Sci-Fi/Fantasy

ARC Review: The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams

The Ninth Rain (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #1)


Title: The Ninth Rain | Series: The Winnowing Flame #1 | Author: Jen Williams | Publisher: Headline | Publication date: February 23rd 2017 | Num. Pages: 544 | Genre: Fantasy

5 stars – Another brilliant world of beasties and trios with soul

Many thanks to the publisher Headline & Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review


Synopsis

Jen Williams, acclaimed author of The Copper Cat trilogy, featuring THE COPPER PROMISE, THE IRON GHOST and THE SILVER TIDE, returns with the first in a blistering new trilogy. ‘An original new voice in heroic fantasy’ Adrian Tchaikovsky

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…


Review

The Ninth Rain is the first book of a new trilogy from my new go-to author Jen Williams. As in her previous books, Jen Williams creates a world like no other, a world where witches, vampires (of a sort) and giant bats coexist to an extent; a world where gods existed and massive war-beasts once lived and fought, where parasitic beetles are the enemy.

I invite you all to most heartily buy this book, read this book, pause and read it again and again.

Once again Jen Williams has created a trio of characters to love in similar veins to her Copper Cat trilogy, though different in their individual way:

  • Noon – a fell-witch from the plains imprisoned in the Winnowry for her crime of being born with power. 
  • Lady Vincenza ‘Vintage’ de Grazon – A human scholar with a love of all things Jure’lia, a constant hunt for knowledge and cash to splash. 
  • Tormalin the Oathless – an Eboran mercenary trained in the ways of The House of the Long Night.

Three brilliant characters that each bring their own special flair to this book. Tor is witty and sarcastic, Vintage is much the same but show her eccentricities and has a heart of gold, Noon originally so frightened comes into her own on the journey she shares with Vintage and Tor. Another perfect trio of characters.

The plot for this book resolves around the Jure’lia- or worm-people- who came to Sarn and waged war; the Eighth Rain came from the Eboran God Ygseril, a silvery birth of war-beasts who fought off the Jure’lia and their Behemoths and then passed on themselves. Since the end of the Eighth Rain the war-beasts have been extinct and Ebora started to die.  

The book follows Vintage and Tor on their journey through Mushenka and the rest of Sarn in pursuit of knowledge of the Jure’lia- eccentric explorer Vintage’s Poison of choice. They enter the Wild and come across Noon, an escaped fell-witch masquerading as an agent of the Winnowry and from then on their journey becomes a lot less regular and and lot more interesting!  

Lots of fire! Lots of action and the sweetest romantic creation I’ve read in a long time – a minor bit of romance that does not detract from the overwhelming fantasy that is this book.

Jen’s world building skills are akin to no other, her cities are ancient but with a modern flair, her enemies disgustingly brilliant and savagely evil, her heroes full of charm and heart. The writing style sucks you in and doesn’t let you go until long after you’ve hit the end of the book and leaves you wanting more. 

There are no words strong enough for me to describe how utterly brilliant The Ninth Rain was – not just the story the name comes from but the overall storyline. The characters, plot, balance between good versus evil and everything in between – outstanding. 

A great read with heart and soul and epic beasties. I highly recommend this book. 

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