The Weather Witch suffers from a first novel syndrome in that there is a TON of information dumping and a plot that meanders through a myriad of situations and possibilities and leaves readers scratching their heads with a typically stunning cliffhanger to keep readers interested in the sequel Stormbringer (January 14, 2014).
In cases of ARC's I normally keep my thoughts to myself about the editing, but, in this case, there were tons of editing and proofreading mistakes that I'm hoping will be caught by the publisher before the actual book is released on June 25, 2013.
The Weather Witch is set in 19th century Philadelphia which apparently makes this a historical fantasy novel with steampunk aspects like Airships, Automations, and Carriages. The story is told by four uniquely different voices in Bran Marshall, Rowen Burchette, Jordan Astraea, and Marion Kruse. But, they are not the only characters we get to hear from. There are other secondary and tertiary characters like Chloe Erendall that we don't get a good read on until certain aspects make themselves known to the reader and one or two of the characters finds themselves in hot water with no lifelines.
For Jordan Astraea, things completely implode on her Seventeenth birthday and there is absolutely nothing she can say or do to stop the villainous machinations that were put in place by someone that truly wants to see her family destroyed. Imagine the Salem Witch trials if you will, and suddenly being accused of being a Witch and taken away from your family who is left in ruins. Now, let's reveal the fact that Weather Witches are ostracized by this society but they continue to control the weather, conduct weather to control airships, and they also power the lights.
Jordan is an interesting character who is put through absolute hell without a get out of jail card. She is pushed beyond what a normal person is expected to deal with unless that person loves to be tortured and treated like donkey poo. One can only put themselves in her situation and walk with her into the darkness that is now her existence and hope that someone shines a spotlight on her situation and that she will eventually walk away with her sanity in place.
Rowen Burchette is probably the second most interesting character in the Weather Witch outside of Jordan with Bran & Marion a close second. He and Jordan have always been close even though they are separated in the hierarchy of the society they live in. Rowen considers himself to be her protector and would be suitor and tries to rescue her from her situation by any means necessary. He also comes from an awful family who would do anything to gain favor and rise in society no matter who they have to use. Rowen's journey is a bit like Jordan's in that he is tried, tested, and pushed to the brink of his limits.
In the end, Weather Witch is one of those story's that you need a lot of patience with and some handy dandy paper and pen in order to keep notes on what characters are doing what, and who is the actual villains and who are the good guys. There is a lot of tension, innocent characters find themselves in deep water with no way out, villains are all right in front of you laughing all the way to the bank, and there are plenty of questions remaining especially in regards to Jordan's family.
Recvd 01/25/2013 via Netgalley. Expected publication: June 25th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin
Author - Shannon Delany
Title - Weather Witch
Publisher - St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date - June 25, 2013
Genre - Historical Fantasy
Received from Publisher via NetGalley