July 20th, 2010


"Watch" by Robert J. Sawyer; "Ill Wind" by Rachel Caine

When I was last in the library I happened to see that they had "Watch", the sequel to "Wake" on the shelves, so picked it up & read it yesterday (book 22). This book starts pretty much immediately after the first one ended & so I'm finding it hard to find things to say about it that don't spoil the first book. The different plot threads from "Wake" are all still there, but the main focus is on the emerging consciousness in the web. I found the "good guys" attitude to this a bit naive I think, although in-story they do seem to be right. And given the discussions of game theory in the story maybe part of the point is that if you come to the interactions with a positive attitude then you'll get a positive result? The "bad guys" are, of course, the US security services who want to shut it down because someday it might be a threat - and I can see their point whilst also seeing that it's murder of a conciousness and so wrong. Morality is also a strong theme of the book - and how it's partly a matter of choice and is also something that is taught. It still feels a bit glib (if that's the right word - things are too smooth, too neat & tidy), and is full of infodumps. But despite that I did enjoy reading it, just very much a read-once experience.

Also picked up "Ill Wind" by Rachel Caine (book 23) while I was in the library - had no idea what this was going to be like in advance, except the cover looked like urban fantasy & the library has several in this series. The prologue is an extract from "Owning Your First Djinn" & was enough to make me give the book a go - and a good thing too, I really liked this & have already reserved the next two from the library having finished the book only a couple of hours ago. Our heroine, Joanne Baldwin, is a Weather Warden & she has control over storms. It's basically set in our world, but with the Wardens working behind the scenes (along with the Djinn they control) to keep humanity safe.

"The weather isn't what you think it is. Not by a long shot. It's a predator. [...] Mother Nature is schizophrenic and homicidal, and the only thing that stands between you and hideous, painful death is a couple of thousand people worldwide hanging on by their fingernails. Happy, huh? Most people don't want to know that."

That's just background though - Jo is on the run from the rest of the Wardens & that's where we start. And along the way, via flashbacks as well as the present action, we find out what she is, who the Wardens are, what she did (it's bad), what they think she did (it's worse) and what the actual problem is (it's even worse). And then just as things start to look like she might sort it all out, it gets worse. I didn't expect the ending at all (and shan't spoil it here) and I want to see where Caine goes with this. I like the world too, where it could all be happening behind the scenes in this world, where the "magical" organisation has a bureaucracy & feels full of real modern people. And the Djinn - proper genies, magic bottles & all. There's something interesting going on with them, too - tantalising glimpses of it in this book which I rather suspect are fleshed out later.
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