Weather Witch

Weather Witch

by Shannon Delany

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Overview

The first in an exciting new young adult series from 13 to Life writer Shannon Delany, Weather Witch is about a young woman enslaved for being a weather witch, and who must fight for her freedom to be with the boy she loves.

Some fled the Old World to avoid war, and some fled to leave behind magick. Yet even the fiercely regulated New World—with its ranks and emphasis on decorum—cannot staunch the power that wells up in certain people, influencing the weather and calling down storms. Hunted, the Weather Witches are forced to power the rest of the population's ships, as well as their every necessity, and luxury, in a time when steam power is repressed.

Jordan Astraea hails from a flawless background with no taint of magick, but on her seventeenth birthday she is accused of summoning an unscheduled storm. Taken from her family, Jordan is destined to be enslaved on an airship. But breaking Jordan may prove to be the very thing her carefully constructed society cannot weather.

And losing Jordan forever may force her beau, Rowen, to be the hero he would have never otherwise dared become.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250018519
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 06/25/2013
Series: Weather Witch Series , #1
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.88(d)
Lexile: 950L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Since she was a child SHANNON DELANY has written stories, beginning writing in earnest when her grandmother fell unexpectedly ill. Previously a teacher and now a farmer raising heritage livestock, Shannon lives and writes in Upstate New York and enjoys traveling to talk to people about most anything.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

 

There life is supremely easy for men.

No snow is there, nor ever heavy winter storm, nor rain.

—HOMER

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1844

The darkness of the alley rivaled the intent blackening the hooded woman’s words.

As surely as dusk had fallen on Philadelphia, so too did it seem one of the city’s great families would also fall.

“Are you most certain?” asked the woman’s companion, a man of perhaps forty years. He snatched at his rioting hat as a breeze sliced down the alley, making both watchmen and lantern light shiver in its wake. He cursed the need to meet in such a place—one of the few alleys where the substandard candlelit lanterns were still required. Gas lines were too great (and volatile) a temptation for this neighborhood’s inhabitants and too much a hassle elsewhere. And, while stormlight illuminated most of the city, no such technology was wasted here.

No one of Lord Stevenson’s rank wished to be caught dead in the Below. And caught dead was certainly a possibility in this neighborhood considering the turf disputes between the Blood Tubs and Moyamensing Killers. “To storm such an estate on the Hill and be wrong … And on the night of young Lady Jordan Astraea’s seventeenth natal celebration…”

The watchmen shifted at his words, woolen coats rustling as they raised their gazes toward the estate balanced on the mountain above. The Hill was the safest realty in Philadelphia.

When the Wildkin War had pushed the residents of what was briefly called Society Hill up Philadelphia’s slopes and away from the hungry lapping of the waters (and the hungrier things swimming within their depths) the Astraeas had been the first family to stake a claim. Now there was no returning to the first properties the great families had owned. The recent influx of immigrants had turned the area’s elegant original homes into squalid tenements and boardinghouses. Not that the wealthy would want to return with the water so dangerously close.

The hesitancy of the lord’s words ill matched his desires to move against the Astraeas, and the young woman knew it. She had been careful selecting this Council member and contacting him through subtle means. His grudge against the Astraea family was long-standing, though most had forgotten it.

But, even so young, she had a gift for discovering the little things that either pulled men together or divided them. It was a precious and necessary family trait when one held her social standing. “I know this as well as I know my own name,” she snapped. Moon-white gloves appeared long enough to tug the deep hood of her Kinsale cloak farther down, swallowing any hint of her face in shadow. A ruby flashed on one finger before her hands disappeared once more into rich folds of velvet.

The Councilman’s gaze flicked from the mysterious lady to the fluttering light of the smoke-stained lanterns near the alley’s entrance. “One might suppose you, too, are a Witch—the way the wind cries when you are angered…”

“One might suppose,” she quipped, the breeze playing with the heavy velvet hem, “that such words would be considered treasonous considering my rank. Go to the Astraea estate this evening. The Witch will be there, as I’ve said.”

Light stuttered across his sharp features and he nodded. Shrinking against a fresh chill, he pulled his tall hat’s brim lower over his brow. “And who—?”

She held her hand up, silencing him. “Bring a Tester. He will know the Witch easily enough.”

He waited in silence with the watchmen—with no Weather Wraiths currently in Philadelphia proper he had settled for using simple men—until the lady disappeared from the alley and the sounds of a carriage rattling across cobblestones told of her departure.

