Not a review of The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams

This is not a review of The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams, because there are rules on how to review and this doesn’t follow any of them.

Sebastian, my writer half, and Rain, my reader half, recently read The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams, which is the first book in The Winnowing Flame Trilogy. They finished it, which was quite an accomplishment given the pandemic wrecked their concentration.

Rain: We finally finished reading a book. We should do something to celebrate.

Sebastian: We can’t go out – we’re still in lock-down.

Rain: We could drink.

Sebastian raises his eyebrows and his half-empty glass of wine.

Rain: Fine. Let’s talk about The Ninth Rain.

Sebastian: Given our state of mind, this isn’t going to be a fair review.

Rain: This isn’t a review. It’s a not-review. I thought we’d done this enough that you got the idea.

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Life is terrifying

No matter how old you are, life is terrifying for one reason or another. Here are some of mine.

When you’re young, you don’t know anything and that’s fine.

You get older and start to believe you know some things. But you look young so no one believes you know anything.

You get older some more and realise all those things you thought you knew–actually you have no idea about them. Or possibly they made the world more complicated while you were watching Red Dwarf.

At some point when you (again) don’t know anything you start to look old enough that people think you know things. They listen when you speak and assume you’re correct.

Then you’re in trouble.

I’m not putting numbers on the age when these things happen. When my sister looked old enough to know everything, she was six. For the average stranger, perhaps this happens around forty. Or twenty. Or sixty. Or a hundred.

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Lessons from my trunk novels

I’ve written trunk novels that should be kept from the world for its own good. Doesn’t mean I can’t read them, laugh, and maybe learn something.

I expect most people who write long enough end up with a collection of novels (or pieces of novels) that will never see the light of day. I have.

I love my trunk novels. I love how cringeworthy the earlier ones are, full of purple prose, plotless plots, nonsensical worlds, and blatant plagiarism from my favourite authors.

I love the progression of goals: save the village, save the kingdom, save the world. Because what else could the goals possibly be?

And there are so many Mary Sues.

Golden Horse Summer

It’s a fantasy novel so there has to be a magic sword. I know! I’ll have them find one lying by the side of the road, because that makes sense. And the sword’s purple. Come to think of it, the main character’s eyes are purple too.

Purple is the best colour.

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Sebastian and Rain lament lock-down and their inability to read

Like everyone else living through the pandemic, Sebastian and Rain are shaken by what’s going on. A banana might be involved.

If you’ve been around a while, you might remember Sebastian and Rain, my writer half and my reader half. Usually they rant or rave about books and occasionally throw grapes at each other, but it turns out they have opinions about other things as well.

I’ll hand over to let them explain.

Sebastian: I should start by saying this was not my idea. I wanted to have a nice literary discussion about a book.

Rain: Do we ever have “nice literary discussions” about books?

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Unhelpful explanations of things you didn’t need explained

Read on for entirely unhelpful explanations of computers, windows, and cars. Because I’m here to make your life better.

Yesterday on Twitter, someone asked me to explain coffee. Okay, they probably weren’t asking me in particular, but I was there and I took it as a personal challenge.

I happen to know a thing or two about coffee, having had a long, slow-burning romance with it.

Did I succeed in explaining it?

I assume so. The person asking hasn’t been seen since.

I had so much fun explaining coffee that I’ve decided to explain some other things for your delight and edification. Enjoy.

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