Tag Archives: paranormal fantasy

Sunday Post – 5th February 2017

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Sunday Post

This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

I’ve had a more normal week, having fortunately recovered from the never-ending Headache Hell – thank you everyone for your good wishes and sympathy. Last Monday I had an unexpected treat in the form of Frances accompanying me for the day as her school had an Inset Day and Rebecca’s arrangements for her care were blown apart at the last minute. Unfortunately, it’s my busiest day but she was an absolute sweetheart, uncomplainingly sitting in the corner of Sally’s lounge reading and drawing as I taught Tim, then coming along to Fitstep, where she joined in. We had some time together in the afternoon before she went home and I had to start getting ready to teach again in the evening.

On Wednesday evening I managed to make my writing group for the first time this year – it was lovely to touch base with writing friends getting much-needed feedback, accompanied by cups of tea and fabulous home-made cake. Mhairi and I met up on Friday afternoon as we hadn’t seen each other for faaar too long. We sat in the Sea Lane Café, watching the white-caped waves pounding the shore through a grey rainy veil while we put the world to rights.

As you can see from my blogs – I’ve rather binged on NetGalley and had a series of new releases all coming out in quick succession, but I’m delighted at the quality and variety of the books I’ve been reading recently. I’ve also managed to get a bit more writing done, thank goodness.

It has been raining every day this week, except Saturday and Himself says the Arun has flooded around Pulborough – not a surprise given how saturated the ground is. Still, at least it isn’t snow…

This week I have read:

Traitor to the Throne – Book 2 of the Rebel of the Sands series by Alywn Hamilton

Mere months ago, gunslinger Amani al’Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a traitortothethronemythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she’s fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne. Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about djinni and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.

This one was a joy. I loved Rebel of the Sands but Hamilton has produced an even better sequel, managing to provide an interesting dynamic in amongst the kidnappings, mayhem and murder where Amani is forced to consider the consequences of what she is doing. This was an aspect of the story I particularly appreciated. And that ending – what an amazing twist right at the very end! I’m now waiting impatiently for the next slice of this adventure.

 

Griffen: Shadows of a Mirror Realm by A.J. Blakemont

griffenShe has nothing—not even a roof above her head. She has unimaginable powers, but these powers come at a price: she has to feed on the mental energy of human beings, killing them in the process. Her name is Griffen and she is a newborn. She is a copy, a paranormal twin of a young woman, Letitia. Griffen is not the only one of her kind—there are others like her, living among humans or hiding underground. Romantics called them doppelgangers, ghostly twins, the harbingers of death. Scientists who know that they exist call them simulacra. They call themselves mirror souls. Who are they and what are their goals?

The above blurb caught my attention on NetGalley and the worldbuilding in this paranormal adventure is the book’s strength – I really enjoyed learning about Blakemont’s superbeings. However, I didn’t particularly bond with Griffen until well into the book.

 

The Turn – prequel to The Hollows series by Kim Harrison

Kim Harrison returns to her beloved Hollows series with The Turn, the official prequel to the theturnseries that will introduce fans and readers to a whole new side of Rachel Morgan’s world as they’ve never seen it before! Can science save us when all else fails?

This is a wonderful treat for those of us who have real any of Harrison’s The Hollows series and followed Rachel’s adventures in a world where humanity was decimated by a virus. And in this book, we discover exactly how that happened… A great introduction to this series if you haven’t yet had the pleasure – and if you have, don’t miss this one. It’s Harrison at her awesome best. I shall reviewing this one in due course.

 

My posts last week:

Sunday Post – 29th January 2017

NEW RELEASE SPECIAL – Review of Radio Boy by Christian O’Donnell

NEW RELEASE SPECIAL – Traitor to the Throne – Book 2 of the Rebel of the Sands series by Alywn Hamilton

NEW RELEASE SPECIAL – Old Bones – A Detective Inspector Slider mystery by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Shoot for the Moon Challenge 2017 – January roundup

Friday Faceoff – Welcome to the Hotel California… featuring Hav by Jan Morris

NEW RELEASE SPECIAL – Review of Griffen: Shadows of the Mirror Realm by A.J. Blakemont

 

Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:

Meet Guest Author Richard Ankers https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/02/04/meet-guest-author-richard-m-ankers/ Regulars who read this spot will know I frequently post Richard’s quirky short fiction. This moving and well written article explains what persuaded him to try his hand at writing.

