"Jen Williams crafts a wonderfully full world with a tight plot and fantastically realised characters."
Title: The Ninth Rain
Author: Jen Williams
Reading The Ninth Rain was my first introduction into the literary world of Jen Williams. I was aware of her previous trilogy (The Copper Cat) and friends of mine raved about her writing, so when (in preparation for the release of the sequel to this book) The Ninth Rain was released FOR FREE on Kindle I snapped it up and delved into its (computerised) pages without a seconds notice.
To call The Ninth Rain a part of the Fantasy genre would be a disservice to this book. Yes there are mystical elven-like beings, talk of dragons, and a witch with a penchant for pyromania; but simply labelling this as Fantasy takes away from the expansive universe that Williams is creating in this, the start of her new trilogy.
Seamlessly mixing her fantasy with a sense of dystopia and touches of sci fi, Williams has crafted a wonderfully thought out world that wraps around and pulls you in faster than enchanted vines powered by space technology. Admittedly it took me longer to read than it should have (blame my late night gaming sessions and the fact that this book sits comfortably at more than 540 pages long) but in the time it took me to finish never once was I bored or questioning the authors intentions, an impressive feat considering the mix of genres and the multiple POVs found within.
Amongst the mish-mash of surprisingly cooperative genres sits a tight plot and a collection of characters ranging from the lovable eccentric to the broody bad boy. Despite the initial profiles of each character feeling a bit overused they all quickly shed their labels, becoming fully realised individuals that, in addition to being the driving force of the narrative, kept me hooked to the book to the very last page.
Despite my love of Williams' creations I was not an outright fan of the pairing that occurs within, it felt obvious going in and was the only part of the book that I successfully predicted. This is probably because I spend far too much time consuming media and am personally a bit fed up of the obvious heteronormative pairings seen in most things produced in this day and age, I just hope there is a pay off to this particular coming together of characters later in the series other than the need to include a sexual relationship.
All in all The Ninth Rain was an absolute joy to read and had me itching to read the follow up, which I now thankfully own. In addition to being a wonderful person (I have had the pleasure of 'talking' with Jen across Twitter) Jen Williams is a brilliant writer, one that is easily added to my list of favourites.