Joanne has reached an all new low. She’s left the wardens and is under threat to never use her powers again. David is near death. Every interaction outside of his bottle brings him closer to the edge and her new job isn’t exactly glamorous. She’s taken up working for a news station as a weather girl. But she isn’t forecasting the weather, instead, she’s the stand in for the butt of jokes to amuse the viewers. When Joanne’s sister shows up on her doorstep, newly divorced and begging for a place to stay, it’s just the icing on the cake of her new life. But something is brewing in Florida. A threat of violence that has continued to grow over time reaches the breaking point, fracturing the wardens and dragging Joanne into the middle of it.
Each new Weather Warden book brings a host of problems for Joanne. This time around it is a mix of supernatural and human-related issues. And each book reaches a higher level of action and potential for the series. The world-building never ends and the challenges characters face keep escalating. Not to mention the emotional dive Joanne has to face in Windfall. She’s losing everything, her life is falling apart. Add into the mix high stakes tension, near death experiences, and threats from some of the most powerful creatures on Earth. Every page you turn, there is something to keep you reading, driving you forward to find out what is going to happen next.
A common theme that has cropped up in each Weather Warden book, is how close Joanne comes to dying. Normally this would become repetitive since Windfall is the fourth book in the series, however, Rachel Caine does something clever. Multiple characters point out to Jo that courting death is not a fitting characteristic, nor is it a good hobby. This puts it into perspective that yes, this is happening all too often, and even the characters are not happy with it. Do I think Joanne will stop having close calls? Most likely not. It’s not in her nature to back down when she thinks she has a chance, even if it is a slim one. And it’s one of the reasons I enjoy her character.
I’ve mentioned the magic system often enough in my book reviews, but another component unique to the Weather Warden series is the way Rachel Caine personifies elements. Storms take on personalities of their own, boiling in angry streaks across the atmosphere, lashing out with lightning and rain. Fires surge in fits and starts, consuming all they can in hunger. Each encounter brings readers closer to the concept of mother earth being a living breathing being. An idea Rachel Caine has teased since the first book, Ill Wind.
Something else I have not mentioned in my book reviews is how focused on fashion and body image the female characters are in this series. Joanne zeroes in on designer fashion and feels ashamed when she isn’t wearing the latest trends. While fashion is not a topic that interests me, I see it as just another trait of Joanne’s personality. And she does tend to surround herself with females of similar interest. Joanne is also a woman self-conscious about her body image. Her sister takes trendsetting and body image to a whole new level. But this is a minor element of each story. Sort of a reminder of Jo’s base personality while she is also kicking butt and taking names.
Joanne has her faults, but every character does. Despite her shortcomings, she feels deeply for those she cares about. Any time she has no choice but to make a decision that may harm someone she loves, it cuts her deeply. Watching her character develop throughout the series has been such a joy. And given everything that is thrown her way in Windfall, I’m interested to see how she continues to develop in the next book.
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