The second of our two Read Alongs for Wyrd and Wonder has my attention today, as we’re discussing the first section of The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams!
NOTE: Spoilers may follow for chapters 1 through 10 of this book.
The Ninth Rain is the first book in Jen Williams’ second fantasy trilogy, The Winnowing Flame. Following the success of her Copper Cat Trilogy, she’s back seemingly doing what she does best: throwing a motley crew of Interesting People together – and headlong into adventure, peril, and complicated relationships.
With spectacular monsters and dangerous magic to spice things up.
I am excite. Let’s discuss The Ninth Rain.
‘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?
Something tells me I want to be her when I grow up.
Digging a little deeper, it is so nice to see a woman taking the main character stage who isn’t Young And Uncertain. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy self-discovery character arcs as much as anyone but sometimes, especially if you’re beyond your twenties like me, it’s also really nice to see older women getting to have adventures. Some real life experience can often do wonders for one’s supply of fucks given, and by that I mean one tends to have fewer of them. Vintage clearly has very few. When we meet her, she’s not taking off on an epic quest to save mankind or rescue a lost love or any such thing. She’s simply tired of being treated like the fragile elderly lady she is quite clearly not by her exasperated, well-meaning but entirely oblivious relatives. So she gets up and goes, and I say well done.
Also I am pretty sure she could make Indiana Jones cry.
Not your traditional Elves, eh: how do you feel about Ebora and the Eborans?
First off, my general stance on all things Elvish: they work best when they’re not shiny and nice. And these ‘elves’ are definitely NOT shiny and nice. (This is possibly arguable in Tormalin’s case. Possibly.)
Ebora is creepy af and I would not want to take a holiday there. (Translation: I approve! From a safe distance.)
Having met Tormalin and Hestillion at this point, I also have to note that something about them reminds me of Nuada and Nuala in Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. I can’t help picturing those two when I think of these characters. Does anyone else get that vibe?
So, yes. These elves will not help you travel safely through the woods, heh. And I’m OK with that! So to speak. There’s obviously a struggle for survival going on here, at least where Hestillion is concerned, and I’m really interested to see how that turns out and what trouble she’s willing to cause.
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. Oh god, city walls all day long please. I admire nature and I love being surrounded by it, which is good considering I live in Scotland and it’s usually no more than a stone’s throw away no matter where you live, but I have my limits. Vast swathes of nature that are actively murderous? Nope. Nooooope. No thank you, I’ll stay where there are stone walls and safety measures, thank you very much.
In a nightmarish world, a few bad dreams are to be expected. Or are they? How much are you reading into them?
Well, these bad dreams are obviously An Important Element, right? That’s how these things work in fantasy novels. They may not seem very important, given the aforementioned nightmarish world, but trust me – Noon is going to find out she was right to be afraid of them. I’m placing my bet here, right now. The dreams are important. Somehow.
Want to join us?
That’s it for my takes for this week, but if you’d like to join the read along there’s still time to get in on the action! You can find our schedule and state your intent at the Goodreads group page for this read along, and don’t forget we’re also running a second read along for Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning, and you can check that one out here!
See you next week…