He did not need her surname to guess her rank. From the noise on the street he knew her carriage was horse-drawn by a single, calm steed, like the carefully tended cavalry’s or the privately owned ones barely afforded in the city—not like the wild-eyed and panicky survivors of Merrow attacks. A steed such as hers would have been well protected, stabled, and that took significant money.

She was at least a member of the Fourth of the Nine and that was good enough for him.

Finding another Weather Witch at the Astraea estate meant further lessening old Morgan Astraea’s influence by casting doubt on the high-ranking Councilman. He’d do anything to peel one of Astraea’s fingers back from the reins he held, anything that would put himself a step closer to achieving his goals.

“We must hurry. Call in the nearest Tester and a Ring of Wraiths. There will be some nearby Gathering. If we are to do this we must do it well and professionally.”

A watchman split from their group, jogging to obediently do his duty.

The dying light of sunset streaked across the public’s promised clear sky, illuminating the fat-bellied airships hanging overhead as they awaited instructions for their coast into the Eastern Mountain Port. It would be a clear night for docking cargo, with rain scheduled to fall on Tuesdays and alternating Fridays only.

Lord Stevenson reached up to his hatband to adjust a metal and glass contraption nestled there, bringing its system of lenses and scopes over the hat’s brim and down to sit on the bridge of his nose. Blinking as he rolled a finger across a small brass gear by one of the two scopes, he flipped through a series of tiny lenses, watching the atmosphere high above him come into sharp focus. Faint and feathery disruptions overhead manifested as wisps of clouds, which slowly edged their way across the evening sky, pulling in from all directions to draw together above Philadelphia’s most desirable real estate: the Hill.

And remarkably near the Astraea estate, which sat at the Hill’s crest like the king of the stone-faced mountain.

Holgate

The newspaper folded near Bran’s elbow was a distinct temptation with its headline of Unseasonable Frosts Frustrate Philadelphia. Bran ran the back of his hand across his forehead and tried to focus on the books lying open before him. A Genealogy of Witches, Wardens, and Wraiths was heavy enough reading, but writing the blasted thing? Even worse. He tapped his pen’s steel nib to clear it of ink and set it down.

But the only way to track the Weather Witches was through their lineage—family lines meant much as magicking was one of the traits passed to one’s offspring. Whereas one might attribute a propensity for headaches to pale blue-eyed people living in very sunny climes, connecting physical traits to witchery was not so simple.

Were brown-eyed brunettes more likely to trigger and demonstrate witchery than green-eyed blondes? Statistically speaking, no. But redheads … gingers … they were fiery in more ways than one.

He blew on the page and tenderly lifted its corner, lingering on the memory of a redheaded girl from his hometown. More trouble than he had ever expected. He grinned, but, catching himself, squashed the expression and refocused on his task.

Gingers and anyone from Galeyn Turell’s line seemed particularly prone to witchery. It was as they said: “The apple does not fall far from the tree.”

Luckily, all Weather Witches manifested their affinity for magicking before the age of sixteen.

His desk lantern’s brilliance ebbed, its glass panes reflecting equal amounts of shadow and light. He leaned forward to inspect it. The glowing double-terminated crystal powering its interior seemed constricted, producing only a soft, wavering glow. He glanced at the lanterns lining his library walls. The fire hazard of candles and brief monopoly of gas had been replaced years ago in most of the country by stormlight and their energy source: stormcells, tiny crystals that held power and eased it out slowly.

But even that technology was not without flaws. It did have a distinctly human origin.

His room still radiated a soft white light, each stormcell bright and steady except for the one on his desk.

The one that mattered most.

He shook his head and picked up the set of bone keys resting on his desk’s corner. A Maker should be afforded plenty of light for his work.

He snatched up a smaller journal and opened it, running one finger down a list of names and times. Someone was not doing what they needed to … Ah. His finger stopped on the name of a freshly Made girl.

Age six and recently Gathered from Boston.

Most people would expect little from a child—yes, a sense of decorum and proper etiquette, of course that, but usually they had another year or two before they were thrust into some form of necessary employment. But Witches were different little beasts. Age was of far less importance than proper training.

Witches Burned Out. Best to train them up, Make them, and pull all the power from them as quickly as one could—harness the energy before it dissipated—before they died, leaving only one final stormcell, one specially colored crystal, their soul stone, behind.

This child was too young—too newly Made—to be Fading. Either she wasn’t trying or she wasn’t Drawing Down enough.

He pushed his chair back, picked up the lantern, hung the keys on his belt, and grabbed his small journal. Tank Five. Best go and deal with the problem now rather than suffer the consequences of not solving it later.

