Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ninth City Burning (War of the Realms, #1)” as Want to Read:
Ninth City Burning (War of the Realms, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ninth City Burning

(War of the Realms #1)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,344 ratings  ·  263 reviews
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

Hardcover, 482 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Ace
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ninth City Burning, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,344 ratings  ·  263 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ninth City Burning (War of the Realms, #1)
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Ninth City Burning is an impressive debut, built upon an array of inventive ideas and wildly original world-building. It may be a science fiction novel at its core, but it also contains plenty of elements that would not be out of place in a fantasy epic. The story, which takes place hundreds of years in the future, is told through no less than half a dozen diverse narratives all woven together to form its brutal premise of
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very solid and creative military SF novel. The book is written using multiple points of view from at least half a dozen different characters. Black does a great job of giving each of the characters very distinct voices, reflecting huge differences in personalities and backgrounds.

There are some particularly interesting female characters: Kiz, the amazingly intelligent creator/engineer; Naomi, a member of an outsider group known as Walkers, who turns out to be a rare source of thelemity (magic,
Anthony Ryan
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Set in a post-catastrophe future Earth where alien invasion has unleashed power of magic J Patrick Black's Ninth City Burning is a finely crafted and original science fantasy epic full of wonder and spectacle. Highly recommended.
Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black is an exceptional and graceful debut novel that takes place on Earth approximately five hundred years from now. An alien race—often referred to as the “Valentines” due to the day of their arrival are in an apparent deadlock with the legions from the principates of Earth.

I fell in love with the multiple perspectives Black writes from, especially Jax, Rae, and Kizabel—three of the seven perspectives with whom you will explore this similar, but foreign enviro
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alissa by: Justine
Shelves: read-ebooks
I admit I didn't even read the blurb of this book, I chose it purely out of Justine's review and recommendation. It simply panned out great! I'm not even a sci-fi reader, I usually prefer my fantasy technology-free, thank you very much. But the idea of "military science fantasy, no alpha tendencies and a slight romance element" sealed the deal for me. So, this is an interesting and ambitious debut book, a diamond in the rough as the saying goes; for example the mijmere are really exciting! The p ...more
Jul 13, 2016 rated it did not like it
Just so you know, this author created a world and he is going to tell you about every single detail of every single corner of this world down to the tiniest minutiae. Hope you’re comfortable.

Especially considering I just read FIRST KING OF SHANNARA and I found it such a slog because it was so overwritten, I was not expecting to get thrown right into another. Any action in the story, any character development, all lost in the expansive pit of detail that is this book. And I don’t say that lovingl
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, on-hand, scifi
This book is a lot of things all at once.

It blends Science Fiction and Fantasy while splitting the difference between YA and 'regular' writing.

Instead of having one angsty teen protagonist, Black introduces multiple viewpoint characters, who thankfully go light on the overwrought teen-drama that makes parts of The Hunger Games hard to push though.

And it does all these things pretty well.

I really enjoyed it and look forward to the sequel.
Book Riot Community
I grabbed this on a whim from the “New Releases” shelf at the library and ended up falling in love. This sci-fi/fantasy/war story is definitely for people who like their worldbuilding complex and their magic epically destructive. Not for people who dislike multiple narrators, pseudoscience, or the multiverse.

— Megan Cavitt

from The Best Books We Read In October 2016:
Jeska Dzwigalski
Just finished ‘Ninth City Burning’ and I’m already lamenting I won’t get to hear more from Rae, Jax, Naomi, Vines, Imway, Kizabel, and Torro until the next book. (Write faster Pat!)

This is a clever and creative story that weaves together a post-apocalyptic world with enough science to be believable and enough magic to be fanciful. But the true heart of the story are the people who live in this intricately detailed world.

Delightfully, the ladies in the story were written three dimensionally wit
My first ever book won in a giveaway! I am so pleased, especially considering that the synopsis to “Ninth City Burning” hits some themes I can’t get enough of: post-apocalyptic tale and resisting an alien invasion. However, J. Patrick Black’s first book suffers from a first book problem: every good idea ever, jam-packed into one book.

