“Real life,” he said, “is always more interesting. You just never know what will happen.”

Since my ebook challenge is still two books short, I’m adding this one.

This is the first in the urban fantasy series Weather Warden. It’s written in first person and the main character is Joanne Baldwin, who can control weather. She is part of the Wardens Association which is in charge of keep Earth habitable to humans by keeping storms, fires, and earthquakes down to a bearable level. It seems, though, that the Wardens are a secret from ordinary humans and human organizations. On the other hand, some teenagers manifest quite flashy powers before they are taught to control them and at least Joanne didn’t have to keep her powers a secret from her mother. Also, Wardens are taught in otherwise ordinary collage where they just seem to have their own classes. So, I get a bit mixed signals here.

Unlike most urban fantasy, Ill Wind doesn’t have vampires or werewolves in it. Instead it has Djinns who work as the magical assistants for the more experienced Wardens. Djinns are uncommon, very powerful, and therefore valued. Well, as long as they are the good little slaves they are supposed to be. Jo had still six months of work ahead of her before she could get her own Djinn.

Good: the Djinn, the different powers and their usage, the short weather reports at the start of every chapter, and romance is really a subplot and doesn’t drag too much.
No-so-good: too little settings info, human characters are pretty average.
Bad: –

Joanne is on the run. She has acquired the Demon Mark which Djinns can see but the Wardens can’t. The mark targets her as an out of control witch who has had dealings with demons. Except that she hasn’t dealt with demons. So, she’s trying to get help the best way she knows how. First she tries to go to the house of Lewis Orwell who is the most powerful Warden in the world and also Joanne’s old friend. Unfortunately, Lewis himself is currently on the fun from the Association. He also has three Djinns to himself. One of the Djinn meet Joanne at Lewis’s house and later gives her directions to drive to Oklahoma City. So, she doesn’t have another choice but to get in her midnight blue ’71 Mustang called Delilah and start driving.

Joanne decides to call and later visit her best friend and a former Fire Warden Esterella Almondovar alias Star. Star is worried about Joanna and after some friendly bantering she invites Jo to visit. Joanne is also worried about a dark storm front which is chasing her menacingly. Even though she could have the power to disperse it, that takes concentration and time which she doesn’t have. Also, dispersing a storm from one location could create serious weather trouble in another location so Wardens are very careful or they could easily hurt others.

On the way, Jo takes up a traveler, David, to whom she is instantly attracted. She can’t tell much to him about her situation but David is okay with that. He would much rather read a book from his back bag, anyway.

Interspersed with the current-day story are Jo’s previous experiences: how she found out about her powers, how she met Lewis, how she met Star… This is a very good pacing since it gives just enough current plot to keep interested and enough background no to get confused.

Joanne is very much a girl next door type: interested in cars, shoes, expensive clothing, handsome men and keeping in good standing with her bosses. She wants to have fun but not at the expense of her job. She’s also very loyal and responsible. In fact, she’s very much a standard fantasy hero and so doesn’t stand out of the crowd too much. Unless, of course, you’ve been mostly reading about extraordinary heroes. Then again, I’m not really interested in shoes or cars.

The pacing is good and the characters are good enough for one read. I was rather enjoying the friendship between Joanne and Star. Sadly, most books tend to have only one strong female character or at most two who hate each other.

I was really hooked by the ending, though, which turned Jo’s situation completely around. I can’t wait to see what Caine will do to her next.

Characters: 6,5, setting: 6 (very little info again), plot: 7
Overall: 7