Out the door and along the narrow hall he went. Down seven flights of stairs. That was the real headache of maintaining rooms in the Eastern Tower’s upper apartments—traveling so far up and down just to reach the Holding Tanks. At the eighth floor’s landing he peered through the narrow strip of smudged glass at eye level and, steeling himself, opened the heavy wood and iron door. He paused there, nose stinging at the thick scents of chamber pots, old hay, sweating rocks, and perspiring people.

The Tanks were worse than any stable he’d ever been in, especially in the crawling heat of late summer, and the Tanks Witches stayed in before their Reckoning? Not a thought he liked to dwell on. Night only faintly dulled the rankness stabbing his sinuses and left him a little less dizzy than day. Frankly, had there been no problem with any Witch, he would never venture down to the Tanks. But he was the Maker and a Maker’s reputation was built on his successes.

Or destroyed through his failures.

But, he had made enough changes in his system since the escape of the Kruse boy.

He raised the nearly dead lantern, its rectangular glass panes shimmering more from other lanterns’ lights than its own power. He slipped on a pair of thick gloves hanging by the door with a snap of rubber, feeling them fall into a proper and clinging fit.

Bran tugged out his journal and found the girl’s name. He called, “Sybil! Sybil, do you hear me?”

A moan drifted to his ears.

His lantern flickered in response.

He stood before her door in an instant, his hand fumbling through the bone keys. He found the one he needed and popped the door open. In the dark cell the child lay flopped like a rag doll in the straw of her bedding. Moonlight streamed through the bars in the only outside-facing window on Floor Eight and he scrambled forward, reaching a tentative hand toward her forehead.

Fever could spread like western wildfire in the Tanks and wipe clean an entire season of Witches before racing through the compound, murdering the Grounded populace, too. Even through the gloves, the touch of her flesh reassured Bran there was not enough heat to prove fever. He shifted his hand, clamping it more tightly to her brow.

There was barely enough heat to prove life.

Sybil’s flesh was cold as the water in the claustrophobic cell’s corner bucket. Bran stretched the distance and dragged the sloshing wooden pail to him with a grunt. “You aren’t drinking,” he muttered, noting the volume of water remaining. “You can’t Draw Down if you don’t drink. And you can’t Light Up if you don’t Draw Down. Sit,” he demanded, grabbing her arm in an effort to right her.

He dragged her limp form up until she nearly appeared seated normally against the damp stone wall—although her head lolled on her slender neck and her eyes remained unfocused and dull.

The lantern in her Tank was as dead as her expression. She hadn’t even managed to keep her personal lantern powered. Or perhaps she no longer cared to.

Bran reached into the bucket, fishing for the awkward thing at its bottom that was both spoon and cup. His fingers towed it up, gloves coming back slick with a rainbow’s oily sheen. “Dammit.” He kicked the bucket over, water splashing toward the sluggish drain in the room’s center, and he stormed out the door, fist curled tight around the empty container’s handle.

The watchman at the hall’s end raised his head in question.

“When was the last time the Witches had fresh water?”

The man blanched, shrugging his shoulders. “They have water…”

Fresh water,” Bran demanded. “They cannot Draw Down properly if they don’t drink. And they can’t drink slime.” He whipped the bucket out at the man, clipping his chin with the bucket’s edge. “Do right by me or your reputation will suffer.”

The man rubbed his jaw but nodded.

“As will your face,” Bran added. He shoved out the door and jogged down the last flights, coming out onto Holgate’s main square.

By night the compound was an eerie sight. Built by a Hessian with a penchant for castles and Old World architecture, it was in stark contrast to almost every other place in the Americas. Which was why it was perfect for Making Witches. Close to a large freshwater lake but far enough inland from the bay to make Merrow attacks difficult (Holgate and Philadelphia being determined not to suffer as Baltimore had), the place provided all he needed. Water to make weather, height to catch air and lightning, and rock so chances were less they’d catch fire and burn.

Chances being less were, of course, far from a guarantee.

The base of what the occupants called Tanks and Tower was broad stacked and mortared rock that shimmered when flecks of mica and pyrite caught the moonlight, making the place ripple at night like some otherworldly locale. Bran shook the thought from his head.

There was no otherworldly anything. He was a man of science. His reputation depended on it. The fairy tales and things that still held sway in rustic churches and around fires late at night had been proven to be of this world.

