The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy #1)

Hold onto your fantasy hats, broom sticks and dragons and any hope you had for not falling in love with Tor, Vintage and Noon.

The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now it’s 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...

Jen Williams “The Ninth Rain” is unlike anything I have ever read. For a fantasy lover, it’s one of those rare books that pulls at your heartstrings but also at the knowledge that it’s okay to be imperfect, inquisitive and slightly mad.

Chasing dreams of finding treasures beyond understanding, Vintage is on a mission to understand the depths of humanity, while our charming; yet self-loving Tormalin wants nothing better than to escape the world he knows. He is satisfied with drinking wine and loving women, nothing wrong with that; except when your life span is more than a few hundred years, life itself become a blur and the meaning of it is distorted by the need to ‘feed’. The unlikely friendship forged with Vintage sees Tor take on ‘jobs’ no ordinary Eborian would do, but then again, Tor is not like his ancestors and he’s not sure whether that’s a good thing or not. Vintage, on the other hand, is the perfect combination of wit, sassiness and is able to cut down a person with a simple phrase. Rather savage, but also delightful in so many ways. The friendship between Vintage and Tor is one that should be admired and viewed from a new pair of eyes. And then, throw in a new witch that has been kept as a prisoner because her powers are too deadly, you have one epic journey into what makes a humans, human.

The intricacy of the human world overlapped with the fantasy realm is one that is unique and that will leave readers wondering what wonderful new adventures our three heroes will embark on. But like so many tales, everything is not as it seems. If the Jure'lia returns, the world of men, the immortals and what it means to be alive will be tested to the limit. I can’t wait for the second book to come out.

Jen Williams’ characters are so relatable and I’m sure you’ll spend your days wondering how fantastic it would be to have a conversation with Vintage. How beautiful Tor really is, not just aesthetically, and what wonderful secrets Noon is keeping. And if you should ever find yourself in a situation where the world doesn’t make sense, pretend you’re Vintage; always look beyond what is in front of your eyes, search with your intuition and then, perhaps you will find the answer. Just don’t take life too seriously, that’s Tor’s take on it and if you find yourself helpless, defenceless, remember the power is always within you to change the world around you; just like Noon.

'An original new voice in heroic fantasy' Adrian Tchaikovsky

9/10 One of those rare books that pulls at your heartstrings

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