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Ninth City Burning    by J. Patrick Black order for
Ninth City Burning
by J. Patrick Black
Order:  USA  Can
Ace, 2017 (2016)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Ninth City Burning is a YA sci-fi of epic proportions. J. Patrick Black's imagining of a dystopian future with inter-dimensional warfare is unlike anything out there and so well-developed it is hard to believe this is his debut.

On Valentine's Day five centuries ago, aliens from another dimension attacked Earth, decimating many cities, but also activating a power known as thelemity in certain people. Now, young people with and without powers are conscripted to fight the Valentines or Romeos (both names for the aliens). Those with powers provide the thelemity to activate the war mechas piloted by those without powers. Since time on Earth moves faster than in the other dimensions, those drafted face never seeing their loved ones again, but someone has to stop the invasion.

The world-building in Ninth City Burning is phenomenal, but the characterization is even better. Black tells the story from multiple points-of-view, and each one is written differently to showcase the personalities. They are so distinct, that it is easy to tell who is talking without even looking at the chapter headings. The characters are well-fleshed-out, too, especially Charles. I would love to hear more of his backstory.

It truly is amazing to think that Ninth City Burning is a debut novel. If he continues writing like this, J. Patrick Black will have an impressive career ahead of him.

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