Book Reviews 2005 (39-40)

A pair of great books brings me to a total of forty books read this year.
Ill Wind, by Rachel Caine (Book One of the Weather Warden Series)
And the second book from my friend Elizabeth “Sarah” Bear,
Scardown.


Ill Wind (Weather Warden, Book 1) by Rachel Caine.
A gift at TBR from Deb (along with its sequel), Ill Wind depicts a modern earth where, secretly, people gifted with manipulating elements work to soothe earthquakes and volcanoes, and calm and control the worst ravages of the weather. The conceit is that the weather is really a lot worse than we think; it is the efforts of these Weather Wardens that moderate things so that Mother Nature does not scour the Earth clean of life.
Intriguing enough on its own, but throw in Djinn, an extended chase structure, flashbacks showing how the heroine came to her powers and to this point, and what you have is a fun, light read. I remarked constantly throughout the reading that the style, temperment and feel of the book reminds me very much of my friend Deb, who while not published, aspires to one day join Elizabeth Bear in that category.
Ill Wind is a book that she could have written. From little details like the naming of cars, to the three-dimensional heroine, this book may not be nominated for any awards, but I think you, the reader will enjoy it. Even the male ones who grumble about the rise of “Chick Lit F/SF”.
Deb gave me the sequel as well, and I liked Ill Wind enough to slot it at the bottom of my “rule of seven.” I think that says it all, don’t you?
Highly Recommended



Scardownby Elizabeth Bear.
The second in her series after Hammered, Scardown picks up quickly from the ending of the first and doesn’t pause for breath. In every way and in every metric, this is a better book than Hammered. The characters are better imaged and come alive more easily, there is more plot turns and twists, more surprises, more “gee whiz cool stuff.”
And its fun to read. From Richard the AI to Jenny herself, the characters come alive and jump off the page. I mentioned above in the Ill Wind series that I felt that the book could have been written by Deb, and I meant that as a compliment to the strength of the book.
Scardown hooked into me so much and felt so real, so well done, that, the night that I finished it, I dreamed that I was in its world.
If you have any doubts that Bear deserved her Campbell Award at this year World Science Fiction Convention, Scardown will blow them away.
And blow you away.
The novel DOES end on a cliffhanger, and you might want to wait until December to get its sequel. I for one can’t hardly wait.
Highly Recommended

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