Yes, there were things that stole children from their cribs at night and monsters that ate his fellow men. There were misbegotten and misshapen beasts that haunted deep forests and abandoned houses and there were certainly devils seemingly drawn from man’s darkest desires. And magick. Grim, dangerous magick that tore families and empires apart. But none of that magick was here.

Not in the truly civilized parts of the New World.

The Wildkin, including the Merrow, Pooka, Kelpies, Gytrash, Oisin, Wolfkin, Kumiho, and a host of others were as firmly of this world as the other natives that called themselves the People.

And they were just as unwanted.

Magickers were expressly forbidden in the New World. The only ones that had crossed the ocean were the result of Galeyn Turell’s bizarre Making when the Merrow—naturally occurring beasts only a few distant cousins beyond the normal human family—attacked the ship the girl had been on after an accident that had killed one of their princes.

If Galeyn hadn’t demonstrated her strange weather-wielding powers as the Merrow slithered their way across the boat’s blood- and gore-slicked deck the winds would never have kicked up and hurled the Merrow away, and the ship would’ve never vaulted into the air and made it to the colonies.

And there would be no Wildkin War.

How eagerly since then had foreign authors turned a blind eye to the true nature of the Merrow—Hans Christian Andersen the worst offender, using fiction in an attempt to fashion peace.

Unbidden, Bran’s eyes went from the well and pump in the town’s square to the descended portcullis, and the lake and bay not far beyond. The Merrow were never more than a heavy flood away from Holgate’s lake …

He hooked the bucket onto the heavy faucet’s head and, grabbing the pump’s handle, filled it in one long stroke. He was back inside and up the stairs nearly as fast as he’d come down, the burden of the water secondary to the fact that a dead Witch would mar his record.

Nearly as much as the escape of a previous Witch had.

The Witches were all he had. For better or worse they were his only go at immortality. His was one of the most important jobs in all of the Americas. His might be a name to continue on along with those of other great men. Like that of presidents or generals, or like his father.

Or he could be forgotten, leaving nothing of note behind.

He could fail.

“Here,” he said, scooping the water and pressing the ladle against her thin, pale lips. Water poured across her cheeks and chin, spilling down her throat to soak into the linen shift she wore.

She shivered and choked, but she swallowed. She drank. So he scooped more and poured more and she sputtered, her already large eyes going wider. He slowed the flow of liquid, letting her catch up with a few eager swallows before she shook her head and mumbled something.

“What?”

Her eyes, now slightly brighter, remained unfocused and her lips fluttered before she had air enough behind her thoughts to form words. She blinked at him, coughed, and tried once more.

Her voice strained and small, she said, “They come. And there is naught to be done for it.”

She gasped and the stormcell in his lantern blazed so bright blue he fell backward, blinded. The lantern flew from his hands, glass splintering as the thing burst into pieces, the glaring soul stone tumbling free and into the thick and dusty hay.

By the time it returned to its normal intensity and most of his vision was back, Sybil was the cold of death, the very same cold as wildly running water.

“The stone,” Bran hissed, sifting through the wet straw and grime, his fingers blackening with filth as he hunted for the elusive sparkle of a soul stone. “Aaah!” he exclaimed, pulling his hand up to his face, glass sticking out of it like porcupine quills. “Damnnn…” Bleeding and cursing, he pulled the splinters free, and stood to sweep the floor with his booted foot instead, fingers plunged into his mouth and filling it with the taste of iron and dirt.

His stomach dropped when he heard the distinct sound of something scraping across the last bit of a grate before clinking its way into the darkness of the room’s single and filthy drain.

The soul stone was as good as gone.

 

