Saturday, August 3, 2013

Review: Weather Witch

Weather Witch by Shannon Delany
Weather Witch #1
Published June 25th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin

In a vastly different and darker Philadelphia of 1844, steam power has been repressed, war threatens from deep, dark waters, and one young lady of high social standing is expecting a surprise at her seventeenth birthday party–but certainly not the one she gets!

Jordan Astraea, who has lived out all of her life in Philadelphia’s most exclusive neighborhood, is preparing to celebrate her birthday with friends, family and all the extravagance they might muster. The young man who is most often her dashing companion, Rowen Burchette, has told her a surprise awaits her and her best friend, Catrina Hollindale, wouldn’t miss this night for all the world!

But storm clouds are gathering and threatening to do far more than dampen her party plans because someone in the Astraea household has committed the greatest of social sins by Harboring a Weather Witch.
*An ARC was provided by St Martin's Griffin in exchange for an honest review.*

Beyond the initial draw of Weather Witch's stunning cover, I was naturally attracted to the fact that this story revolves around Witches (big surprise, yeah? >.<)...but not just any kind of witches, ones that can control the weather!  I though that this sounded beyond cool, especially set in the mid-1800's.  The concept was brimming with possibilities and the added mention of steam power right at the beginning of the blurb there meant that there would also be Steampunk elements mixed in here so needless to say, I wasn't going to miss any of that!  Sadly, my excitement was short-lived only to be replaced by confusion, frustration and even a bit of apathy.

I'll be honest, I almost gave up on this one more than once.  Weather Witch is told in alternating points-of-view but in this case it was more confusing than helpful because it wasn't always obvious where the switches in perspective were taking place.  New characters seemed to be added to the story and given their own POV at the same time so you'd be in the head of a character you knew nothing about, trying to understand why their perspective was important.  I just couldn't figure out how all the other narrators tied into the journey of the MC Jordan.  The full extent of the connections between all of these characters is, in fact only revealed waaayyyy at the end.  The result made every scene or plot twist seem random to me, even jumbled so that by then end I just wasn't invested in any of it to really care.

As a main character, Jordan was very difficult for me to relate to.  She came off as detached from much of the world around her, like she couldn't really be bothered to care about anything.  Her sort of indifference only persisted after her world is completely turned upside down and she seemed to flat-out refuse to process or deal with the reality of her situation.  This led me to feel slightly amused *grins evilly* at times when Jordan got a few intense reality checks, instead of sympathizing with her character like I obviously should have done.

Other narrators in Weather Witch include Rowen, as the potential love-interest which I didn't really like because I was never quite sure what to make of him to be honest.  He seemed uncaring at times but then he'd go all reckless and intense the next.  'The Maker' was another frequent POV but I won't spoil anything by revealing his role in all of this.  He was easily the darkest and the most complex character out of the bunch; his scenes were often twisted and macabre but also shockingly human.  He was a more compelling voice to read but I definitely wouldn't say it was enjoyable. Finally there is another sort of mystery POV thrown in for good measure which at first just baffled me.  By the time his identity became more clear, I understood the need to add his perspective to the story but I felt like it could have been accomplished in a different and less disorienting way.

The plot of Weather Witch moved at a snail's pace.  At about the 60% mark, it was as if nothing that important had happened yet, other than the big twist at the beginning.  There were a lot of oddly placed info-dumps or flashbacks that felt random and sometimes disjointed from the story altogether.  This ended up making the ending feel frantic and overwhelming as the characters all seemed to collide together finally, revealing how all these characters were connected.  Beyond all of that, the ending didn't really offer up any resolution to speak of!  There was no closure and almost every single important plot-point was left up in the air for the sequel.  So yeah, after all that, I'll admit I felt a little cheated - only a little though because at this point, the apathy I mentioned earlier had pretty much settled in.

I'm going to stop here and avoid getting any more ranty than I have done so far. Weather Witch did bring the feels a couple of times given how the witches were persecuted in this world and imprisoned - it was eerily reminiscent of the Salem Witch trials and the persucation of witches in our own history.  I also feel the need to mention that Steampunk lovers wanting to read this for the Steampunk elements might end up being let down.  Steam powered is only mentioned a few times in passing throughout the book. It does seem like that whole aspect would play a bigger role in the upcoming book(s) but for me that isn't enough to make me want to keep reading.   I had very high hopes for this one given the combination of elements that were in play but unfortunately they just didn't mesh like I'd be anticipating. The premise and ideas brought to the table were full of potential but unfortunately their execution fell flat.

My Rating: 1 out of 5 stars :(

9 comments:

  1. Was not a fan of this one either. Great review : )

    Kate @ Reading Under the Willow Tree

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  2. This book sounds like it had great potential, so what a shame it didn't deliver. I like multiple POV's when they are well-executed, but I can see that it doesn't work here. Feeling disconnected from the MC often leads to the DNF rating, so I think I'll be staying away from this one. Thanks for the honesty and I'm sorry that it was so disappointing!

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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  3. I was hoping it would be good, the cover and the description make it seem like it could be. I definitely wouldn't get through it if you had all those problems. Characters that are uninterested in their environment really bug me too. Thanks for the review!

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  4. Sorry to hear that this didn't work out! I hate it when an MC doesn't seem involved in what's going on around him/her. The multiple POVs don't sound like they were handled well, either. I'll definitely be skipping this!

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  5. Oo, I was tempted by this one, but thank you so much for the warning! So much potential, makes me sad :(

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  6. So sorry this was a let-down, hun :( I remember everyone being excited for it so I thought maybe I should look into it, but your review has made it clear to me that I needn't bother. The MC sounds infuriating and like you, I then tend to get the evil grins instead of the sympathic tears when something bad happens to them. The Steampunk elements that could have made it worthwhile for me also seem to be pretty much missing. Nope, not reading this one.
    Great review though! If a book got on my nerves so much that I had to rate it only 1 star, I don't know if I could've been so professional about it. I tend to get really annoyed even thinking about it so I have go over a review again and delete the snark ^^' You handled it really well! Let's hope the next book you read will be more enjoyable!

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  7. My husband brought this home from the library but now I am going to pass on it..too bad it wasn't great!

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  8. Aw, very sorry to hear that this one didn't live up to expectations!

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  9. Ohhh noes!! This was supposed to be our book, Micheline! It seriously sounded so cool, right up our alleys. I mean, magic AND steampunk?! Too cool (or at least, it SHOULD have been too cool). Aww, what a let down. I can't believe you stuck it through to the end because it really sounds like there is barely anything redeemable here. Though I guess it's nice that you did, if only to be able to warn us off from how terrible this one was. So thanks for taking one for the team, I guess? Ugh, I think it's the construction and structure of the story - the lack thereof, that is - that would've irked me the most. And to be honest... I kind of remember feeling the same way about this author's werewolf series, of which I only read the first book, but wasn't terribly impressed. I guess I was hoping she would've improved a bit. But this sounds like it actually might be an even more unpleasant reading experience than that one was. So that's two sort of failures on the magic/fantasy front this week. Okay, at least we still have The Burning Sky to look forward to, right? That one has got to be good!! It just has to. Anyways, this was very well reviewed even if the book was sort of crap!

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