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Alissa

Alissa

Ninth City Burning

Ninth City Burning - J. Patrick Black

I admit I didn't even read the blurb of this book, I chose it purely out of Justine's review and recommendation. It simply panned out great! I'm not even a sci-fi reader, I usually prefer my fantasy technology-free, thank you very much. But the idea of "military science fantasy, no alpha tendencies and a slight romance element" sealed the deal for me. So, this is an interesting and ambitious debut book, a diamond in the rough as the saying goes; for example the mijmere are really exciting! The pacing instead needs some work and a trimming of the perspectives wouldn’t hurt, either, while the Valentines could use some fleshing-out. Also, I feel I'm familiar with most of the specifics here, but hey, the result is engaging. I’ll be watching out for this author!

 

Molded into one edge of the fountain is a gigantic chair, known as Macduff

How could I not love this book?

 

There are several viewpoints. At first I was confused, I was just warming to Jax's (which reminded my of Marie Lu's Legend) when I was catapulted into Naomi's totally different reality and when I was starting to settle, then bam! It’s Torro's turn, a factory laborer with yet another lifestyle. Then again comes a PoV from Jax's entourage. So mhhh okay, I can follow, even if -shifts asides- every narrator has different knowledge, beliefs, background and style. That’s actually one of the strengths of the tale. I quickly got caught up in it, feeling the injustice of what happens to the protagonists, the dread even. No time to get accustomed though, another PoV come unexpectedly, I had my theories, but anyway, I was compelled to go on and then some because I got truly hooked.

Maybe it’s just me, but some situations and devices reminded me of the anime Evangelion, assorted studio Ghibli movies and Upside Down. And a game of chess :). I like the contradiction of the world the author depicts, without giving the plot away, I can say it's a mix of modern and ancient and both elements are jealous about their secrets. The training parts are cool, too. All the characters are interesting and besides the protagonists, the cast is pretty wide. I liked the way the characters' assumptions played against them, and I loved the worldbuilding. There are twists after twists, some unfortunately are not easy to follow and made me wonder (the Force uh? Why not Yoda too?), but it was nonetheless a satisfying ride.

 

3.5 rounded up to a large 4 because the second half of the book builds great momentum and the battle scenes are truly immersive.

 

Had there been time to bicker and scheme and maneuver, it’s likely anyone with a remotely reasonable claim to the IMEC would still be bickering and scheming and maneuvering, but fortunately—for the purposes of expediency, anyway—the world was about to end, and so the debate only lasted about three hours.