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Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black

Ninth City Burning (edition 2016)

by J. Patrick Black (Author)

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1359139,898 (3.4)3
"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"--… (more)
Title:Ninth City Burning
Authors:J. Patrick Black (Author)
Info:Ace (2016), 496 pages
Collections:To read, Your library
Tags:to-read, science-fiction

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Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black



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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Space opera (although only last part is in space), that starts on a future Earth in which is barely recognizable by us. We follow how the path of several characters will intersect: the nomad sisters, Jax the boy who trains to be a special type of soldier, Kizabel the rebel scientist, Vinneas the critical cadet and others. Their quest is to fight an unknown but very aggressive alien race and this makes a good adventure that goes from the wilderness to elaborate cities, to the space. Characters are well described and enjoyable. The story suffers from not presenting things clearly from the start, which means you never know if something does not make sense or it was not yet explained. ( )
  vladmihaisima | Jan 22, 2020 |
Overly long and far too tedious in its exposition. There are some interesting ideas here but it's all just a bit too much stuff thrown together. ( )
  alexezell | Nov 14, 2018 |
I really enjoyed this complex world and all the characters we got to meet. I loved how there were so many different kinds of communities and cultures and how each story wove into the narrative. I liked that all the characters had flaws and that even though they stepped up, they still felt like real people who were just trying to make it through.

The world that was created was so cool. I really liked how the history was delivered and how we got to see the perspectives of different people and that was how we learned about the world. The science part was also really cool, but I did find some of the battles to be a little boring to read - just because there was a lot of detail.

Overall, I really enjoyed this and think more people should read it! ( )
  jdifelice | Jan 20, 2018 |
The aliens came on Valentine’s Day. They didn’t come in peace, they didn’t offer to share their advanced knowledge, they didn’t even ask us to surrender. They simply, methodically, and ruthlessly began to destroy the planet. 500 years later, and humanity has fought the alien race, known only as “Valentines” or “Romeos,” to a standstill. Our success came by harnessing their own technology, a blend of mechanics and something very like magic called thelemity. But when the nature of the battle begins to change, humanity must adapt with it, or face extinction.

So one of the cover blurbs for this book called it a mix between Harry Potter and Starship Troopers, so naturally I had to read it. (Confession time: I’ve never actually read Heinlein’s book, though I have seen the 1997 movie starring Casper Van Dien and (sorry) enjoyed it. I’ve been told that this makes me a bad person. I have no argument against that)

So anyway, the book was pretty freaking neat. Yes, most of the central characters are teenagers, but we’re dealing with issues like sex, random violence, dismemberment, planetary eradication, and military discipline, so this really isn’t a book for the young kiddos. Black’s world building is generally interesting, though I will confess to a few eye-roll worthy moments early on. Fortunately, if you make it through the more goofy stuff in the beginning (I’m looking at you, N’workies), then the book really comes into its own. I especially liked the concept of thelemity, which seems like something you’d find in the Warhammer 40k universe. The futuristic-yet-strangely-arcane technology was consistently interesting and well used (and also well explained).

The book is told from the point of view of several different characters, and Black does a great job of giving each their own voice (though some are more aggravating than others, especially early on). I also found it interesting that this brutal tale of war and loss was told exclusively through the eyes of children. Each of these kids has grown up in a state of perpetual war (ahem, sound familiar?), and so the sacrifices and the brutality that go along with such a state are taken, if not in stride, then as the way things have always been. I’m not sure if I enjoy this point of view or if I find it disturbing (probably a bit of both).

So, if you like your sci-fi dark, and your battles with giant space monsters bloody, if you need more lasers, huge guns, and combat exoskeletons in your life, then this may be the book for you.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  irregularreader | Sep 23, 2017 |
I won this book on a Goodreads Giveaway and was given a free copy by the publisher. Here's my review in exchange.

I loved the first 130 or-so pages of this book, because there was an excellent diversity of characters (albeit the narrators are all teenagers) and each in their own setting. Also, at this point, it was clear a story was being told through each of their unique POVs.

Then, suddenly, all of the characters' lives converge and the story is no longer about the people telling it, but rather the war humanity has been fighting against alien invaders for centuries. All of the characters become completely involved in some aspect of the Legion, the united military fighting the war, and this is precisely when all story stops.

I shouldn't say it just "stops". The story continues, of course it does, but it continues painfully slowly and in between a ton of info-dumping. I mean, tons of it. For example, a character says something, as if on cue, and before another character can respond, there's a long paragraph (or far more!) of background information, explaining this technology or that weapon or this breakthrough in thelemity or that other thing starting with an "R". It became incessant and really boring, in my opinion.

I'm a reader who prefers storytelling to the blatant exhibition of cool concepts. I only got to page 240 of this book before I had to put it down for good because, ultimately, it's just another war book and it's just about all the training that goes into preparing the 'heroes' to fight. Lots and lots of training and explaining. This was the sort of thing I appreciated in high school and earlier, but as an adult it just has absolutely no appeal. That's fine for this book, and it's obviously a book for high school readers.

I thought it was very well-written, which was very refreshing for this genre. I loved the character of Naomi, until she began her training and became that same generic, confused-but-willing-to-learn pupil we've all read about before.

Some characters should not have had their own POV chapters, either, as they're much stronger as secondary characters known from someone else's POV rather than hearing their own thoughts. Rae is a perfect example of this. She went from being a respectable sister and Coda member to another cardboard character from fantasy and sci-fi... the ultra beautiful, ultra tough, super skilled but SUPER ANGRY warrior, of course. Been there, done that.

The Star Wars references were also embarrassing. As though to identify Charles as the zany geek, he immediately begins speaking like Yoda. Star Wars is a global sensation and anyone who likes it enough to be able to quote from it isn't the "geek" they might have been in the 80's. I found this a reach to appeal to all the "nerds" reading this book.

As a final note of criticism, the language of some characters really bothered me. This book takes place in the future, approximately 500 years from our present, and yet so many of the teenagers speak the way they do today... expressions such as "I totally..." or constantly saying "like". Things like that. They had this nonchalant coolness about them which made them very hard to believe... I mean, anyone who's been born into a world full of intense poverty and control and 'government' restrictions and who is raised under the constant threat of annihilation from an unseen alien force would most likely be nothing like the smart-alecky 13 year-olds who exist today (and who coincidentally live in North America). This was completely unbelievable to me... even for a story with this premise.

If you're a fan of science fiction and war training books, then this book is probably just for you. It's a bit unfair of me, I think, because the older I get, the harder I am finding it to appreciate science fiction the way I once did.
( )
  peapea | May 6, 2017 |
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