I loved Jen Willliams’ The Copper Cat trilogy and didn’t think it was possible she could write anything else that would knock the trilogy off my top fantasy reads … but she has! The Ninth Rain (the first in the Winnowing Flame trilogy) is a world I lived and breathed and didn’t want to end. It’s a mix of sci-fi/fantasy so if this is a genre you read, you must get hold of a copy!
Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Headline (13 July 2017)
Format: Kindle Edition
The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the realm of his storied ancestors falls to pieces – talk about a guilt trip. Better to be amongst the living, where there are taverns full of women and wine.
When eccentric explorer, Lady Vincenza ‘Vintage’ de Grazon, offers him employment, he sees an easy way out. Even when they are joined by a fugitive witch with a tendency to set things on fire, the prospect of facing down monsters and retrieving ancient artefacts is preferable to the abomination he left behind.
But not everyone is willing to let the Eboran empire collapse, and the adventurers are quickly drawn into a tangled conspiracy of magic and war. For the Jure’lia are coming, and the Ninth Rain must fall…
Tree god Ygseril, once the heart and protector of Ebora lies wasted and broken after the last attack from the Jure’lia (the Eighth Rain). Eborans are dying, Hestillion is trying to wake the protector but Tormalin wants to see the world before he dies so goes off to explore leaving her to deal with the deterioration of their culture. Vintage, mid-life explorer, sets off from her family estate to see if she can find out more about the Behemoths and the parasite spirits that were left behind from the Jure’lia and worm people after the Eighth Rain (with more than one reason for needing to find out). Noon, fell-witch, desperate enough to escape her captivity, crosses paths with Tor and Vintage in the Shroom Flats and Vintage offers her a job. All our characters in place for the tumultuous time ahead …
Once again, the world building from Jen Williams is awe inspiring. The different tribes and the politics, fell-witches, Eborans and their history is seamless. The settings are amazing – in Ebora, Sarn, the Wild, and the Winnowry (not used for the best purposes but how I loved the whole concept!). The Behemoths have a key part to play in the story and they’re a horror story in their own right in the way they work when linked to the Jure’lia. Just seeing what was left behind from the Eighth Rain caused fear and nausea for me. Perfect.
There’s so much I could talk about – dreamwalking, the House of the Long Night, Hestillion in the netherdark. So many scenes elicited a strong response in me. My notes are littered with ‘magnificent’ ‘fascinating’ ‘OMG’ ‘amazing’ (in fact I wrote amazing three times for one scene).
The Ninth Rain isn’t just about a quest. It’s about people and interaction, friendships formed, love in all its guises and the unexpected. My need for an emotional connection was fulfilled with several of the characters. The dynamics between Hestillion and brother Tor/Tor, Vintage and Noon/ Tor and Noon/Aldasair and Bern are entertaining and in some, subtle undertones running beneath the facade.
I loved the pace. The story didn’t seem over 500 pages! The settings switch up between Hestillion in Ebora on her quest to wake Ygseril and the trio of three on their quest. Despite laying the foundations for the following two stories to come, at no time was I bored (first stories in trilogies can be slow can’t they – but the Ninth Rain isn’t). I’m in awe of Jen Williams’ creativity.
The ending was page turning so even though I didn’t want the story to end, there was no way I could slow down! Parts of the ending wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I need to have answers to some questions. What will happen with Bern the Younger? Who’s Fulcor’s allegiance to? What happens to Tor’s contracts? Will Nanthema stay with Vintage? What happens to Hestillion? Will Ygseril come alive? Will Aldasair take on a different role? How will the Jure’lia queen come back? I can’t wait to see where the bonding will lead us!
Connect with Jen Williams
I read The Ninth Rain on my Kindle but publishers Headline also sent me a paperback copy (thank you Headline!) so I’ve decided to offer the paperback in a giveaway for one of my UK readers to experience The Ninth Rain for themselves (sorry, it’s quite heavy which is why I’m posting out to UK only).
Entry via Rafflecopter below. Please read the Terms and Conditions before entering.