Copyright © 2013 by Shannon Delany

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Weather Witch 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shannon Delany spins a dark tale with fascinating characters and thought-provoking prose that force the reader deeper into the meaning of life in the world in which the characters live. Imagine being born with the ability to control weather yet terrified that it could come to pass, especially if one is highborn, for having that ability brings a dreadful curse, accused, looked upon as a defective outcast, abandoned by those assumed trustworthy and then imprisoned by twisted minds wanting to harness those skills for a deceitful greater good.    Shannon Delany does it again. Weather Witch is an exciting and spellbinding read!
lsmeadows More than 1 year ago
Could have been good, but needs some work.   In 1844, the New World is a closely regulated place where your Rank is everything, steam power has been suppressed, and everything runs on stormcell crystals. In this world, the Weather Witches are the key that makes everything run. They are the ones who control the weather, their power runs the stormcell crystals that make everything run, and they are the Conductors of the huge airships that transport people and things from place to place. They are also enslaved by the powers that be and, as far as Rank goes, they are the lowest of the low. In this world, the Astraea family is one of The Nine, the highest ranking families who run the country, and Jordan is their youngest member. On her 17th birthday, she is accused of being a Weather Witch and taken into custody.  Weather Witch is the first book in the Weather Witch series by established author Shannon Delaney. Delaney's other series, 13 to Life, is a highly popular Young Adult Urban fantasy series with Werewolves as the central characters. Although I have not read any of the books in that series, knowing that it exists did come into play when deciding what I thought of this book as the flaws were things that a novice might be forgiven, but an established author should be able to avoid.  The premise of this book had a lot of promise, and for the most part, I think it lived up to expectations. I found the characters in the book interesting as characters. They were true to their purpose, the tragic heroine, the reluctant hero, the evil master, and a whole host of backstabbing characters. There was even a misunderstood character who we do not quite know yet on which side he will land. All of this makes for a fun fictional romp, and for most of the book that is what I got. As I read I found myself feeling bad for Jordan, wanting Rowan to become all that he could be, hoping things worked out for Bran and his family. I would say, on the whole, both the characters and the story line worked.  As I said, above, though, there were a number of things in this book that didn't work and most of them, I think, center around the fact that this is the first book in a series. As such, I feel that the author was a bit too ambitious. A number of people have mentioned that the shear number of characters and story lines are confusing. I did not have trouble with that on a large scale, but there were a few things that I felt did not need to be included. For one, the focus on Jordan's mother, Lady Astraea, seemed to be an unnecessary side story. In addition, Sybil's story should have been given either more detail or less. Then there were two characters that appeared at the end of the book that just seemed out of place. They appeared, but there was no mention at all as to what their role was. Knowing this was the first book in a series, you could surmise that they were to play a role in the future, but it would have been better to explain a bit about them, or to leave them out entirely for now. Their presence just added confusion to the end of the story for me.  Perhaps the most glaring thing that did not work for me, though, was the end. The book just ended........I know this is the beginning of something and there is more to come, but the author had just introduced two new characters (well, okay, one was reintroduced) and there was absolutely no slow down or phasing out of the story. I know that authors like to leave series books with a cliff hanger, but the ending of this story didn't even qualify as that, to me. It was as if the author decided that was enough for this book and the next paragraph would be in the next book. It actually caught me so off guard that I did some research to make sure that my copy wasn't missing the actual end of the book. My second reaction was to be frustrated enough that I don't know if I will even read the second book of the series, and up until that point I thought I would.  I have read, and am reading, several series currently. Some of them are young adult and some are not, but none of them have ever had such an abrupt ending for me. Usually there is some sort of wrap up and you can tell that this installment is coming to an end. Basically, if it wasn't for the ending to this book, I would be looking forward to the next one and it would have gotten a 4 star rating from me, perhaps a bit more. In my book, the author needs to do some work to correct these errors before publishing the next installment of the series.  Although I was disappointed in the book, I would still like to thank both the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with the chance to read and review it.
