illwind“Something very wrong about contemplating murder with the smell of baking in the air.” – p 315

Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin has always had a very strong magical gift.  Being able to control the weather isn’t something out of the ordinary, but the finesse she does it with is.  Unfortunately, it’s also gotten her noticed by some very powerful bad people.  And having killed on of these very powerful people (who happened to be her very powerful boss) has got her on the run from the rest of the Wardens.  Now she’s racing across the U.S. in her classic Mustang in search of the one person more wanted than she is – her old friend Lewis.  Lewis has stolen not one, but three djinn – powerful beings Wardens mete out like treasure to only the most trusted individuals – and if Lewis can’t help Joanne save herself then no one can.  Not only are the Wardens tracking her, but a storm who has a very menacing nature and a grudge against her is right behind her as well.  And if the Wardens don’t drag her in for questioning, the storm might fry her with lightning.

Being an enormous fan of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, I’ll take his recommendation on related reading materials.  When he gave a star endorsement to this series, as soon as I heard it, I grabbed the first two novels.  Honestly, readers, I could not put this book down.  I read it in less than 24 hours, completely engrossed.  The characters are frighteningly real for a fantasy novel, the magic aspect is seamlessly blended into our universe, and to put it bluntly – I loved Joanne.  She was Harry Dresden meets Veronica Mars, with a little bit of Bartimaeus thrown in for good measure.  She’s snappy and witty yet vulnerable, powerful but classically naieve, and completely willing to take the most insane of risks to get what she wants. 

I’m not sure if this book was originally intended to be stand alone, as I can’t see all of the following books having such an amazing ending as this one does.  However, I’m starting the second book and I recommend you go grab this one if you enjoy anything by Jim Butcher.  This book is nearly as good as anything with Harry Dresden in it, although, be warned – Rachel Caine is not quite as PG an author as Jim Butcher.

“Ill Wind” was written by Rachel Caine and published in 2003.