Jen Williams’ previous series, the Copper Cat Trilogy, quite rightly received buckets and buckets of praise. Williams had created not only interesting characters but also a novel trilogy and an interesting world which handled fantasy tropes in a most interesting way. Her new book, The Ninth Rain, marks the start of not only a new story, but a completely new world. Could it be as good as The Copper Promise and her other previous books? Has the author done it again?
In short, yes, absolutely. The Ninth Rain is easily Williams’ best work so far, as the writer has a strong, clear and confident style that makes for compulsive reading. The world is also more intricate and more involved this time round. The book first introduces us to a charming pair of adventurers. Lady Vincenza ‘Vintage’ de Grazon is a wealthy and very experienced lady who has made it her life’s work to uncover the mysteries of the world. She’s aided by the pale and interesting Tormalin the Oathless, who belongs to a once proud race of near immortal beings who due to tragic events now occasionally needs the odd bit of human blood to live.
The world itself is scarred from various invasions by creatures known as the Jure’lia. These monsters come down from the skies to cause havoc and death in great events called ‘Rains’. They are horrific, insect-like fiends that hollow out humans and turn them into murderous drones. Fortunately they’ve not been about for some time, but they’ve left a great many artefacts and dotted them around the world.
This is a land in which women with supernatural power are locked away in nunnery-like prisons called the Winnowry. The inhabitants of this place (and what it means for the rest of the world) are a major plot point, so we won’t spoil it, but suffice to say, it features witches on giant flying bats, which is just cool.
Yet again, Williams has created an addictive and coherent fantasy world filled with all sorts of deliciously interesting things within it. The setting is diverse, different and intriguing. The characters feel real and you want to know more about their lives with every turn of the page. This is fantasy adventure at its very best. Go check it out.
THE NINTH RAIN / AUTHOR: JEN WILLIAMS / PUBLISHER: HEADLINE / RELEASE DATE: 23RD FEBRUARY