Monday, 15 May 2017

Review: The Ninth Rain

The Ninth Rain
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

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... 

As you guys know, I loved the Copper Cat trilogy that Jen wrote, and if you've seen the front of the last two definitely know! I am so ready for a new trilogy from her, so I eagerly dived in to this book. I was intrigued by the synopsis and after loving her first trilogy I expected great things! I wasn't disappointed. 

My interest was piqued from the beginning, the letter extract at the beginning and the wording of it intrigued me, and I eagerly turned the page ready to get lost in a new world, and ready for story telling time. Jen weaves her magic from the first page, conjuring the atmosphere and painting the scene so you're sucked in fast. I was completely gripped by the book and lost in the world of it. I could picture each setting vividly, each setting had it's own atmosphere. The Winnowry was dark and dank...cold and unfeeling. Ebora eerily quiet and decaying, like a lavish, gilded mansion that's fallen in to wrack and ruin. The relics/abandoned ships are creepy and otherwordly. Each atmosphere makes you feel something, and pulls you further in to the story. 

The prologue really draws you in and sets the scene and the tone for the book. I immediately wanted to know more about the world of the book. The Eborans tree had some Norse mythology echoes around it, and I'm intrigued to see if there's going to be any connections. Especially as there's a crow/raven on the front. 

I really love Jen's storytelling and her writing, it's not just the settings that are rich and vivid, the characters are too. She creates them so perfectly you can easily picture the characters, and you connect with them and they have interesting histories and you want to know more. They're always so dimensional and I really loved the new group! Jen has very rich imagery and I love it! The history to the world is also rich and intriguing, as is the world itself. The plot is complex with threads woven together and full of intrigue and little hints and clues for you to try and put together. 

Speaking of our new I said...I loved them. We have Lady Vincenza "Vintage" de Grazon. I liked her. I liked her a lot. And I knew I was going to love her from the first moment we saw her. She's the leader of the group, and she doesn't really care what anyone thinks of her. She does her own thing. Vintage is obsessed with the Jure'lia a force of invaders that have tried to take over the world again and again and have always been pushed back by the Eborans and their war beasts. Vintage investigates the ships and artefacts left behind by the Jure'lia in a bid to understand how they work and what the deal is with the creatures they attract. She's intelligent and kind and totally my favourite. 

Tormalin is an Eboran hired by Vintage who's fled his home because he doesn't want to hang around there waiting to die from the Flux like everyone else. His people are dying out after their tree dies taking it's sap with it. In a bid to save themselves they went a little bit vampire...and that had it's consequences. Tor is very old, but also has a tendency to act like a bratty teenager here and there. I actually quite liked him, I loved his banter with Vintage and he cares deep down....past all his preening. 

Our final group member is Noon. I wasn't sure what to make of her at first, she's a witch. A Fell-witch, and she's basically locked up in a prison for witches that's sold as a way to keep them safe but really they're used to make a drug that their jailors get rich on. It's more like a Victorian Asylum where women where admitted for "their own good" and stupid reasons. It's quite frankly chilling. Noon can absorb any living things life force and use it to create Winnow fire. I liked this magic system and it created some interesting scenarios and debates among the characters! 

We literally have an Eboran who's hated by most and known as a bloodsucker and has some mild vampire vibes going on. A complete nerd and scholar who doesn't give a damn what people think but cares for her companions. And an escaped convict who can suck out your life and set things on fire. It's totally awesome and I loved the dynamics between the group and the banter and how they all worked together. They weren't really comrades for most of the book, but there would be moments when they where for a little while, or when you could see one of them cared about the others. Two of them hated each other on first sight which was interesting to watch play out! I totally ship Tor and Noon as well, I'm not going to lie.

I have to say, there are some brilliant creatures in this book, with the promise of more in the next book and I'm intrigued to see what other creatures we'll get. So far we've got giant bats, and guys...I need my own Fulcor bless her. And we have a dragon called Vostok. I love dragons. I really love dragons. Tor might have a new creature friend too. 

The book has intriguing letter extracts and diary extracts scattered throughout to provide an interesting background and history to the world and characters, that provides the most amount of information...but in an interesting way and without info dumping. It also makes a nice break from the narrative! 

Towards the end, I started to have a certain picture of the enemy in this book, and I don't know if it's just me, but I'm not sure if we're about to have a Sci-fi vs. Fantasy battle in the next two books. It really kinda felt like it but it might be my own mental image. I really felt like the Eborans and everyone in the world of the book where the good old fantasy characters, and the Jure'lia are the alien-ish creatures trying to takeover. I'm intrigued to see which direction this is all going to go in! 

The Ninth Rain is a brilliant start to a new trilogy by one of my favourite authors! There's action, adventure, danger, romance, humour and intrigue. Plenty of life threatening situations, and plenty of characters to flat out hate. Jen's storytelling is as usual brilliant and pulls you in to the world she's created, and the characters and plot keep you glued to the page. I'm incredibly excited to see where this is going to go after the ending of this book! 

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