Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #1) by Tamsyn Muir
Published by TOR Books
Adult, Sci Fi, Fantasy
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The Emperor needs necromancers.
The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.
Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.
Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.
Of course, some things are better left dead.
“One flesh, one end, b*tch.”
TW : little bit of body horror, gore, and foul language
Lesbians. Necromancers. Space. These are three elements of the book which surprised me. After reading Gideon the Ninth, I didn’t know I needed a book that included all of them.
Before we dive into the review I would like to recommend that this book is not a starter book to start reading adult fantasy. To anyone that doesn’t read a lot of adult fantasy or starting out, the first few chapters will be hard. I admit I had to write down a few words down to understand the meaning of it as I read, as example below. Don’t let me stop you though because this book was the second adult fantasy book I read.
My thoughts, first of all, it took me 150 pages or so to understand the world and the premise of the book. The world building was very prominent during the first few chapters. It’s very hard to push through this because this is the first book of its series, so setting is very important which is completely understandable. The world itself is so imaginative and different. Much of the appeal I found in the political aspect of the world and how dynamic the interaction between each of the houses are. which is discovered later in the book. If you could push through the slow pace and world building up until the main characters (Gideon and Harrow) started working together, the pace will start to pick up from there.
Tamsyn Muir didn’t spoon feed any information on what the main characters are doing and what their purpose is. There’s absolutely no info dump-ing at all. The author slowly reveals purpose as the main characters progress further in their trials, which I admired. Dialogue between characters has meaning and purpose for readers to piece together every aspect of the story.
Secondly, Tamsyn Muir’s ability to tie in the world building with combat is very prevalent near the end of the book, where the blend of necromantic magic with sword fighting is *chef’s kiss*. The climax of this book also included some of the best plot reveals I’ve ever read and it was satisfyingly done. I could not put down the book once I started reading these last few pages. My emotions were jumping with excitement the more I progressed.
Harrow and Gideon gave me chills, Harrow with her bone magic and Gideon with her longsword. Each sword slash from Gideon and each spell from Harrow contributed to the depth of their characters. I adore them both so dearly, especially Gideon Nav. She reminds me so much of a different character from a D&D stream I love to watch. Her personality is so abrasive, over the top, and snarky; I can’t help but love her one liners. Her personality can be a problem for certain people who don’t jive with a character like that, but I have no problem with it and actually enjoyed it A LOT.
“We do bones, motherf*cker”
The other spotlight I would like to give is to Palamedes Sextus. One of the most pivotal moments in the story involved him and the subsequent mic drop is one of the best I’ve read.
It’s pretty clear I will definitely pick up the sequel Harrow the Ninth. I want praise Tamsyn Muir on her ability to write such a unique story. In many reviews I’ve read people have said that they have never read a book like Gideon the Ninth and I confirm that 100%. Nonetheless, I enjoyed my time reading it and I highly recommend if you’re looking for something that is not your typical scifi fantasy story.
Great review! I’ve dropped the book at page 45-ish bcs i cant bear the narration. But now your review convinced me to finish it. I guess I need to push through till I get to the amazing part
Wow! Thank you for the comment. AND YES it is very slow if you read the first 100+ pages. I nearly dropped it too but I pushed head on and I could not put it down. AND it gets easier too!