For the first 150 or so pages, we are evolving in a world we can assume to be Earth several hundred years in the future, but we don’t really know why or who it got
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is a fun science fiction novel that is perfect for people of all ages!
This epic science fiction novel takes place in an Earth bound together against a common enemy they've been fighting for centuries. This is a world very different, but still similar in ways that will make the reader smile with how Black incorporates old forms of pop culture into this new society.
Along with this well-described world comes a group of characters who are fighting this war in their own ways. The multiple pers
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, publisher, dnf
I read about 100 pages of this book and could not get interested in it at all. The story, as far as I read, was told from the point of view of several teenagers. There was a draft, reminiscent of Hunger Games and there was the selection of gifted children, reminiscent of Ender's Game. It didn't feel terribly original. I finally gave up. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
Luke Gregoire
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This took some time to power through. Lots of details in the early part of the story that was hard to see how it all fits together. Took about 200 pages to really get the characters figured out. The story sets up for an epic conclusion in the next book or books. Now we wait !
Mens Rea
This review was originally posted on my website: My Bookshelf Dialogues
3.5 stars*
What this book is about:
In the distant future planet Earth and its citizens have been in war with alien forces reffered to as "Valentines" or "Romeo". Earth has been defending its place in this universe for many years now and seems to be winning the fight against Romeo. But things might not be as good as they appear and our planet will soon find itself in grave danger..

Ninth City Burning is a debut young adult, scie
Acanthea Grimscythe | The Ghastly Grimoire
J. Patrick Black’s debut novel, Ninth City Burning, is an incredibly intense ride alongside humanity’s bid for survival against an alien race seeking Earth’s destruction. Complete with a wide cast of unique characters with their own voices, this novel has earned its place among my favorites.

More often than not, I’m wary of books with shifting first-person. In this case, readers meet seven different points of view – and every single one of those characters have their own voices. I find this impre
Chihoe Ho
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Please come and destroy this world so that I can gain thelemity and become fontani. Passing into fontani usuuki and being in my mijmere sounds like one hell of an experience I want, but the responsibility of being one might be too overwhelming so perhaps revenni is my calling.

The above sounds nonsensical for someone who hasn't read "Ninth City Burning" but I hope it has piqued your interest. This debut starts off an explosive new series that has quite th
Ameema Saeed
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, arcs, sci-fi
4.5 stars

I am an Indigo employee, and I received an advanced reading copy of this book from Indigo Books and Music, in exchange for my honest feedback.

I had low expectations going into this book, and although it was slow to start, I found myself hooked into this gripping dystopian tale of science and magic. My one complaint is that there was quite a lot of jargon and terminology that often went over my head, and I felt like I had to read and re-read paragraphs because they went over my head the
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ninth City Burning is the first book by J. Patrick Black so I wasn't sure what to expect. What I found was an amazingly complex novel and far more than I expected in a debut novel. This is a standalone with no cliffhanger, though it is open-ended for future books in what I hope will be a series. I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. There is violence, as this book is about a war with an alien species.

At times this novel seemed more like reading a textbook. Not surprisin
After the unpleasant shock of this being a young adult SF, the shocks just continued. Every new PoV had a new voice and every next one seemed more nasal, American and adolescent. The droning went on for hours and hours and hours and I kept listening because my next credit on the Audible-subscription is not for weeks. Gods this was rubbish. It helped me sleep though.

The story: 500 years ago Earth was attacked by aliens. Only nine cities are left on the planet. Young people are recruited to fight
Aug 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf, ya-teen
3 stars

The basic premise is a world set in another universe with different laws of science. It's a cross of alien invasion/military SF and YA, with the drawbacks of both. There's a new vocabulary to learn (thelemity and fontani are just two of many), and multiple narrators (seven, I think), all from the first person perspective. And of course it's written in the present tense, because that's what all YA authors seem to do these days.

