Jen Williams’ books are some of the most impressive work in modern genre fiction. Her combination of epic scale, gleeful invention, nuanced emotional character arcs and occasional gigantic stone mechs punching things VERY hard means they read like nothing else in the field.
Her novels are heavy on invention, light on their feet and grounded in the sort of characters you either recognize or aspire to be. This is fantasy that deals with massive issues and events, but does so from a place of mildly crumpled, fundamental hope. Heroism with blood on its knuckles. Swashbuckling where people miss the odd jump. it’s brilliant and if you haven’t read her Copper Cat books, go, now and do exactly that.
It’s the first book in her new series, it’s arguably the best thing she’s done to date and it is SO MUCH FUN.
Vintage is an archaeologist. And adventurer. And sort of vineyard owner. And Vintage has a plan. Playing like a badass, way more relaxed female Tony Stark, she’s been quietly exploring crash sites around the world for years. Vintage is looking for something, she’s convinced she’s going to find it in the remains of the last attempted invasion. And she may be right…
Tor is a mercenary, a man who stumbles forth from his dying, walled off people intent on getting something done, especially if it involves killing people. Brilliant, broken and astoundingly good at violence, he’s a natural choice for Vintage’s bodyguard and far more closely connected to her quest than he first thinks.
Noon has vast power and tiny control. Terrified of her abilities and herself Noon stumbles sideways into Vintage and Tor’s world and finds answers she never expected and the past she ran from all coming together at once…
This is post-apocalyptic, near renaissance fantasy. It’s a world that’s built up around the remains of the last one, taking a breath between catastrophes that are far closer together than it likes to think. It’s a world filled with inequality and violence and hope. And bats. It is one of the most original, disturbing, compelling worlds I’ve ever seen characters venture across and its matched only by Jen’s expertly drawn, massively nuanced characters and the exuberance with which she throws increasingly horrible things at them.
The Ninth Rain is one of the best fantasy novels of the century to date. It’s inventive, extraordinarily fun and funny, dark, compelling and compassionate. You absolutely should read it, especially at this price.