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Weather Witch by Shannon Delany Book One of the Weather Witch trilogy Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin Publication Date: June 25, 2013 Rating: 1 star Source: ARC from publisher Summary (from Goodreads): 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. What I Liked: I liked the IDEA of this book. You all know I'm a sucker for anything historical fiction - which is one of the biggest reasons why I requested this book. But I was sorely disappointed by this novel. It didn't even feel historic. Read on. What I Did Not Like: I don't even know where to start with this novel. I barely finished this novel - it took all of my willpower to convince myself that I was not (and am not) in the habit of not finishing books. I like to finish what I start, and leave nothing behind, so to speak. There were some key elements of the book that I could not stand. The FIVE different plots, which, by the way, NEVER crossed all at one time in the book. The lack of characterization in any or all of the characters was annoying, as well as the fact that I disliked basically all of the characters. Delany never fully explained the terms "Conductor", a "Maker", or even a "Weather Witch" - all huge parts of the book. And I'm not one hundred percent sure why this book is classified as steampunk, because it did NOT feel like a steampunk book, or have most of the steampunk elements. I'll start with the five plots. One plot surrounds our protagonist, Jordan, and what happens to here when she is taken away. Another plot surrounds Rowen, her best friend (and the boy she likes), and what he does to find her. Another plot surrounds Bran, the Maker of the Weather Witches. Another surrounds Chloe, a maid in Jordan's household. The final plot (I hope I'm not missing any) surrounds Marion, a man who used to be under the care of Chloe, before she allegedly killed him and as family (not true). I thought this book was going to follow Jordan and ONLY Jordan. This book is third person, but I didn't expect there to be five plots in this book. Jordan's plot was the primary plot, up until her birthday party. After that, the book splits into five different perspectives (still third person). It's confusing!  Jordan is going to Holgate, where the Maker (Bran) is. Bran is Making Weather Witches, and dealing with the appearance of a daughter he never knew he had. Rowen is trying to fend Catrina (Jordan's scheming friend), and find Jordan. Chloe is falsely charged for murdering the family she used to work for (before she started working for Jordan's family). Marion finds out about Chloe's pending death, and wants to help her, because he knows she is innocent. I'm sorry, but that's too much. None of it makes sense, and none of it has anything to do with the other plots. One plot might tie into another plot, but all five plots make no sense in this book. And here's the thing: THEY NEVER MEET. All five plots never come together at the end of the book. Usually when an author has so much going on, all of it meets at the end of the book or something. So here I am, wondering what Marion's plot and Chloe's plot have anything to do with Jordan or Bran or Rowen. And why do I care about Bran and his daughter? It's great to see another side of Bran, but the whole time I was reading Bran's point-of-view, I was wondering, is this still the same story? Is anything going to happen yet? Basically, the sheer number of plots and how they never intersect just made me mad. I got confused more than once with this book, and for me, that's not easy, for me to get confused. You KNOW the author has made a tangled web of crazy confusion when I can't follow the direction of the book. Bran is the only character that I believe experiences any growth of character whatsoever. We see a lot of his point-of-view, and his slow change brought on by the appearance of his precious little daughter. I felt bad for Bran, because he has an awful job as the Maker, and now he has a daughter. But then I didn't feel bad for him, because he continued to Make Weather Witches. I think that the number of plots made the the development of characterization in this book poor. Had there been less plots, each character that got a plot could have grown and developed more. But Jordan, Rowen, Marion, and Chloe did NOT experience any progression in their character development, in my opinion, Bran is the only one that changes, and in the very end, he doesn't change at all. And someone please please PLEASE explain to me what a Conductor, Maker, and Weather Witch is. And why Delany felt the need to capitalize like, every single word. Well, not every word. But she capitalized words a lot. Delany never gives an actual explanation as to what a Conductor, Maker, and Weather Witch really are. Of course, I can infer, but as I tried to explain what they were to a friend, I found that I could not explain the terms well. That is BAD. If the author cannot explain what key terms in the world of the book are, then how are readers supposed to understand the book? Especially when you add on FIVE confusing plots and zero character development. I don't see how this book is steampunk. It felt like a paranormal read to me. The steampunk part, with machines and whatnot, does not come into play until the very end, when Bran and other characters are on an airship. That's really the only element of steampunk that I saw.  And also, I found the "historical" part of this book not believable. This book could have been set in any time period, modern or historical, for all I know. The speech was not that authentic. In the beginning, I got more of a feel for the historic elements of the book, because of the description of Jordan and Catrina's gowns. But as the book progressed, I had no idea what historical period this book was in - because the world-building kind of dropped off. Can I mention that there is like, NO romance in this book? During the entire book, Rowen rejects the idea of being in love with Jordan. Jordan realizes that she likes him. Before she is taken away, at her party, Rowen is going all out to impress her. But nothing romantic happens, and this book is a flop when it comes to the romance. If you were going to read this book for the romance alone, don't. There basically is no romance. Also, this book was SO BORING. Did I already mention that I barely finished this book? Talk about forcing oneself. On the day I was reading it, I told myself I wasn't allowed to eat lunch until I finished this book. I could have cared less about any of the characters. This book was so dry and so boring that I hoped all of the characters would die or get wounded or do SOMETHING interesting, or anything at all.  This is my first Delany novel. So, I'm not familiar with her writing style. But oh my gosh, the writing style just lent itself to my boredom and confusion. Talk about vague and evasive? Delany explained NOTHING, wrote nothing specific, classified nothing.  