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.
GENRE: High Fantasy, Adventure
STARS: 4 Stars
BOOK 1 OF WINNOWING FLAME TRILOGY
The Ninth Rain has won best Fantasy Novel in British Fanatsy Award in the year 2018 and Best Blurred Boundary in Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards in year 2018.
CONVINCING YOU TO READ THIS IN 6 WORDS: Found-Family, Adventure, Dream-walking, Winnowfire, Epic battle, Legends & Myths
“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.”
After the Eight Rain, Ebora is the ghost of what it once was. The kingdom of Ebora was one of the most beautiful, prosperous and mighty kingdom of Sarn. Eborans were known all around not just for their immortality but also for their defence against the Jure’ila. But as the span between the Eighth Rain and Ninth Rain increases, the problem within Ebora does too.
Tormalin having spent enough of his days in the palace of Ebora in an echo of what it once was decides to leave Ebora and live the rest of his life drinking and laying with women. On one of his travels around, Tormalin meets Lady Vintage and ever the enthusiastic woman ends up hiring Tor as her swordsman. Vintage had left her estate and followed her passion. She travelled around on her adventures, trying to find answers or anything that may or may not be dangerous. And on one of their yet another life-threatening or rather learning experience as Vintage would say, they meet Fell- Noon.
While generally, Noon sleeps dreamless- one particular dream shakes her and she escapes the Winnowery. Being a prisoner since she was 11, Noon finds the world outside exhilarating yet scary. Vintage took the Fell-witch under her wing and slowly the three of them continued their adventures. But one particular life-threatening adventure gave Vintage the answers she was looking for and she went on her separate path leaving Noon and an injured Tor with each other.
While their life-threatening adventure gave Tor answers to questions unsolved for centuries, it gave something to Noon as well. Something Noon could not understand. Tor and Noon make their way to Ebora with the hope that the Tree God will live.
But when Tor steps back in Ebora, everything around is different. And they realise they have stepped into something much bigger. The Ninth Rain is in motion and Ebora will never be the same again.
“Any institution that claims to keep women locked up for their own good should be watched very close, in my opinion.”
The Ninth Rain of The Winnow Flame Trilogy by Jen Williams is unlike any other fantasy series that I have read. Amazing world-building, found family, epic battles, adventures- what else do you want? The Ninth Rain is the first book in the series and thus I found it slow in the beginning. But that is expected, especially when we have so diverse world-building. Williams created such a beautiful world with rich culture, unbelievable history and a world full of possibilities. It is hard not to fall in love with Sarn.
While it takes me some time to get engrossed in the story, it is the characters that I started falling in love with. Each character could not be more different than the other but they are so well written, full of characterisations, a little ego, vulnerabilities, their virtues and flaws; altogether. Tor- reading about him was so interesting because one minute you would see him drinking and the next killing with his sword, worrying about mud on his boots. Vintage, with all her curiosity, ready to take down the world. I am sure, if she had her way, she could easily rule everywhere, with her crossbow and books. And Noon. I loved her so much. How despite being isolated, she slowly eases her way back and re-learns the way of life. How despite everything, she is sharp, intelligent, quick to think and damn fierce.
Almost all the chapters begin with a small extract which is part of Vintage’s record. These small extracts show us a glimpse of the world around us, the background, slowly easing us in the world and folks, forcing us to ask questions and somehow become more curious. By the time we reach the end, there are questions and glimpses of answers.
And the ending. Oh. The glorious ending. While there was something that I could predict the weight of unpredictable surpassed my prediction. What an amazing ending. I honestly, started reading the second book right away.
There is something different and magical in Jen Williams writing. High Fantasy isn’t an easy genre to write but it really shows her abilities that she could easily engage us and at the same time, show a different world altogether. This was my first book by Jen Williams and I have heard a lot about The Copper Cat series which will be in my redder and her new thriller debut Dog Rose Dirt (Pre-order here.)
“Don’t be afraid of who you are.”
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One thought on “The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams — Book Review & Summary”
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