Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Firestorm" by Rachel Caine

Joanne Baldwin is back, and she's got even bigger problems than she's had in the previous four entries in the Weather Warden series. This time around it's Mother Earth herself that she's fighting; Mother is starting to wake from a long, deep sleep and she is not happy. Humans have been wreaking havoc and like any long-suffering parent, she's had it. It's time for some much-deserved punishment. Only thing is, that punishment pretty much means the end of the human race.

Not to mention that the working relationship between Wardens and their Djinn has gone to hell in a hand basket.

Intrigued? You should be. Next to Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series, I think Caine's Weather Warden saga is one of the best out there. Jo is just a girl trying to do her job when we meet up with her, although she is on the run for killing her mentor. He wasn't a bad guy but he had been infected by a Demon Mark, a sort of nasty parasite highly attracted to power, which most Wardens have, some in spades. What, you thought the weather was a natural phenomenon? Not in Caine's world; Wardens all have control over one of three elements: fire, water, and earth. They attempt to keep us puny humans from being crushed by the forces of Mother Earth, not always as successfully as they would hope. This is a world fairly much like our own, except for the existence of the Wardens, their Djinn and the Demons.

Alas, you guessed it - I'm about to tell you to read the whole series and to do it in order. Don't ask me why I'm always attracted to these things, because I've wondered that myself. Perhaps it's for the same reason that we are friends with certain people; we enjoy spending time with them, come to care about them, and want to know about their lives. Hey, don't tell me it hasn't happened to you at some point - I believe everyone has come to feel "close" to at least one fictional character in his/her lifetime!

The beauty of reading this series in order is that not only do you get to know Jo, you are immersed in her world and watch the relationship develop between her and David, a free Djinn (at least, when we meet him). What are Djinn? Exactly what they sound like, genies of a sort, although maybe more like batteries for the Wardens. They can boost a Warden's powers, but they are also basically slaves, no matter what the Wardens claim. And yes, they can be ordered "back into the bottle" - really! David is one of the most amazing characters I've come across in fiction in a long time; written to be very attractive, lust-inspiring if you will, but also with enough feeling and empathy to make him more than a pretty face. The affair between him and Jo is extremely complicated but very much worth reading this series. There's also Lewis, a Warden of the utmost power who walked away from the group, several other Djinn, Wardens and various bad guys throughout the series.

Trust me, Jo's world is worth checking out. Here's the list, in order, of course!

THIN AIR (release date August 7th, 2007)

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