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 (I’m late this week) 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 (this week that would be goddess Lisa). 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.
Vintage’s journal entries at the start of each chapter seem to be filling in more backstory for our heroine, but what do you think of this approach to providing information about her? Are these entries fascinating, or distracting?
I tend to like these kinds of blurbs at the beginning of chapters. They offer an effective way to info-dump without it feeling like an info-dump and also allow the author to do some world building along the way. But they have to fit the book. In this case they are a fantastic fit…you have this world traveling adventurer writing letters to her nephew (or her old flame, it alternates) and it really feels like you’re getting a peek into her travels through the correspondence. But so far it’s only one way. All we are seeing are letters from Vintage to someone else, and they are from a collection which is something not usually done until someone dies. Which leaves me wondering WHAT HAPPENS TO VINTAGE? And does how far in the future does this collection exist? So yeah a little bit of narrative tension built in there.
As for the letters themselves I’m enjoying them. Apart from the additional world-building and information therein they hint at relationships. On one hand there is the super cool adventuring aunt writing to her nephew Marin. I can’t help to think how cool it would be to get mail like that as a kid. Then as he grows (and maybe decides to follow in her footsteps?) it becomes something of a mentoring lesson. The other letters are to Nanthema…an Eboran and past love. There’s tension there too because so far we don’t know what became of Nanthema. What became of that love? It seems obvious much of who Vintage is today stems from that relationship.
Oh…almost forgot some of these are journal entries. So more word-building and hidden info-dumping, but still raises the question of what happens to Vintage if we are reading her letters and journals some time in the future?
More details emerge about what happened at the end of the Eighth Rain… What do you think happened to (or between?) the Jure’lia queen and Ygseril?
Oh jeez…I hate to speculate at this point. It seems like something epic had to happen. Like were both the Jure’lia queen and Ygseril banished to another realm or plane? Was the battle between them that epic? If so should there be more passed down about it in legend and song? Something was definitely different about that Rain. Why did the parasite spirits only appear after it? Why does Ygseril seem dead? This is an area I’m trying really hard not to think too much into and just let the story flow. The book is building to something here and I want it to hit me full on.
And now it seems that the god-tree still lives. Or does it? What’s your take on what Hestillion is doing, and what do you think she’s going to do with her surprise guests?
As I was saying above, the tree seems dead…and then maybe it doesn’t? Hestillion appears to tap into something, but what? Is it Ygseril or something/someone else? But let me just say Hestillion just seems evil. She’s one of those characters who seems evil, then seems nice, then when her evil reappears it’s doubly so because she seemed so nice a minute ago. She’s manipulating something on a grand scale and my guess is it can only end badly.
If I have to guess now about what she’s going to do I’m going to go with mass sacrifice. And it will be bloody. And I’m also wondering what kind of result we are going to get when she and Tormalin finally meet again.
Make love, not war. Or, if you’re Tormalin the Oathless, do both. How do you feel about the particular mixture of Tor’s skills, and what do you make of his interactions with Noon so far?
Oh I’m enjoying Tormalin’s character more and more. A little sullen, a little wounded, and yet a big heart buried under it all. He definitely seems like one of those characters who once he lets you in and counts you as a friend will always have your back. At least I hope so.
As for his “skills,” I love that Williams decided to use his character for this. Too often it is a female character who is cast in this light and she then comes off as a courtesan (if aristocratic) or a prostitute (if she’s poor). Now maybe we could see female characters not depicted that way, but in this case having a male character be the trained lover is an interesting twist. And add to that he’s a vampire elf (see my post from last week) and it makes it even more seductive. I think this makes for a really cool character when you contrast it with his martial abilities.
Now, what to make of his interactions with Noon. Right now I’m hesitant to hope they get together. That seems too easy with the tension between them. I’d almost prefer a mutual respect and close friendship to develop. Love to be sure but not necessarily of a sexual nature. I think the potential is there once they get past cultural and historical hatred…which you know is always easy.
Well that’s it for week two. Sorry for the late posting. 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
- Sarah at Dragons and Zombies
- Nikki the Bibliophibian
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.