The ending... honestly, I don't know what to say about the ending. I don't really get it. The ending is no different from the rest of the book. Nothing really changes! And Rowen and Jordan... what!? Ugh. I don't understand the ending (surprise!), and I don't really care for the ending. I'm finished. I can't think about this book anymore. A total disappoint, especially for a historical fiction lover. I mean no disrespect towards the author of the publisher or the team that made this novel what it is today.  Would I Recommend It: No, oh my gosh, no. I totally regret reading this book. It was a waste of my time, and honestly, a waste of am advanced reader copy sent to me by the publisher. I feel so bad that I didn't like this book, and even worse, because I requested it.  Rating: 1 star. I would rate it lower, but I can't. Hopefully my experiences with St. Martin's Griffin will get better! Because this book was so not my cup of tea.
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
Weather Witch started off with a creepy and intriguing opening. Witchcraft is openly acknowledged in this world. Ever since the big world and the emergence of the New World as well as its rules and laws, witches, specifically Weather Witches, when found, become the property of the 'government'. They are what power all the lights and energy consuming machinery in the New World, from airships, lanterns, to simple automatons. I found the idea very exciting, especially since you all know how much I love books that incorporate magic and witchcraft in them. Also, this book is set in the 1800s so it contains Steampunk elements. However Weather Witch, while strong in the beginning, lost its momentum and my interest as the story progressed.  To be 100% honest, I lost interest in the story of the main lead, Jordan. The synopsis, in my opinion, gave too much away. 3/4 into the book and nothing new happened other than what was told in the synopsis, that Jordan was accused of being a Weather Witch and is not transported to the holding Tanks of where they are all taken to 'Make' and then used as a power source. I kept expecting for more, but I got nothing. The good news is that this book is told from multiple POVs.. kind of like watching a tv show episode where you get glimpses of many of the character's POVs. The ones I mostly enjoyed were Rowen's, who was the gentleman courting Jordana, as well as the Maker himself. I know the Maker is viewed as the antagonist, but with the emergence of his four year old daughter, as well as his love for one of the maids, I couldn't help thinking that he is a product of his upbringing, being that his father used to be the Maker.  I personally felt this book progressed at a snail's pace; I know it is part of a series and I wonder if the author dragged it on to make it an introductory novel. I wished I was able to connect more with the characters, while I did feel a certain connection with the Maker's story, I thought many of the actions of Rowen were a bit ridiculous if not borderline stupid, but he was still enjoyable. As for Jordan, I wished she woke up from her denial earlier and tried to do something, but she was pretty passive throughout most of the novel, only towards the end did she think to try and save herself. All in all, this novel was entertaining but had many flaws that I couldn't get past and give a rating higher than a three. Paranormal fans, as well as historical fiction fans might enjoy Weather Witch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think wheather witch is a really good book! It gives u a trick to the book i like this book because it give description that most books dont have!! It gives u an exciting feeling that pepole want in a book its like trouble maker mixed with a helping hand!! I will so recamend this book !!!! So take my word for it and get this book:3
Brooke-The-Cover-Contessa More than 1 year ago
I want to thank St. Martin's Griffin for providing me with an ARC ecopy of this book to read and review. The first time I saw this cover, I just knew I needed this book, and I hadn't even read the blurb yet! And I knew that Shannon Delany would write something terrific! I was very excited when I was contacted to have been pre-approved on Net Galley! And now I own a paperback copy! Receiving this book for free has in no way changed or influenced my opinion or review. Blurb from Goodreads: 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. First, I must give this book some huge cover love. I mean look at that think, simple yet gorgeous. I am in love with the blue color, the swirling, the girl on the front. It's unique and gives just a hint of what this book contains. And, since I'm a huge fan of Steampunk, it has that hint that I love so much. The cover drew me right in, even before I had an inkling of what the book was about. As for Shannon's writing, well, wow is really all I can say. It's so easy to read. The flow is great. Her descriptions make me feel like I can see her world, touch her objects and feel the emotions of her characters. One thing I really loved is that, even though she had so many characters to develop, she really did it quite flawlessly. I never once questioned who I was reading about. And I love that she chose to do this book in third person. To have the outside eye looking into the lives of her characters and seeing how her world was put together. It's a masterfully woven tale As for the characters, I wanted to be standing right next to each and every one of them. I loved their personalities and development throughout the book. I fully connected with each and every one of them. They are realistic and believable. Jordan is really strong, yet feminine. She can totally take care of herself. She's crafty and she knows who she is and what she wants. At the same time, she has many of the typical teen doubts that come along with that age. Yet, she is confident and certainly mature beyond her years in many instances.  