Read-along: The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams (weeks 3 & 4)


Banner by imyril of There’s Always Room for One More

You all get by now that I just can’t be on time for anything, right? It’s the 31st of May, the last day of Wyrd and Wonder month, and here are my thoughts for the week three and four questions as posed by imyril of There’s Always Room for One More and Lisa of Dear Geek Place … because I get there eventually.

Oh, and you can find my answers to the questions posed in weeks one and two here.


Now, more SPOILERS folks, be warned…


Week 3: Chapter 24 to Chapter 36 inclusive

An island prison. A religious leader. A witch-powered steam train. Giant bats. I think it’s time we talked about the Winnowry! What do you think creates a fell-witch? Where does their power come from? Why are they all women? Is the Winnowry a despicable organisation profiting from controlling women or keeping the world safe?

What creates a fell-witch? I’ll be blowed if I know. But that voice in Noon’s head did say “you were crafted for war, just as I was” and that makes me all kinds of interested to find out more about the history of the fell-witches. And the Winnowry. Even though she’s escaped I don’t feel like Noon is completely free of them just yet. And I wonder what secrets will be turned up about their beliefs later on.

I’m also intrigued by this sudden power and skill that Noon has developed after drawing energy from a parasite spirit. I’m thinking that maybe the parasite spirits are the ghosts of the war-beasts? (They only turned up after the Eighth Rain, which is when Ygseril ‘died’, so they’re cut adrift somehow?) Whatever they are, Noon is suddenly the absolute badass I was hoping she’d be (with none of the hard work and no training montage? Denied!) and her showdown with Agent Lin was fabulous!


“There’s a world in there.” Ravening insectile hordes, battle moons (or Death Stars, if you prefer), fertilizer to drive you Wild – and this week we venture inside a Behemoth. What do you make of the weird and creepy world of the Jure’lia?

Oh man! I am loving everything about the Jure’lia (when I’m not cringing in disgust)! They are so marvellously creepy and gross. The inside of the Behemoth was awesome, and the suggestion that it’s not as dead as everyone thinks is tantalising. I can’t wait to find out more about what the crystal thing is and what it’s used for and where the world inside it is – is it a real place? And why do the Jure’lia have this incredible fertiliser stuff when their weird maggot creatures consume all living material and ‘varnish’ the land in their wake? Where’s the sense in coming to a planet only to destroy everything? Is there more to their life-cycle that we’ve not been told about? I NEED to know.


Where do you think Vintage has gone? … And what do you think is going on with Noon?

I think Vintage has gone to find Nanthema. She’s worked out what happened to her somehow now that she’s seen inside a Behemoth.

And yeah, I think Noon is possessed by a war-beast. I don’t know how that’s going to play out though …


Two siblings determined to save their god. What do you think is going to happen in Ebora?

I have no idea. Something awful I guess, as this is only book one in the trilogy. I don’t feel like it’s a good idea of Tor’s to use the Jure’lia fertiliser fluid on Ygseril (not a scientist, is he?). I mean, this stuff sure makes stuff grow, but it also seems to warp things too and a warped god doesn’t seem like a particularly good idea to me. If the thing Hestillion is talking to even is the Eboran god. I’m not so sure anymore …

Oh-ho, bad things are coming …



Week 4: Chapter 37 to the end

The revival of Ygseril does not quite go according to anyone’s plan … were you surprised by what happened in the Hall of Roots? For that matter, what do you make of Hestillion’s chosen course of action?

I wasn’t totally surprised, no. I think Williams had already started to lay out clues that Hestillion was talking to something other than Ygseril. I can’t help but feel terribly, terribly sorry for the tree-god though, having laid himself on the line for his people and then to have those very people undo what he’d tried to achieve. And the hurried Ninth Rain, his last ditch attempt to give them something to defend themselves with, even after their spectacular cock-up … I really hope Ygseril comes back by the end. Not for the Eborans (ungrateful swine the lot of them), not for the humans, nor the war-beasts, but just for himself. A huge tree with consciousness is too awesome a thing. I don’t mind if everyone else dies (except Vintage) as long as Ygseril lives.

As for Hestillion, I don’t know what to make of her decision. I think that maybe she’s more whacked than I realised. You’ve got to have more than a few screws loose to choose the Big Bad over your own god (the god you were working so hard to revive) – it makes no sense to me.


We also learn Vintage’s reason for leaving so suddenly, and there’s a reunion in her cards! How do you feel about her departure now that she’s been reunited with Nanthema?

Hurrah for her reunion with Nanthema! I’m so glad that Nanthema wasn’t the trope dead lover whose memory drove Vintage on. While this is a pretty bleak world in many ways, (the last of Vintage’s journal entries in the book about Sarn being poisoned, and there being nowhere to put the poison without tainting more of Sarn was bleakly bleak) Vintage’s warmth and curiosity have been something to focus on and if she were to lose her motivation I think the story would fall apart. So I am very happy to see her reunited with Nanthema and I’m looking forward to finding out more about the Eboran and seeing the two of them puzzling things out together.


The Ninth Rain has fallen, and the truth about the parasite spirits is revealed. What’s your take on Noon having bonded with a war-beast?

It’s so cool!! Seriously, I have no words to describe how excited I am about Vostok and Noon.

It’s also quietly satisfying to find out that I was right about the parasite spirits, even if I didn’t know why it’d happened until it was all explained. And what a fascinating idea – there’s going to be all these beasts waking up soon not knowing who or what they are, how on earth is that going to play out?


Any other thoughts, reactions, theories about what follows?

What the hell, Hestillion?

Darn it! Tor and Noon are an item?! Already??! Disappointed. Although *hopeful half smile* now that Noon is bonded with a war-beast, maybe she won’t have time for any more hanky-panky? (I hate to admit that I actually find their relationship quite interesting … don’t tell anyone that though, OK?)

Mother Fast and Noon’s ‘reunion’ wasn’t anything like I imagined it would be.

Aldasair and Bern – more more more! I really like these two. (And just maybe they really like each other???) Please don’t let them die just yet, (because this is what George R R Martin has given to the world: a terrible uncertainty about the survival of our favourite characters!)

And why the heck didn’t I order the second book already? Idiot.


Finally, this read-along was an absolute blast. And Wyrd and Wonder month has just been the most fun. Thank you for having me along!



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