The Ninth Rain

You ask me to start at the beginning, Marin, my dear, but you do not know what you ask.

Yoohoo, traditional fantasy alert! Although.. our unlikely heroes this time are very unlikely and not all that heroic. Not yet anyway, but of course this is the first book in a series.

The Ninth Rain plays out in a pretty much post-apocalyptic world. There’s the memory of darkness and despair, but some are living through it more than others. There’s an ancient race that should have been the heroes but fell, there’s humans that – like humans do – just toil on. And then there’s a threat of things that might just come again.

Yes, there’s the burly male, the scared little young woman with more power than she can control and the eccentric bringing them all together, but they don’t fit their clichés exactly. Combine that with a luscious world building and it matters very little that this plot has been done before. You get that comforting ‘Down the fantastic rabbit hole’-feeling in return.

The Ninth Rain, Jen Williams, Headline 2017

Afraid

The hunter’s moon, a shade of orange so dark it appeared to be filled with blood, hung fat and low over the mirror surface of Big Lake McDonald.

This is certainly a book that lives up to its title. I stopped reading it after seven at night because I was afraid of the high amount of nightmare fuel I was offering my subconscious.

Afraid tells the story of an invasion on a small town in Wisconsin, inaptly named Safe Haven. At first it seems like a cruel military accident gone wrong, men made into monsters and dropped on American soil instead of the Axis of Evil where they “should” be. But the randomness doesn’t fit and it turns out there is a reason why Safe Haven is slowly annihilated.

The thing that scares me most about Afraid are the humans. Humans who think they can tinker with other people to make them flawless. Humans who don’t care about how much death and disaster they leave behind. Humans that take great joy from hurting and maiming. I like to believe that we have enough moral stability to say that we won’t have robocops any time soon, but this book definitely showed the scariest side of such a future.

Afraid, Jack Kilborn, Headline 2008