Windfall by Rachel Caine

Windfall is the fourth book in the Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine, and not surprisingly, the fourth book of hers I’ve read. She has other series, but I’m planning to finish this one first, especially since she just started into a companion one.

Now you might remember that I found Rachel Caine because she was recommended to me. I find her writing voice compelling and the main character, Joanne, sucks me into the story like a gale-force wind, to go with the book’s theme :). This series doesn’t follow the patterns of traditional fantasy, is on the outskirts of most urban fantasy I’ve read, and certainly isn’t a romance for all that there is an incredible, epic even, love story that spans the four books.

I’m trying to come up with something to say that isn’t all adjectives and doesn’t give anything away, but it’s hard. You’ve got a flippant, speed-car loving, master of the weather, who, when you really think she just wants to get on with her life, will chance everything to help someone she doesn’t even like…because it’s the right thing to do.

In the first book, Joanne picks up David, a hitchhiker, because he’s cute and in need. That act has set her on a path so far out of her comfortable little life that with each book I wonder how this can be unique what with all that has happened before. People she’d trusted in a kind of distant, “the top dogs know what they’re doing” way, prove to be much more complex than she could have imagined in both good and bad ways, and yet she keeps true to herself. Faced with unimaginable situations, where her integrity, her very self is on the line, she bullies her way through to the good side every time.

But here’s the trick. These are not detective novels where the main character skates through events without being touched by them. Each new novel shows how what happened in the previous has changed, scarred, and impacted on Joanne. Her core stays solid because she’s strong in that way, but everything around that core is torn to shreds, rebuilt, and torn again.

Windfall is no different than the ones that came before. Once again, there’s a new aspect to her love life, a new intrusion on her efforts to do well in the fate she’s chosen, and a family complication tossed in. If you were to lay these books side by side and try to explain them, it would be clear from the start that each is a separate, stand-alone book. Though I read them in order, I can see coming into this series at any point. The back story clues are enough to ground a reader, and create a voracious appetite for more.

Sorry for the rambling comments, but what Rachel Caine does is suck me in until I don’t want to put the book down. Prior to Windfall, I chose a Harlequin from my to-be-read shelf because I didn’t have the mentals for a story that would make me work for it. That story, due to an odd choice in thriller topics (sorry, a serial rapist does not belong in any form of romance in my opinion), proved to be a hard read. I don’t know what made me pull Windfall out of my stack, but it was exactly what I needed, something to suck me in and captivate me so that my mind wanted to stir itself until I could follow this fast-paced, multi-layered thrill-ride.

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