Before turning to fiction writing, J Patrick Black worked as a bartender, a small town lawyer, a home builder and a costumed theme-park character. “Ninth City Burning” is his debut science fiction/fantasy novel for young adults about a post-apocalyptic Earth still dealing with centuries of war with aliens.
In “Ninth City Burning,” cities have vanished due to world-wide destruction caused by aliens known as Valentines. These aliens were named after the day in which the attacks began when they brought with them a weapon so strong it was considered magical. It is known as ‘thelemity’ and it is a universe altering force. Some humans developed the ability to control this weapon and have used it to fight back and are trained in elite military academies. Those who do not support the war effort are exiled to the wilds of a ruined Earth. The war has been going on for five centuries but now the enemy’s tactics have changed and humans are in for a new attack. Jax is one of those cadets training for future military action and him, along with other fighters, have to work together one last time before the aliens completely destroy what is left of their homes.
Young readers are the target audience for “Ninth City Burning” but anyone interested in science fiction and fantasy novels will find it interesting. The action is fast paced and character driven since it is told in the first person view of multiple young characters who are well developed. The author did an exceptional job of giving them each a backstory so that the reader can identify and empathize with them as they struggle to survive. His version of the futuristic Earth is detailed and intriguing and even though it is 485 pages long it should appeal to fans of “The Hunger Games,” “Ender’s Game” and similar books.
*A copy of this book was given for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are solely the author’s.