Weather Witch was a delightfully complex surprise. I’d never read anything by Shannon Delany, and this seemed different from her other books, anyway, so I had no idea what to expect. I discovered a fantastically strange alternate past America, ruled by a wealthy elite that exploited the poor and punished, yet depended on, all things magical.
An alternate history version of Philadelphia is the main setting for this drama/adventure/steampunk/fantasy story. It’s a bit confusing at first, but that’s because the reader is thrown right into the world with little introductory exposition. I absolutely love this style of writing – I do not want the author coddling me or explaining how the world works. I want to figure it out for myself! I figured out that witches and all those with magic are exploited as power sources – electricity alternatives – for the New World. They are slaves to the city’s power grid, magic drained from them in painful processes orchestrated by one man, whose position has been passed down through generations.
When a girl is mistakenly branded a Weather Witch at her 18th birthday party the story really gets going – she is sent off to be a magic slave, her best friend (who is also in love with her!) must dash off to rescue her, while the Conductor is struggling with his morality and Philadelphia’s society is thrown into upheaval by the return of a magical murderer from the past. There is so much going on in this story, it is like a hurricane of magic and intrigue that sweeps you up and carries you off into an imaginary America that you wish you had grown up in.
Weather Witch was a great book that I highly recommend, and I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series!