The Ninth Rain won the Best Fantasy Novel trophy in British Fantasy Awards 2018; this is a totally well-deserved victory.
On Goodreads, you’ll see that I put my co-blogger’s name as the one who recommended this book to me; do know that for the past two years, there were actually many readers who have told/asked me to read and review not only The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, but also William’s debut series: The Copper Cat trilogy. I’ll get to reading The Copper Cat eventually, but for now I’m so into this series, and let me just say that from the experience of finishing this book alone, I already know I’ll be reading any book that Williams published. This book is approximately 550 pages long and I finished it within two days; it’s been months since I felt this compelled to read a high fantasy novel at this pace.
The Ninth Rain is the first book in The Winnowing Flame Trilogy by Jen Williams. The great city of Ebora has lost its glory and wealth, now that the city and its people are on the verge of oblivion, Tormalin the Oathless—one of the last surviving citizen of Ebora—accepts Vintage’s offer of a job as her bodyguard in her adventures. If you’re interested in knowing more of the premise, I suggest reading the official blurb on Goodreads/Amazon instead. I’ve mentioned earlier that the genre of this book is high fantasy, but I’m honestly not too sure which genre would be the most apt to classify this novel. Williams did a fantastic job in mixing sci-fi and fantasy to tell a uniquely refreshing and yet familiar tale. It took a quarter of the book for me to get into it, but once all three main characters storyline has joined, my god… I was completely hooked. I can’t remember the last time I read 300 pages in a single day and this book did it for me effortlessly.
“Any institution that claims to keep women locked up for their own good should be watched very close, in my opinion.”
A huge part—superb storytelling aside—on why this book became so addictive to read for me was due to the characters; the characterizations were tremendous and the main characters were super easy to root for. Vintage reminded me of a female version of Indiana Jones. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fan of Indiana Jones franchise; I found them to be okay and I failed to see what’s so special about them. However, this wasn’t the case with Vintage; I found her character to be charming. Then, we have the Fell-witch, Noon. At first, I thought she would be the weakest POV to follow, but I couldn’t be more wrong. Halfway through the book, her storyline and Tormalin were hands down my favorites. As someone who’s quite obsessed with being organized and clean, I have a terrific time reading Tor’s well-placed obsession with his clothes; it was super amusing that a vampiric-elf who is extremely skilled at swordsmanship put his clothes and how he looks as his top priority. Also, I’d like that to add that Williams’s characterizations and developments for her female characters were spectacular.
“There is, it seems to me, a certain type of man who is terrified of the idea of a woman wielding power, of any sort; the type of man who is willing to dress up his terror in any sort of trappings to legitimise it.”
There’s just continuous fascination in this book which was provided through its rich world-building. Honestly speaking, I’ve been getting fatigued from reading medieval-European fantasy setting. I have nothing against it—I love it, actually—but this particular setting is everywhere; stumbling upon them more than ten times in a row can get very tiring. The intricate world-building that Williams has created in this book/series was a delightful feast for my imagination. I’m serious, the author has some morbidly vivid imagination. Creatures conjured out of nightmares, a giant tree named Ygseril—most likely inspired by Yggdrasil—that dropped fruits that became war-beasts, then giant bats as transportation, behemoths, and many more intrigues that I suggest reading firsthand. I simply need to read more of this world.
“Eboran war-beasts: dragons of all shapes and varieties, griffins with their snowy feathers flecked with black, giant bird and bat-like creatures with four legs, enormous armoured foxes, giant winged-wolves and cats.”
The Ninth Rain was an amazing and captivating start to a trilogy; simple as that. I’m putting everything on my TBR on the back-burner until I’m done binge reading this series. I have a really good feeling that The Winnowing Flame Trilogy will become a new and long-awaited addition to my list of favorite trilogies of all time.
If you need any more reason to give the author’s books a go, she called herself a “100% Dragon Age trash”. As a fan of Dragon Age—especially DA: Inquisition—I’m not even ashamed to say that this awesome self-proclaimed title was one of the reason why I gave her book a go.
You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)