Ninth City Burning #1
by J. Patrick Black
Published on June 6, 2017 by Ace
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
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For fans of Ender's Game, Red Rising, and The Hunger Games comes an explosive, epic science fiction debut...
Cities vanished, gone in flashes of world-shattering destruction. An alien race had come to make Earth theirs, bringing a power so far beyond human technology it seemed like magic. It was nearly the end of the world--until we learned to seize the power, and use it to fight back.
The war has raged for five centuries. For a cadet like Jax, one of the few who can harness the enemy's universe-altering force, that means growing up in an elite military academy, training for battle at the front--and hoping he is ready. For Naomi, young nomad roaming the wilds of a ruined Earth, it means a daily fight for survival against the savage raiders who threaten her caravan.
When a new attack looms, these two fledging warriors find their paths suddenly intertwined. Together with a gifted but reckless military commander, a factory worker drafted as cannon fodder, a wild and beautiful gunfighter, and a brilliant scientist with nothing to lose--they must find a way to turn back the coming invasion, or see their home finally and completely destroyed.
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I think this might be the first book I’ve read involving aliens.
And it wasn’t too bad. I think what struck me first was that Ninth City Burning seemed to have its own unique edge on the whole alien business. I’m not all that familiar with alien sci-fi, granted, but I liked how it brought in more fantastical elements, different dimensions, the various points-of-view drawing together this vast world.
But that’s where it started having some issues. There’s a fine line when it comes to character perspectives. Too few (when using multiple) can sometimes limit the world view, depending on how large of a world you’re creating, but too many and it gets cluttered. This book fell more on the latter end of the spectrum and I think it would have gone better to step back and break the world down into smaller parts, exploring those in richer detail. I only recall a few of the PoVs used which just shows me the others weren’t adding anything memorable.
Much like the characters, the world is blown up in full detail and I was ready to zoom out. Too many storylines, too much detail. Ninth City Burning felt like it was trying to be an epic fantasy in the sci-fi genre but didn’t have the length to really warrant the heavy-handed descriptions nor the character development to expand the cast in a way to make ALL the PoV characters meaningful.
That said, I did enjoy parts of it. The first part, especially, hooked me initially and I kept a decently strong interest up until about a third of the way through. From there, it slowed down a bit and the ending became a chore. Yet I ultimately enjoyed the world, the story though it didn’t quite shine through as much as the world, and some of the characters. This seems like the kind of book (and I don’t say this too often) that would do well as a visual medium, where all those world-building elements are represented on the screen and the story can come into better focus. After all, the premise is fairly simple: alien attack. I just wanted more depth to it.
Not bad. Not great. Not sure if I’ll read the sequel.