This month I’m participating in the Wyrd & Wonder read-along of The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams. I’m really excited the gang behind Wyrd & Wonder decided to put this one on because I’ve had the book for over a year and this finally gave me the push I needed to read it. The Ninth Rain is the first book in The Winnowing Flame trilogy. I’ll put the book blurb at the bottom of the post if you want to know more. Wyrd & Wonder is an online collaboration and celebration of all things fantasy in the month of May. I’ll add links about it at the bottom too.
On Thursday’s from now till the end of the month we’ll be posting responses to questions about the book. The questions come from the book gods (or in this case I think it’s blogger friend imyril). I’ll try my best not to include too many spoilers, but it IS a read along and at some point there’s bound to come a time where I can’t avoid it. Hopefully if you’ve read the book you’ll get some enjoyment out of this. If you haven’t read the book I hope it sparks some interest for you and you’ll decide to pick it up.
OK, enough of that…on to the questions.
1. ‘You travel with an Eboran, and you explore the Wild, and you’re looking for things that might kill you. None of it makes sense.’ – What are your first impressions of Lady Vincenza ‘Vintage’ de Grazon?
A lady Indiana Jones…but without being a tomb robber. Because let’s face it Indiana Jones is really a tomb robber but he hates Nazi’s so he’s cool. He goes in grabs stuff without thought or care about the site or the culture around him just to add an artifact to the collection in his museum. Vintage on the other hand is out to actually do research for knowledge’s sake; knowledge that may one day help save the world. That’s kinda cool. Now, maybe as I read a little more I’ll realize she IS a tomb robber but right now I don’t feel like she is.
It didn’t take long for me to start feeling like Lady Vincenza ‘Vintage’ de Grazon was going to be a character I absolutely love. A middle-aged woman of color who is basically fed up with living up to expectations of her sex and station at home and is all like “fuck it…I’m taking my toys and going on an adventure, you silly boys can stay here and tend the farm.” Oh…and her farm is really a winery! I like wine! She’s smart, really into books, and makes wine. Cool as hell. And on top of that she’s like my age. Right now I’m really loving characters who are my age going on adventures in fantasy books. Mostly this appeals to me because I can pretend in my mind that I could do it too and that you don’t have to be 18 (or younger) like most other fantasy stories.
And look, I know we are only 140 or so pages in and there’s a lot of book left but, but I also get the feeling that Vintage is just this really calm, cool, and collected woman who will be a great leader because she “gets” people and how to interact with and motivate them, whether they are little kids or centuries old elves. At the same time I feel like if you start to act out of place she’s gonna put you back in it. That’s a hunch…we’ll see.
I also like the way she talks. I can’t help but think of her with a British accent. British accents are cool.
2. Not your traditional Elves, eh: how do you feel about Ebora and the Eborans?
Vampire Elves. That’s really all I can think about them. I mean I know they aren’t, but they kinda are. Blood drinking (if not sucking) elves. That’s just f’ing scary. And let’s face it Elves should really be scary to begin with right? They are nearly immortal creatures with all kinds of skills, abilities, and knowledge, and in pretty much every fantasy story they are also very good at warfare. Now lets make them drink blood and have blood red eyes. F’ing scary.
Oh…and that opening scene with Hestillion and the little boy…that got dark quick. No remorse or even feelings of guilt what-so-ever. Right off the bat we see these aren’t just haughty, aloof, and stoic elves. These are something different.
As for Ebora I’m imagining what Rome must have been like in the early medieval period. Much of the great ancient city still there, but with a vastly dwindled population and much of it in ruins or abandoned. The image of Hestillion and other Eborans roaming the mostly empty buildings and palace, clinging to what little remains of their civilization, but not willing to give up just yet.
As for Tormalin the jury is still out. Is he an exception to the rest of the Eborans, or is he just the least bad of them all? I’m hoping for the former and I’ll allow for the nuances of his background and culture. I’m thinking I’ll like him and he’s just at that point where he gives no fucks either and is just doing what he needs to do to make it through another year before the Crimson Flux takes him.
3. Parasite spirits, mutant animals and really big grapes: would you live safe behind city walls, or would you make your home in the Wild?
City walls. No doubt. Cities have all the things you know? I love visiting the country and experiencing the Wild but I’d probably go stir crazy. So yeah city life is probably more up my alley. But especially in this world. I know it seems the walls may not stop parasite spirits, but they do keep the crazy mutated animals at arms length so that’s a plus. Hopefully I’d just have found a city far enough away from any behemoth sites that I don’t have to worry about the parasite spirits. The every expanding creeping death of the Wild though? Well maybe I’ll die before it reaches our town. Or hopefully there’s this really cool archaeologist type woman who will figure it all out and save the day.
4. In a nightmarish world, a few bad dreams are to be expected. Or are they? How much are you reading into them?
Right now I’m reading into them. A lot. I feel like it’s expected and there’s too many unsubtle hints that there’s SOMETHING important about them. What that something is I don’t know right now. Is it a good omen or bad? My guess is bad. Because ya know, the book is kinda dark at the moment. So bad fits.
Well that’s it for now. Have you read the book? If so what are your answers to the questions? Answer in the comments. If you haven’t read the book but are now intrigued let me know.
Want To Join In?
It’s not too late to join in the fun! If you’d like to dive in with us DO IT! We’d love to have you. Or at least I would.
Right now fellow readers include:
- imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
- Lisa at Dear Geek Place
- Annemieke at A Dance With Books
- Lauren at A Fictional Fox
Our reading schedule is as follows:
- THURSDAY 9th: Beginning through end of Ch10
- THURSDAY 16th: Chapter 11 through end of Ch23
- THURSDAY 23rd: Chapter 24 through end of Ch36
- THURSDAY 30th: 37 to the end
You can find more on the discussion on the Goodreads group page here.
You can follow along with Wyrd & Wonder all month on Twitter as well. Find their Twitter handle @wyrdandwonder. There are two read-alongs and a slew of other ways you can participate including reviews, giveaways, challenges, features and more. See more about what all’s going on in imyril’s post Quest Log The First: the party gathers.
The Ninth Rain, by Jen Williams
“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…” – Blurb from Goodreads.