10 Classic Children’s Poems Everyone Should Read https://interestingliterature.com/2017/02/03/10-classic-childrens-poems-everyone-should-read/ And every poem featured here is a gem. Some have entertained generations of children – some are more modern, but I love them all…

Save Money on Professional Edits – 6 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Own Manuscript
https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/save-money-on-professional-edits-6-easy-ways-to-clean-up-your-own-manuscript/ Any advice by the great Kristen Lamb is worth reading – but she’s right, this article could save you cold hard cash as good editing is expensive and you don’t want your editor to waste time on issues you can fix.

Increasing Discoverability – The 2017 Challenge https://hierath.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/increasing-discoverability-the-2017-challenge/
After reading Jo’s article a few years ago, I started taking part. As a result I have encountered a number of talented authors who deserve to be better known.

Creative Writing and Resources for Writers: an Interview with Teacher and Sci-Fi Author S.J. Higbee https://kristentwardowski.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/interview-s-j-higbee/
I was a bit poleaxed when Kristen first approached me, asking for an interview. But I really enjoyed answering her questions and sharing some tips I’ve picked up after 8 years of teaching Creative Writing classes.

Many thanks for visiting and taking the time and trouble to comment – and may you have a wonderful reading and blogging week.

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*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of KINDLE Ebook Graveyard Shift – Book 10 of the Pepper Martin series by Casey Daniels

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Pepper Martin, now Community Relations Director of Garden View Cemetery, is contacted by the ghost of Eliot Ness, one of Cleveland’s most famous dearly departed. According to Ness, the ashes scattered at the ceremony twenty years earlier weren’t his. His were stolen prior to the ceremony by a Ness groupie, and he cannot rest until those ashes are found. Luckily, Pepper has an idea where they may be – but of course it isn’t nearly that straightforward…

graveyardshiftWell this is fun! And the fact that I’d crashed into a series with nine previous books wasn’t an issue, as Pepper is very much into dealing with the current situation. While she occasionally alludes to previous incidents, none were confusing or difficult to assimilate in relation to her more recent problems – which start stacking up very fast. I really like Pepper – she is rather lazy, a bit scatty and not above bending the truth to breaking point if it gets her out of a jam. In short, she is very much like a lot of us. So when the initially light-hearted tone suddenly got a lot darker and Pepper’s very existence is on the line, I really cared.

That said, while this murder mystery gathered momentum with the stakes suddenly becoming a lot higher, this is no grim gorefest. The action moved along at a reasonable clip, while still giving us a ringside seat to Pepper’s feelings and motivation as she becomes increasingly entangled in this mystery, all in first person viewpoint. There is also a strong cast of supporting characters, including her slightly demented mother who seems hellbent on marrying Pepper off, her work colleagues and Quinn, her policeman boyfriend.

Daniels weaves a satisfying whodunit with a really unpleasant villain, a real sense of threat and a denouement I didn’t see coming. Despite this being a long-running series, the main adventure is satisfactorily tied up and I found myself coming to the end of this pleasing tale wanting to read more about Pepper and her previous adventures. So I shall be revisiting this series at some stage during 2017 and this enjoyable, well-crafted mystery comes highly recommended. Receiving a copy of Graveyard Shift from the publisher via NetGalley has in no way affected my honest opinion of this book.
9/10

Sunday Post – 1st January 2017

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Sunday Post

This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

Like many of you, I’ve been busy catching up with family and enjoying the festive season. It’s been a wonderful Christmas – better than I dared wish for. We spent Christmas with my in-laws, while staying at a nearby hotel – an arrangement that worked very well. I also got a chance to pop in and see my parents and sisters and their families. On Boxing Day we returned home, then travelled on to my daughter’s house for a meal and picked up my son who stayed with us for a few days. It was all lovely. On Friday afternoon I chilled with a couple of friends at a local spa, catching up with them and enjoying the sensation of being toooo hot in the sauna – bliss! Today we’re hosting a New Year lunch with writing buddy Mhairi and her mother as well as my sister, while last night we saw 2017 in quietly, just the two of us. I hope you, too, all had a great Christmas and here’s to a better year.