Rowen, well, I absolutely loved him. HIs dedication really intrigued me. When I first saw him and Jordan together, I didn't really feel the connection that they had. Yet as the book moved along, I was really able to see the spark, especially when reading about his character. He is determined, not to mention caring. And he exudes a confidence that helps you realize he will do anything to go after and get what he wants. He is Jordan's protector and will die trying to ensure she remains safe. Bran,The Maker, well, he's evil, but you can tell he has a soft spot. And you know that he is waivers in what he does and what he wants to do. He finds his job to do becoming harder and harder each day.  As for the other characters, well, they lend a great deal to the story, but this review would go on forever if I went into each and every one of them. Just know that they all play an essential role in the tale that is told. While I really loved this book, I did have a hard time getting into it at first. All the world building was a lot to take in and I had to give myself pause a few times to absorb it all. I had moments where I was confused and found I had to back track a bit to catch back up. But once I got into the story, I could not put the book down. The story is full of intrigues, evil, goodness and a budding romance which I know will prove to be of great interest in the future. I'm a huge lover of steampunk, as well, and this book has all the right elements: automatons, a paranormal element, airships. And you get the dark sinister elements of the world right from the get go. In a way, that part reminded me a bit of a dystopian read, the government in charge of those they consider to be weather witches, and using them for the powers they have while banning them from society at the same time. They essentially are slaves. All in all I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to the sequel. I was left with a cliffhanger ending and I need to know how it works out! Well done Shannon!
BooksAplenty More than 1 year ago
Don't get me wrong, Weather Witch has some great elements. I loved Rowen, a teenage boy who knows how to break the rules just enough that he doesn't actually get in trouble. Meggie, the creepy little girl character, was wonderfully creepy and made my insides squirm. And the subplot focused on bringing people back to life - Whoa! Unfortunately, these terrific elements don't do enough to redeem Weather Witch of its problems. The biggest problem in Weather Witch is that Delany's magic-based early America is grossly underdeveloped. Here are a few examples: * Apparently there are weather witches. But after reading 336 pages, I'm still not quite sure what a weather witch is. I gather that it has something to do with the weather. I'm not sure what, though, or how exactly that works. Or why they are bad. Or if there are different types of weather witches. I know nothing! * Society is organized into a strict hierarchy. Jordan is a "Fifth of Nine." Apparently that's pretty high in the hierarchy. How high is it? I don't know. What difference does that make for her? I don't know. * There are scary magical creatures. They are called merrows. They live in the ocean. They eat horses. The existence of these creatures seems totally random to me. How do you explain that everything else about the natural world is the same? * Witches have to be Made. What does that mean? I don't know. How is a witch made? I don't know, but I think it's painful. Apparently there are tools used for "being Made" and they are sharp. I was never clear if the witches were tortured, raped, or injured. Something was happening, I just don't know what it was. Overall, the plot of Weather Witch had the potential to be interesting, but the world of Weather Witch made the entire text super confusing. The frequent switching among the HUGE cast of characters didn't help.
BookHounds More than 1 year ago
MY THOUGHTS ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT Jordan is almost seventeen and at her birthday, her biggest worry is how she will look at her party. Her best friend, Catrina has been helping her prepare and as they gossip about the boys who will be there, Jordan only has eyes for her childhood sweetheart, Rowen. Even though Rowen is a few steps under her social status, he would still make an acceptable marriage for her. In this alternative world of Philadelphia, the only thing in life that matter is where you are on the social ladder. The higher up the hill, the safer you are from the Merrow creatures in the water that cause havoc and death to any unfortunate to come close. This world is powered by witches who can harness the weather and energy around them. To be a witch is to be of the lowest class. So when the Council shows up at Jordan's birthday party, they are certain to find a witch among the attendees. When it turns out Jordan is the one they seek, her whole world falls apart. Jordan is immediately carted off to Holgate, a place where people are pretty much tortured to transform them into witches that control the weather and conduct their magical power into electricity. When she meets the Maker, Bran, she declares over and over that she is not a witch. Finding inner strength that she didn't know she had, she makes friends with her prisoner roommates while she waits for Rowen to save her. As time goes on, she realizes that she is the only who can save her. Bran has his own dark, secret past that I can wait to get more detail about his background. The story switches back from these characters points of view and really adds to the story. The story is full of intrigue, evil versus good, and the wonderful possibility of romance all built around magical elements with a bit of steampunk delicately woven in. I finished this rather quickly and there was no way I could put it down until I was finished. It left me breathless and wanting more. I haven't read anything this compelling in a long time! Now, the long wait for the next installment. If you enjoy Cassandra Clare, Jana Oliver, JK Rowling, you are going to adore this new series. Parents: This is pretty safe for even the youngest of teens and I bet even mature middle grade students would enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He chuckled and smiled. "Heh, someone doesn't wish it known."