“Ninth City Burning” by J. Patrick Black

Cover of titular bookBook: “Ninth City Burning” by J. Patrick Black
Series: Ninth City Burning #1
Published by Ace Books on 6th June, 2017
Genres: Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Dystopia, Science Fiction
Format: Paperback, 536 pages
Rating: 4/5⭐
Source: Blogging for Books (received for free in exchange for an honest review)

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.

I feel weird, because rarely do I read a book worthy of four stars from me. I usually have a lot of issue with them or something! But this time, I must’ve gotten lucky or something—even if it was a long book.

I usually don’t read books more than 300 pages, because my attention span and care for it usually stops by then—or rather, I get bored of reading the same thing. It’s like with movies. I barely got through Pearl Harbor and Avatar, and I prefer TV series over movies, because that’s just a lot of energy and attention. I have a hard time hanging on to such important details for so long. 😳

But I really enjoyed this book. I had a difficult time making it through the fourth and last part, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

Instead of my usual listing of the things that annoyed me, I’m going to list what I admired about Ninth City Burning instead, which contributes to why I am so impatiently awaiting the release of the sequel.

Character development is 💯

Told from multiple points of view, Ninth City Burning has six main characters: Jax, Naomi, Torro, Rae, Vinneas, Kizabel, Imway. The chapters vary in size, but every word in this book is important to either story development or character development—and to exclude even the parts which may seem boring would result in confusion and/or fail to adequately portray a particular character. All are connected, something I love immensely—I once created a name map similar to what Paige made in The L Word to see if, based on two characters who’d never meet naturally, I could link complete strangers together based on people they knew. Pretty soon, I’d linked more—and after that, this Great Big World seemed smaller than I thought.

Because the six POVs read from, when they interact, new intel on members of the six is relayed—Kizabel’s hair color/appearance, Rae’s personality to others, and Imway’s level of masculinity1 to name a few.

There’s not a lot of romance.

I will say I’d have loved to witness the budding romance apparently going on between a set of hetero members through the six, if only because I dislike being told about people’s feelings and when romance seems to happen out of the blue. I’d also have preferred to read it happen, because I’d gathered the impression that she would’ve instead fallen into a romance with another lady, because they’d spent more time together, but WHAT DO I KNOW?

(That, plus the POV of Torro lacking in proper punctuation in many instances—to the point that it got difficult to read 😫—is why this book is rated one star less than five. I’m hoping Torro’s POV was written like so to illustrate the kind of education the settlements received. But I digress.)

On the other hand, I enjoyed how romance was not the utmost focus, like I experienced in reading The 100. In this case, survival was the more important thing—romance hardly crossed anyone’s minds!

‘Twas beautifully written. 😍

Aside from Torro’s POV, the writing was beautiful.

I loved Kizabel’s POV most because she used footnotes2 to explain various terms created post-Common Era3.

I…don’t have anything else to say about the book for fear of spoiling it. 😫

Some of the praise on the book compares it to other things, but this is what it felt more like to me and why:

  • Harry Potter (magic)
  • The Hunger Games (settlements, sheltered, yearly drafts; each settlement has a specialty, which all gets shipped to the Front4 and the Cities5)
  • The Fifth Wave (aliens, lack of knowledge regarding the appearance of those aliens)
  1. Trying not to spoil things!
  2. Like this. 😉
  3. Common Era (CE) is the era before the war against Romeo and the Valentines, the names of the aliens chosen due to their first attack being on Valentine’s Day—yeah, it’s definitely not a holiday after that…
  4. Of the battle, past several other parallel universes
  5. There are 12 total.

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