This week I have read:
The King’s Peace – Book 1 of the Tir Tanagiri series by Jo Walton
thekingspeaceSulien ap Gwien was seventeen when the Jarnish raiders came. Had she been armed when they found her, she could have taken them all. As it was, it took six of them to subdue her. She will never forgive them. Thus begins her story—a story that takes her back to her family, with its ancient ties to the Vincan empire that once ruled in Tir Tanagiri, and forward to Caer Tanaga, where the greatest man of his time, King Urdo, struggles to bind together the squabbling nobles and petty princes into a unified force that will drive out the barbarian invader and restore the King’s Peace.
Walton’s writing never disappoints. This retelling of the King Arthur legend took me back to a world where might is right and a wartorn, battle-weary people long for some stability. As one of the great warriors of her time, Sulien helps to deliver it. I loved this one and as I received some book tokens for Christmas – yippee! – I shall be acquiring the other two books in this wonderful series.

 

What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible by Ross Welford
Turning invisible at will: it’s one way of curing your acne. But far more drastic than 13 year-old Ethel whatnottodoLeatherhead intended when she tried a combination of untested medicines and a sunbed. It’s fun at first, being invisible. And aided by her friend Boydy, she manages to keep her extraordinary ability secret. Or does she…?
Ethel is tipped into a series of farcical adventures once she becomes invisible and Welford has absolutely nailed this spiky twelve-year-old protagonist. I was caught up in her problems and at times teetered between wanting to both laugh and cry at her struggles. This is a book I shall be reading to my granddaughter in due course.

 

Freeks by Amanda Hocking
freeks1Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act… Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night. When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing. Until things start going wrong…
This YA paranormal tale of a travelling show starts with a bang and then pulls back to steadily ramp up the sense of unease, culminating in a shocking denouement. Mara is an appealing convincing protagonist in this enjoyable this page-turner.

 

Graveyard Shift – Book 10 of the Pepper Martin series by Casey Daniels
Pepper Martin, now Community Relations Director of Garden View Cemetery, is contacted by the ghost graveyardshiftof Eliot Ness, one of Cleveland s most famous dearly departed. According to Ness, the ashes scattered at the ceremony twenty years earlier weren’t his. His were stolen prior to the ceremony by a Ness groupie, and he cannot rest until those ashes are found. Luckily, Pepper has an idea where they may be. But, this being Pepper, it isn’t going to be that straightforward…
The fact this is the tenth in the series simply doesn’t matter. Daniels whisked me into the middle of the action without any difficulty as Pepper’s first person pov popped off the page. She’s funny, slightly lazy and not adverse to spinning a yarn or two to ease her way through life – and thoroughly likeable. So it mattered as murder, ghostly attacks and her mother’s slightly demented attempts to get her married all kicked off. This was an amusing, enjoyable addition to my holiday reading and I shall be reading more of this series.

My posts last week:
Teaser Tuesday featuring Freeks by Amanda Hocking

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Ever the Hunted – Book 1 of The Clash of Kingdoms series by Erin Summerill

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The City of Ice – Book 2 of The Gates of the World series by K.M. McKinley

Friday Faceoff – Ho, ho, ho to the bottle I go… featuring Dandelion Wine – Book 1 of The Green Town series by Ray Bradbury

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible by Ross Welford

 

Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:
Looking Back – And Forward https://inesemjphotography.com/2016/12/30/looking-back-and-forward/ Inevitably there are a host of articles on this subject at this time of year – but this one is exceptionally good…

SFSF Awards 2016 https://sfsfsocial.wordpress.com/2016/12/30/sfsf-awards-2016/ I looked down this list with approval and if you are wondering what good modern science fiction and fantasy books to next tackle, this is an excellent starting point.

My New High Maintenance Boss https://readlorigreer.com/2016/12/28/my-new-high-maintenance-boss/ This one had me chuckling with sympathy and recognition…

Space Features of the Week (25th December) http://earthianhivemind.net/2016/12/25/space-features-week-25-december/ Once again, Steph provides us with an excellent roundup of some of what is happening offplanet, complete with links.

