Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black Review

Centuries of war with aliens threaten the future of human civilization on earth in this gripping, epic science fiction debut…

We never saw them coming.

Entire cities disappeared in the blink of an eye, leaving nothing but dust and rubble. When an alien race came to make Earth theirs, they brought with them a weapon we had no way to fight, a universe-altering force known as thelemity. It seemed nothing could stop it—until we discovered we could wield the power too.

Five hundred years later, the Earth is locked in a grinding war of attrition. The talented few capable of bending thelemity to their will are trained in elite military academies, destined for the front lines. Those who refused to support the war have been exiled to the wilds of a ruined Earth.

But the enemy’s tactics are changing, and Earth’s defenders are about to discover this centuries-old war has only just begun. As a terrible new onslaught looms, heroes will rise from unlikely quarters, and fight back.”

  Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black is a solid sci-fi novel that does enough to shake the familiar sci-fi novel. With some solid characters and an extremely detailed world, Ninth City Burning should satisfy any sci-fi fan.

There are a lot of major characters in this novel and several POV’s that switch throughout the book. It kind of reminds of those big disaster movies like 2012 or Independence Day where it focuses on several different people in order to make the movie much bigger and increase the stakes. For the most part, it succeeds in that retrospect. Each POV depicts a perspective of the war from different parts of society from the workers to the front lines. In my opinion, there were way too many POV’s. As a result, some characters such as Imway or Kizabel (who I felt was just there to spout exposition and explain the technicalities of the technology) feel underdeveloped, which is a shame considering all the main characters were quite fun to read. It was nice to see how the war affected all of the people rather than just saying it. If Black cut some of the POV’s, I would have felt more attached to the other main characters. That’s not to say they were bad, in fact, it’s the opposite. The other main characters were well done and evolve throughout the book, but, as I said before, I was not as attached to them as I thought I would.

Now the world Black creates is fantastic. He goes above and beyond in terms of world building. He puts great detail into this world, often expanding on the world and its lore. Unfortunately, it suffers from telling and not showing. There is too much exposition at times in the book mainly from the main character Kizabel. It seems as if she is only there to explain how things and certain technology works. The plot of the novel seems to be standard, but Black takes it into some nice places that make it stand out from other sci-fi novels. The action was well done, but the final battle felt a bit anticlimactic.

Overall, with some solid characters, a nice plot, and a detailed, fantastic world, Ninth City Burning stands out from the sci-fi crowd.

Rating: Must Buy on sale (Must Buy for sci-fi fans)



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