People have scattered across the land, some choosing to be wan
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary |
Ninth City Burning sounded absolutely awesome. Military academies, future earth, magic powers. Basically, all the best parts of science fiction and fantasy mixed up into one awesome pot. You know the saying: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is? That's how I feel about this book. When I was over 130 pages in, I realized how disconnected I was from what I was reading. I barely remembered the characters names. I didn't care about any of them. I had already given up on the action gettin ...more
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review
I must start off by saying that I was really surprised how long it took me to read this book. I usually get through books pretty quickly, but this one took me 5 or 6 nights instead of my normal 2 or 3. It was a little slow, but not boring, slow. There is just a whole lot of world building, but this definitely adds to the story.

So, by day 5, I was ready to finish it up, but I wasn't upset that I still had another few chapters to read on day 6. It was a really good book.

The author does a great jo
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I didn't really think genre-blending like this would work...but it did! Excellent world-building and very well written. I've been describing it to people as "Station Eleven meets Ender's Game meets Harry Potter," and I stand by that description--though it's probably best not to think of it in those terms while you read it. :) I definitely recommend this book!
A book I was anticipating to read, it disappointed me. I couldn't finish this book so therefore I stopped reading it at 40%. I have no regrets. The writing is complicating and so are the characters. Too much happens at one time.
Gregory Saunders
Dec 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
Couldn’t finish it. “Like” and “whatnot”. Really.
Aug 23, 2017 marked it as abandoned
I'm having trouble nailing down why Ninth City Burning is such a struggle for me. What it comes down to, I think, is that it's frankly a boring book. I used it four nights in a row to put myself to sleep when I was feeling anxious and restless. That is not flattering. Usually I'm all for a slow burn, but Ninth City Burning has no plot, no character development, and surprising lack of world-building.

Did not finish at 41%.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
For a book that was intended to be epic and grand, it felt very silly. I like Naomi and Rae, but couldn't bring myself to car for Jax or Torro. Neither of these boys seemed to be able to project to me how dire there situation was. They felt very young. The bad guys were called 'Valentines' due to the fact that they arrived on Valentines day, but it didn't help in making them seem dangerous or ominous.

Ultimately I'd pass on this book if I were you. I'm glad I found it on sale.
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
Had to put this one down despite enjoying the opening. Just felt lost in the world after a couple of specific events.
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black is a recommended science fiction tale, highly recommended and suited for YA audiences.

Seven young narrators tell the story in first person of Earth's fate in this four part novel. The narrators are are: Jax, Torro, Vinneas, sisters Rae and Naomi, Kizabel, and Imway.
An alien race, nicknamed "Romeo"or the "Valentines," wants to take over the Earth. The war began 500 years ago when "Romeo" brought a weapon that is a universe-altering force known as thelemity.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Page count edit 1 3 Jul 03, 2017 11:52PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Completionist
  • The Cityborn
  • Wayward Galaxy
  • Pulse
  • NK3
  • The Ceremonies
  • Necropolis PD
  • Touch Not the Cat
  • A Conspiracy of Truths (A Conspiracy of Truths, #1)
  • Dear First Love
  • Dream Again (Again, #5)
  • The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy
  • XOM-B
  • Trending Topic #Murder
  • Song of the Dead (Reign of the Fallen, #2)
  • The Biggerers
  • Between Two Fires
  • The Black Wolves of Boston (Black Wolves of Boston)
See similar books…

Other books in the series

War of the Realms (2 books)
  • Under Seven Skies (War of the Realms, #2)

Articles featuring this book

We are not alone in the universe in Ninth City Burning, J. Patrick Black's thrilling sci-fi debut. Blending magic and science, this is a tale of...
17 likes · 0 comments
“I shouldn't be surprised―filtering the facts to present the rosiest possible picture is part of human nature―but I am.” 1 likes
More quotes…