Read-along: The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams (weeks 1 & 2)

 

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Always late to the party? No kidding! I’m just about managing to keep up with the reading for this read-along, and I’m making notes, naturally, but posting as well? It’s just not happening. So, here are my thoughts on the questions set for both weeks one and two, posed by imyril of There’s Always Room for One More and Lisa of Dear Geek Place respectively.

Sorry I’m late!

Also, watch out – SPOILERS!

 

WEEK 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?

She’s forty years old (as I will be this year, so immediate soft spot), she carries a crossbow, she’s a woman of colour, she’s a scientist and an adventurer, she’s utterly charming, she wears (what I can only imagine to be a kickass) hat, and her swear word of choice is “buggeration” *snigger* … what’s not to love about Vintage?! I have developed the biggest crush on her and she was initially the only thing keeping me reading when it seemed like this was going to be a much bleaker fantasy than I was expecting.

 

Not your traditional elves, eh. How do you feel about Ebora and the Eborans?

Creepy. Disturbing. Darkly fascinating. I’ve never come across blood-sucking elves before. Hestilion has that whole cold, beautiful, pitiless thing going on (kiddy-killer that she is), while Tor is a bit more relatable. I don’t know which of them is the unusual one: Is Hest mad as a bag of spiders, or is Tor oddly human-friendly?

Ebora itself, or rather the palace that Hest haunts, is lovely and spooky all at once. The image of this near-empty, dusty place built around the corpse (?) of their god Ygseril, inhabited only by a few dying Eborans and roaming wolves and Hestilion in her embroidered silks is gorgeous. I particularly loved the scene between Hest and the confused Aldasair – that gave me shivers.

 

Parasite spirits, mutant animals and really big grapes: Would you live safe behind city walls, or would you make your home in the Wild?

My imaginary self would be out there with Vintage and Tor kicking ass and cutting a swathe through the Wild. I am completely taken with the parasite spirits (did anyone else think of the Phantoms from the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within movie for a moment when they first encountered these spirits? No? Just me then), and I can’t wait to see some Behemoth remains (it took me a while to realise that the corpse moon was a partially destroyed Behemoth caught in Sarn’s orbit … at which point I completely lost my s*** because, OMG! A fantasy world that has been invaded by aliens??!! SO COOL!!! (!!!!!))

My real self would be cowering behind the thickest, highest walls with my eyes tight shut, rocking back and forth chanting “there’s no place like home … there’s no place like home”.

 

In a nightmarish world a few bad dreams are to be expected. Or are they? How much are you reading into them?

I’m reading everything into them. People who live in fantasy worlds never have meaningless dreams. Fact. I mean, come on! Fell-Noon and Novice Lusk (and Aldasair) just happen to have the same dream about the Jure’lia returning to Sarn? Oh boy!

 

Other first impressions, wild assumptions, or guesses about Where All This is Going:

I’m pretty sure Agent Lin is going to be a scary character. She makes me very, very nervous for Fell-Noon.

I lovelovelove Fell-Noon. And Fulcor! (Another first for me – an awesome bat sidekick! Please let there be more Fulcor!) I can’t wait to see where their story goes.

The whole Winnowry/ Drowned One/ Fell-witches/ akaris thing is fascinating – I’m interested to see where that’s going to go. How did it all begin? How did Fell-witches come about? Is this just an elaborate bit of scenery or will this all play a part as the larger story unfolds?

 

WEEK 2

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?

Definitely fascinating. I love that Vintage’s history is being filled in in this way because her tone is so wonderful and it feels like being able to see behind the curtain a little. I like that we’ve started to get tiny glimpses of what Marin must be like too, from her letters to him; I have a secret hope (not so secret anymore) that we’ll get to meet him at least once before the trilogy is done.

It’s of no consequence, but I keep thinking back to Vintage’s brother Ezion saying to her “You have got yourself all agitated” when we first met her at the beginning, and thinking how he can have had absolutely no idea who his sister really was. And wondering, if he read her letters and diaries like we’re doing, would he have been able to appreciate her more?

 

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 my goodness – I have no idea! I wonder if the two have become connected somehow, or if they cancelled each other out. Then again, the Jure’lia queen is speaking to people in dreams, which suggests a certain amount of strength, whereas Ygseril is, to all intents and purposes, dead, even if Hestillion has seen a glimmer of life. So maybe both were damaged by the confrontation (?) during the Eighth Rain, but Ygseril more so. I really don’t know. I’m along for the ride on that one.

 

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?

She’s definitely biding her time, which doesn’t bode well for anyone in her vicinity, but I don’t know what for (because I don’t speak crazy-murderous-semi-immortal-bitch). She seriously creeped me out when she appeared to be all thankful that the plains people were offering to help the Eborans, and then was crowing that they’d “fallen for it” – fallen for what?

 

Make love, not war. Or, if your Tormalin the Oathless, do both. How do you feel about the particular mix of Tor’s skills, and what do you make of his interactions with Noon so far?

Yeah, Tor’s getting more interesting the deeper in we go. I just thought he was a bit of a philanderer at first, but now it’s clear that he has an arrangement with a chosen few, which sort of makes him a male courtesan. It’s a pretty interesting take on things. I’m not sure why he drinks so much. And I like him best when he’s crotchety, like when Vintage gives Noon some of his clothes, and when he gets blood on his shirtsleeve.

His interactions with Noon have been pretty light so far. I’m interested to see if they will gain understanding from each other, as members of two historically opposed peoples. I hope it doesn’t lead to a romance between them. That’ll piss me off. But I can envisage them becoming fighting partners of some sort (and let’s face it, with their skills that’d be badass!), and friends, I hope.

 

Other thoughts/speculations/theories:

What did I say about Agent Lin?! Scary, scary lady!! And you just know we haven’t seen the last of her, don’t you? I was really impressed with her winnowfire skills though. I like the idea of Noon learning to kick ass with her own winnowfire and there being a final showdown where she totally beasts Agent Lin … *all my fingers crossed*

Also, what happened to Noon before the Winnowry? She can’t become a badass angel of winnowfire vengeance until she’s made peace with her past, methinks.

Finally: The. Wild. Is. Awesome. The mutant bear that attacks them? (Annihilation anybody?) Awesome!!

 

You can read my answers to the questions posed for weeks three and four here.

 

 

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18 thoughts on “Read-along: The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams (weeks 1 & 2)

  1. Well, sounds like you’re having a hey ho old time! It’s always nice when you click with a project and or thing (whatever do you call a readalong like this anyway?) and are excited to actually participate.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had to skim this readalong post because this book is on my reading list – but I just wanted to chime in and say I wish I could have joined! As far as I know though, this series doesn’t have a US publisher yet and I’ve put myself under a book buying ban so no Book Depository for me either 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No US publisher? Wow. I didn’t know that. I hope that gets remedied as this is a seriously cool epic fantasy – I haven’t had this much fun in a while.
      (Do you want me to post you my copy when I’m done reading it? … Just a thought … I hate being under self-imposed book-buying-bans, but there’s always a way round it. 😀 😀

      Like

  3. YES to both The Spirits Within and so much to Annihilation YOU ARE NOT ALONE 😀

    Also, increasingly, Alien of course. Mysterious vessels of goop in Behemoth ruins? WHAT CAN POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

    Glad you’re enjoying the ride 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Yes, of course Alien!! I hadn’t cottoned onto that at all! 🙂 Have managed to do quite a bit of reading this morning and that nearly intact Behemoth on Esiah’s land is very Alien-ish isn’t it?
      Man, having so much fun with this I can’t even! 😀

      Like

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