Many thanks for visiting and taking the time and trouble to comment – and may you have a wonderful reading and blogging week. Happy New Year, everyone!

Review of Indie KINDLE EBOOK Xoe: or Vampires, and Werewolves, and Demons, Oh My! – Book 1 of the Xoe Meyers series by Sara C. Roethle

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Sara is a smart, funny writer I’ve met through my blog. So I downloaded and read the first book in her YA fantasy series.

Xoe Meyers had a normal life. So she was stuck going to high school, and she only had a few friends to call her own. She liked her normal life. Things were about to change though, because there’s a new guy in her small town, and he is anything but normal. Before Xoe can say, “Werewolf,” her best friend’s life is in peril, and Xoe’s world is turned upside-down. Then, of course, there’s Jason. Xoe doesn’t trust him as far as she can throw him, and given that he’s a vampire, she’d have to be able to catch him first.

XoeThe chirpy tone of the blurb accurately reflects Xoe’s attitude. This isn’t some angst-ridden cry from the heart set in amongst an uncaring dystopian world. In fact, her daily routine is very familiar – right down to the long-suffering tone Xoe adopts when discussing her classes. Roethle manages to exactly capture the teen voice, with perhaps a slightly less self-absorbed spin on events. But the first slice of the book effectively establishes Xoe and her friends’ daily lives – until it all changes.

I was perfectly willing to suspend my belief regarding that change and go with the flow. Roethle’s lively style sets a cracking pace that doesn’t hang around, as the story then gains extra momentum once everything lurches into the paranormal spectrum. However, this story isn’t about some isolated loner mooching around looking exotically different… Xoe has several close buddies and like many teens of her age, wants to hang out with them. Constantly. So when events start sliding out of control, there’s no thought of this little group coping alone – one of Xoe’s main characteristics is her strong loyalty and sense of protectiveness towards her friends. Which means that in addition to finding Xoe appealing, we need to be convinced about her friends and their relationship dynamic within the group. And it’s a lot harder to do successfully than Roethle makes it look, when the story skips along at such a rate, while ensuring readers know exactly how everyone is feeling and what they are doing. But, again, she ticks that box.

So does Roethle manage to bring this adventure to a satisfactory conclusion, yet leave us wanting more? In the first book of a series, it is always a balancing act – do you leave the story on a cliffhanger, hoping your readers will be compelled to immediately reach for the second book to discover what happens next? And I’m delighted to report that Roethle resisted the temptation to go down that route. All the major plotpoints are satisfactorily tucked up, bringing this particular slice of action to a conclusion with a real sense of pleasure – yet with the knowledge that there are a handful of outstanding issues that will need attention sometime very soon.

This is a charming, enjoyable beginning to this YA series and one that once she is a few years older, I’ll have no hesitation in introducing to my granddaughter. In the meantime, I’ll be tracking down Accidental Ashes, the second book in the series – Xoe is definitely a teen I want to meet again.
8/10

Review of The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

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The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant – and in her world, the world of Scion, she commits treason by breathing.

bone seasonAnd that is the first half of the rather chatty blurb about this intriguing world of Shannon’s. She has landed an eye-bulging amount of money for this seven-book series, apparently. Paige is definitely another gutsy heroine out of the same mould as Katniss Everdeen, although clearly looking for a strong father-figure as she takes far more nonsense from Jaxon than she should… I liked her spikiness and the glimpses of this alternate future England, where the memory of Edward VII is reviled as the wicked Jack the Ripper for feeding his unnatural voyant talents with murder and mayhem. The current despotic republic has frozen fashions, so that everyone is wearing Victorian garb and while there are some techie gismos, Paige doesn’t have access to them. She is busy using her unusual talents to give her crimegang family access to ill-gotten gains. Until everything changes…

Shannon has an eye for a striking turn of phrase and gives us occasional vivid pictures of her world. I also enjoyed her underworld slang, which was a pleasing mesh of invented words and historical phrases and – in my opinion – worked well enough without the thoughtfully provided glossary.

