Book Review: Weather Witch by Shannon Delany

Weather Witch by Shannon Delany is a young to new adult novel with a bit of a steam punk feel. In the New World rank is everything, and being deemed to carry some sort of magic is the worst curse of all. Jordan is from one of the highest ranked families in society, and she is celebrating her seventeenth birthday, a moment when she should have been clear of an suspicion of magic and ready to start planning marriage and her future. However, a back alley dealing leads the testers and wraiths to her party and she is accused of being a weather witch, and despite no ancestral taint and no prior hints, somehow tests positive as a witch. She, and her family, lose rank and all respect in the society as Jordan is whisked away to be tested further and 'made' into a usable source of power. But the Maker, the man in charge or breaking and remaking suspected witches, is having trouble doing just that with Jordan. Meanwhile, Jordan's friend and romantic interest Rowen seems to be the only one of rank that has not given up on her and does everything he can to save her, while an escaped witch works to bring down the man and culture that made him an outcast.

Weather Witch is a more complicated story than I expected when I picked up the book, in a good way. I expected the standard fair of young adult finds out they are 'special' and both good and bad happen because of it. While there is a certain aspect of this here- Jordan is considered special- there is also deep world building and several related story lines running through the book as well. We get to see into the heart and personal life of the Maker, who without that insight would have simply been the bad guy. We get to see into the psyche of a good number of side characters as well. At times it felt like it would soon become overwhelming, for me it never crossed that line, rather it made me curious to see how everything would come together. I was not disappointed, well maybe in a couple twists but only because I liked the characters that I knew would no longer appear after certain moments. I could understand others getting confused by the voice changes and the incremental world building, but it really worked for me. I really enjoyed getting inside the head of Rowen, Jordan, the Maker, and even some servants to see the whole picture, rather than the limited perspective a single character might offer. I do not want to talk about the plot more, or give away any good stuff, because I found the book to be a surprising journey and would hate to ruin that for anyone.

I would recommend Weather Witch to readers that enjoy steam punk, coming of age tales, historical fiction, science fiction or fantasy, and simply reading something that feels fresh and new.l I think that young adults and adults would both enjoy the book, while the majority of main characters are of the teen set, the setting and political factions will keep everyone interested and turning the pages. Frankly, the only thing that really bothered me about the book was an ending that was obviously a set up for a sequel, and the knowledge that Stormbringer will not be released until January of 2014.
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