the main story arc by the end.  It made the story much more interesting to read and added a narrative element that introduced a key alternate perspective as well as pertinent background that would otherwise have been difficult to integrate.

Once again, this story ends with drama in progress, so I will likely be starting book five as soon as I can.  Though I’ve taken a brief break from it to read another book recommended by a friend.  So I will likely be reviewing that book before another Rachel Caine review appears here.

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Chill Factor

by on Aug.03, 2010, under books

I’m writing this post belatedly because I’ve since read the fourth book as well and will likely start the fifth book soon.  But I’ll attempt to try and keep the events separated enough now to review the third volume (and I’ll likely write another post shortly reviewing the fourth).  Anyway…

So in the first book, Joanne Baldwin was a weather warden on the run (being that she accidentally killed a prominent weather warden in the process of getting a demon mark thrust into her) and died at the end to save the world from the evil growing inside of her.  In the second book she is reborn as a Djinn, but quickly learns that (a) being a Djinn isn’t as easy as it looks and (b) the price of her afterlife was higher than she could have imagined – in the end she spends her life force to make it right, and is then gifted with rebirth as a human.  Now in the third book, she has unfinished business to attend to – namely that a punk teenager has bound to his service the most powerful Djinn in existence.  And they are holed up in Las Vegas.

Through this story Rachel Caine continues to build out the canon behind the Djinn, their origins, and their nature.   What I find most interesting about Joanne’s character is that she holds nothing back – she will confront anyone about anything regardless of whether she is out-matched, out-powered, or out-classed.  In that way, she is a bit like a small, yippy dog – always barking at everything and everyone.  But she has the bite to back it up.  And unlike many of the protagonists I’m accustomed to reading about, Joanne hardly ever has a clue what she is getting herself into.  But that rarely stops her from jumping in mouth first.  And once again the smaller struggle she is working through seems to have world-changing repercussions if she fails.

Once again, there are moments of male-ogling that I could do without.  But they are less frequent and the story is definitely compelling enough to make it a non-issue.  And while this book does not end in nearly so much of a cliffhanger as the second volume had, it still ended in a way that left me eager to see where things may go next.  What really makes the series easy to breeze through is that each volume is fairly short (a little over 300 pages).  And through many of them, the timespan between volumes is no time at all.  So the series is very fluid.  If you are looking for an easy-read series with some action and some mystical elements set in a familiar setting, The Weather Warden series is a great choice.

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Heat Stroke

by on Jul.20, 2010, under books

Since I ran out of Jim Butcher books to read (for now), I decided to go back to a series I started based on his recommendations.  I picked up and started reading the second book in Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series, Heat Stroke.  I had read the first volume, Ill Wind, a few months ago and rather enjoyed her writing then.

Rachel Caine’s writing style is somewhat similar to Jim Butcher’s style in the Dresden Files series, but a bit more femininely-oriented.  Instead of references to slasher movies, etc., there are references to fashionable attire.  In place of guy-ish sexual tension and subtle female objectification, there is, well, some pretty overt male objectification.  But both deal in some good fights both physical and magical in nature.  And both describe the use of their respective magics as a balance of mystical powers and application of physics.

In this second volume, we see the story line from Ill Wind continued quite literally – as in almost no break in time between the arcs.  It would be nearly impossible to summarize the plot of this book without partially spoiling the ending of its predecessor.  So if you haven’t read the first book but plan to, I suggest you stop reading here.

Ok, for the rest of you – the end of the last book had Joanne Baldwin throwing all of her power into stopping a pretty deadly demon-based scenario from unfolding by absorbing two demon marks into herself and allowing them to effectively cancel each other out … thoroughly killing her in the process.  But her newfound Djinn ally, David, saved her by converting her into a Djinn.  At first this seemed a pretty sweet setup for a happily ever after, but it seems her ‘birth’ as a Djinn was a costly process that had consequences that no one had anticipated – amongst which was a rift into the Void (the realm from which demon-kind hail).  So after having a couple of days to adjust to her new existence, she has to jump right into the fray of fixing some things that it seems no one else has the power to fix – including trying to keep her hair from turning up curly every time she turns solid.

Unlike the previous volume that ended in a sort of serendipity, this one ends with a pretty big cliffhanger.  So naturally I will be continuing to read through book 3.  So far the female perspective appreciation of hunkiness factor hasn’t turned me off to the series yet (I guess I’m that big of a geek that the weather and magic talk drive me to soldier on).  But I sense more of it to come – if it becomes overwhelming I may have to cut my losses, which would be ashame as I do enjoy the overall narrative.  The only complaint I can offer is that the book, while only about 200 plus pages, was divided into only 3 chapters.  I guess to an extent I’ve gotten used to Butcher’s screenplay-esque chapter handling.  Again, I can tolerate this as I will stop where I feel the need to stop, but it is nice to have more frequent clean breaks.  But I will continue on – potentially straight through the whole series … or at least until Jim Butcher releases something else.

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Ill Wind

by on May.20, 2010, under books

I learned two things I didn’t expect while reading this book:  (1) I learned a whole bunch of facts about weather patterns I hadn’t fully appreciated, and (2) I realized that I’ve read very few books written by women.

After finishing the Dresden Files series (at least what has been written so far) and being left with a penchant to read more, I came across this series by Rachel Caine called the Weather Warden series.  A friend mentioned it to me as Jim Butcher actually endorsed the series.  Given I haven’t read anything by him that I haven’t liked, I figured his recommendation was worthy of consideration.  So I picked up book one from my local Barnes & Noble and dug in.  I have to say that I enjoyed it more than I expected to.

The book follows Joanne Baldwin, a powerful Weather Warden, on her quest to clear her name of murder charges and free herself of the demon mark that was forced upon her.  The setting is modern day United States and posits a secret group of people with elemental abilities that are self-governing in the use of these abilities to guide earthly phenomena such as hurricanes, wild fires, earthquakes, etc.  This version of our world also includes the existence of genies (referred to as Djinn) as powerful and immortal being that can be bonded to a host and their power used to enhance these elemental forces.

Rachel Caine builds an interesting and believable world and set of characters.  While the story starts in the midst of action and tension, Rachel eloquently weaves in back story elements that help give Joanne and the other characters she interacts with greater substance.  She also manages to paint a vivid picture of the events as they unfold.

While I have read plenty of books where part or all of the story was from a woman’s perspective, it seems that a story written about a woman BY a woman yields a perspective that I haven’t previously experienced.  Perhaps it is a bit cliché, but as a man it is inherently difficult to fully understand how certain experiences are perceived from a feminine perspective.  In that respect, this book was rather educational and inspires me to possibly explore this perspective further (though I don’t necessarily see myself running out to purchase Sense and Sensibility).  In the least, perhaps my wife will consider reading something that I liked and we can share that.  I gave her the book – that is all I can really do without being a nuisance.

Anyway, the bottom line here is that I did enjoy this book and I am giving serious consideration to continuing the series.  If you like the contemporary fantasy genre (à la Dresden Files, etc.), then you may enjoy this series as well.  If you do, let me know.  If you didn’t like it, I’d like to hear why.  If you’d like to just discuss the Coriolis Effect, I’m open to that too.

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