However there is a but lurking… While I did enjoy the book, the pacing is very uneven. There are periods where I was almost skimming, as Paige internally wrestles with the forces ranged against her, but when the action suddenly kicks off, it continues accelerating, adding a series of major revelations about the world in amongst all the chases and violence, so that I ended up rereading a couple of sections, to make sure I knew what was happening.

I also found the worldbuilding a tad frustrating. I get that this is a layered, intricate place with a lot going on. But far too much was withheld initially – I had no clear idea about the overall political structure. And as for the Warden and exactly who was whom in that setup later in the novel – again, I found the lack of information starting to interfere with my enjoyment of the story. The Enims felt too much like an additional menace that had to be added to keep everyone sufficiently penned up, rather than an integral part of the world, for instance. With the first person viewpoint, we got a very blinkered slice of the world and while I generally am quite happy to go with the flow, I did find there were far too many unanswered questions at the conclusion of this book for it to be a truly satisfying read.

However I’ve reviewed it, because despite my reservations, I enjoyed the story and found Shannon’s voice sufficiently compelling to want to track down the second book, The Mime Order, when it becomes available. If only to answer one or three of those unanswered questions about exactly what is going on…
7/10

Review of White Witch, Black Curse – Book 7 of The Hollows by Kim Harrison

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This is yet another urban fantasy series where supernatural creatures rub shoulders with the rest of us mere mortals, with often spellbinding consequences.

Set in Cincinnati after a plague triggered by a mutant form of tomato has decimated the human population, Rachel Morgan is a witch whitewitchwho makes a living as a runner and bounty hunter. She has taken her fair share of hits and has broken lines she swore she would never cross. But when her vampire lover was murdered, it left a deeper wound than Rachel ever imagined and now she won’t rest until his death is solved… and avenged. Whatever the cost. Yet the road to hell is paved with good intentions and when a new predator moves to the apex of the Inderlander food chain, Rachel’s past comes back to haunt her. Literally…

Those of you who haven’t yet sampled the delights of Harrison’s work and are considering picking this book up, my advice to you is – don’t. Like all genres, urban fantasy comes in varying levels of complexity and while I wouldn’t claim that White Witch, Black Curse is a particularly demanding read, it is a chunky 552 pages. Which is a long time to be floundering around in a morass of unfamiliar words and names, while you attempt to get a grip on the extensive cast of characters and exactly what they do. Especially as the author doesn’t attempt to do a ‘Story So Far’. Go back to the start of this excellent series and read Dead Witch Walking.

Rachel’s story is told in first person POV with pleasing complexity and – like Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden books – issues started in previous stories continue to develop throughout the series, rather than just pop up in one book, never again to be mentioned. Her world stands out as being particularly well-rounded and three-dimensional with plenty of tension between the different races, nicely filtered through Rachel’s viewpoint.

Inevitably, the series is getting steadily darker as the storylines progress and Harrison effectively portrays Rachel’s grief at her lover’s death without slowing down the action-packed plot. That said, there are lighter moments and the relationship between Rachel, her vampire friend Ivy and the pixie Jenks has a nice mix of humour and edginess.

I’m conscious that a number of folk are starting to roll their eyes at the torrent of books coming out with supernatural heroines stalking the streets. However, I still thoroughly enjoy a paranormal whodunit in a well-written world with a convincingly conflicted protagonist – and Harrison’s Rachel Morgan is right up there with the best of the best.
9/10

Review of Pride – Book 3 in the Shapeshifter series by Rachel Vincent

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This is yet another series of paranormal fantasy about the highs and lows in the life of Faythe Sanders, a shape-shifting human/cat. You either like or loathe this currently fashionable sub-genre, and I thoroughly enjoy it – so long as the books are well written. And Vincent’s slightly spoiled, feisty girlie is depicted with understanding, humour and energy that has her leaping off the page, grabbing me by the throat and not letting go until I’ve read the last page.

prideThe werecat council has three cardinal laws and headstrong Faythe stands accused of breaking two of them: infecting a human with her supernatural skills and killing him to cover her tracks. With the death penalty hanging over her head, Faythe has no escape route left. Until a shapeshifter informs the pride of a rash of rogue strays terrorising his land. Yet this threat is nothing like any they’ve seen before. Only Faythe has the knowledge to save the pride, but can she prove her worth? Or will the council s verdict condemn them all?

