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Review: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Hey all, Dani here.

It took me longer than I originally thought to finish this book. Now, I don’t want that to scare anyone off, because the book I’m talking about today was fantastic. I just needed to actually focus on what I was reading so I could fully process it. Because, you know, there are some books that are just fast and easy to read–for me those include graphic novels, manga, and contemporary–and then there are books that just feel more serious and complex. That doesn’t mean that they necessarily are, but they simply feel that way.

Anyway, I am delighted to share this simple review of a wonderfully complex book.

Let’s get started.



Gideon the Ninth is the most fun you’ll ever have with a skeleton.

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

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.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

Okay, I admit it, normally I probably wouldn’t have picked up a book like this one. Necromancy and zombies aren’t really my things, but I had heard so many people raving about this book in the months leading up to release day. Most of them got me with “lesbian necromancers in space,” which sounded so off-the-wall that it definitely piqued my interest. Then add to that the fact that they are exploring a haunted palace, and undergoing trials, and all of the social and political machinations…this book just becomes so complex so quickly.

There are quite a few characters who show romantic interest in one another, but I definitely would not call this a romance by any stretch of the imagination…though with some of the revelations and character development throughout the novel, by the end I was actually hoping for at least some serious make-out sessions, if not more. Sadly, that did not happen.

The necromantic principles and the challenges that the necromancers and their respective cavaliers had to undergo were sometimes pretty intense.

All right, so the part that lowered the rating on this tale just a tiny bit was the fact that for a good chunk of the beginning time in this palace, Gideon spoke to nobody, following the orders to pretend to be under a vow of silence. Considering how much Gideon relished in defying orders and breaking rules, this honestly felt a little odd to me. Also, since we are pretty much following Gideon this whole time, it made it a little difficult to connect with the characters, because there was no proper dialogue exchange. So after like 50-ish pages or so, when Gideon started talking again, the story really started to get good.

Gideon and Harrow’s relationship is honestly fantastic. There is so much going on there. They have a lot of history having grown up together, and there are also secrets, both shared and kept from each other. From the beginning they do have a sort of antagonistic or adversarial relationship, but as they start to rely on each other more and trust each other, that starts to change and grow. Frankly, by the end, I could actually see this being a wonderfully slow burn hate-to-love (possibly?) relationship. I don’t know. With the way the story ends who knows what will happen next. All I know is that I already have Harrow the Ninth on my TBR for next year.

Where to Get a Copy

You can pick up your own copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent bookstore.

You can also check with your local library.

7 thoughts on “Review: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir”

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