I had trouble getting into this story, but it rallied at the end.
Joanna is on the run when the story unfolds, but the reason why doesn’t come clear until about halfway through. Oh, we get hints, but not the full story. She just talks about the “demon mark” as if a reader new to the series would have any idea what that means or what the implications are. The pacing of this book was a problem. There were a number of early flashbacks that slowed things down without, IMO, delivering true bursts of understanding that would have made that sacrifice worthwhile.
The world came together slowly and in the end I think it may be an interesting place, although my understanding remains tenuous even now. It was apparent from the first that the gin (genies) would be important and they are. I only wish I had understood more about these beings before Joanna came into contact with them so that I could have appreciated what they did, what she did in response, and how/why she broke the rules.
Joanna herself needs development, IMHO. She was a sassy heroine into fast cars but I didn’t get a sense for what motivated her outside of the events directly effecting the plot. She’s not shallow — there’s a lot of history here and I think a lot of thought went into her — but it didn’t come out in this book. Maybe we’ll learn more in the sequels.
The romance was hard to accept. Joanna was a bit too interested in every halfway attractive man she ran across. I didn’t recognize a difference when she ran into the man who (at least in this book) seems to have been the “love” interest. The whole relationship came about a bit too abruptly for me to really feel the love, especially in light of other things that would be spoilerish to mention.
Any one of these issues would have been manageable, but put together I found there wasn’t anything I could sink my teeth into and hold onto. I almost didn’t finish the book, which would have been a shame.
The last chapter was very engaging. The ending was completely unexpected, possibly brilliant, and it may convince me to give the series another try. It definitely won’t be the first series I’ve gotten into that took a little warm up! Fantasy in particular can be tough because the author has to introduce the reader to a whole new world while at the same time keeping the plot moving.
I haven’t decided whether or not to recommend this fantasy series. Give me another book and I’ll let you know!
Title: Ill WInd
Author: Rachel Caine
Published December 2003