Vincent’s paranormal tweak has werecat society rigidly organised by a cabal of Alphas – a bunch of elderly men whose political manoeuvring impacts on the prides who provide them with their powerbase. So Faythe’s rebellion is also an expression of frustration when she sees women of her age able to enjoy a level of freedom that is denied her. I both approve of and acknowledge Vincent’s skill in bringing the issue of feminism into her work – and clearly illustrating to her target audience, young western women, just how confining and dangerous it is to be a high spirited, intelligent girl in a number of societies around the world, these days… It is all the more effective for being implicit in the plotting and not at any stage waved under our noses. Nicely done, Rachel.
Like all the better multi-book series, Vincent allows her cast of supporting characters to also develop and deal with their own issues. So we get to know Faythe’s ex-lover a lot better, as well as other members of the pride, in addition to watching her deal with her father, whose authority she resents almost as much as she loves him. The story is well paced and slickly told, with the unfolding drama about the newcomer discovered in the woods very well handled. Yes – I did guess some of it before the reveal, but the extra political ramifications around the discovery were slickly executed and added an additional layer of interest.

All in all, this latest addition to the series is an enjoyable page turner that under all the apparent fluff and paranormal nonsense, has some dark and pertinent things to say about the status of far too many young women whose lives are in the hands of misogynistic men.
8/10

Review of Ill Wind – Book 1 of the Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine

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Enjoy non-stop, action-packed fantasy, complete with the mandatory misunderstood but gutsy heroine? Have to say – I love it. I’m a complete sucker for the better written series – and here’s a real treat. Caine has given us a world where naturally occurring phenomena such as weather, earthquakes and volcanoes are sentient – and strongly hostile to human existence. Enter the Wardens illwindwho possess the power to control these disasters and mitigate their effects, keeping humankind a lot safer than they would otherwise be. Her protagonist, Joanne Baldwin, is a Weather Warden.

The Wardens Association has been around pretty much for ever. Some Wardens control fire, others control earth, water or wind – and the most powerful can control more than one element. Without Wardens, Mother Nature would wipe humanity off the face of the earth…

Joanne Baldwin – fashion addict and professional, if unwilling hero – is a Weather Warden. Usually, all it takes is a wave of her hand to tame the most violent weather. But now Joanne is trying to outrun another kind of storm: accusations of corruption and murder. So she’s resorting to the very human tactic of running for her life.

Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful Warden. Unfortunately, he’s also on the run from the World Council. It seems he’s stolen not one but three bottles of Djinn – making him the most powerful man on earth. And without Lewis, Joanne’s chances of surviving are as good as a snowball in – well, a place she may be headed. So she and her classic Mustang are racing hard to find him because there’s some bad weather closing in fast…

And that’s where this breathlessly paced story starts. Joanne, desperate and on the run. As she blasts her car at highly illegal speeds along American roads, we learn just why she’s running and what happened. It is a ripping good yarn, told with poise and ability. Caine manages to handle a lot of action in a small timescale without dropping any of the narrative tension; losing character focus; or giving us anything other than a cinematically sharp account of exactly what is happening at all times. It takes a lot of skill to write that clearly.

An aspect of these books (yes, there’s a series – eight so far. I’ve read three to date and they go on giving the goods…) that I’m really enjoying is the role of Djinn. These supernatural creatures sound quite familiar – although they have great natural powers they can be enslaved to human will and stored in a bottle. Wardens use them as tools to amplify their own abilities to battle some of the increasingly violent storms afflicting the planet and regard them as a tool. However, Joanne becomes romantically entangled with one – David. Which gives her a completely different and opposing view to the prevailing one that Djinns are merely hostile entities to be overcome and used as necessary. This ongoing story arc throughout the first three books has given me the impetus to get hold of the next book in series – as with all the most successful urban fantasy series, like Butcher’s Harry Dresden, and Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse, the characters surrounding the protagonist also matter – developing and changing alongside our heroine.

All in all, a really enjoyable romp – with the bonus of lots of weather details for those of us who find the subject fascinating. I’m now looking to get hold of the next five books…
8/10