Book ReviewNov 20, 2019

Book review: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth

Published September 10, 2019 by
Genre: ,
I received this book for free from the publisher.
This did not affect my opinion or the content of this review.

Summary

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

Gideon Nav had me at hello. Just one page in, and I was in love with this sassy, little shit, and knew I was in for one hell of a ride.

I’m not going to lie, when I first heard it’s a book about necromancers in space, I thought I would be plunged head first into the most epic space adventure full of action. Gideon the Ninth is a story far more character-driven though, and I didn’t mind that in the least. My original expectations might not have been met, but getting a And-Then-There-Were-None lesbian-necromancer style instead, was far better than anything I could have predicted, and once hell broke loose, it was pure chaos and action anyway.

Talking about lesbians: what I loved was the lack of romance while still making it VERY obvious that Gideon is a lesbian, without ever making use of the word. It’s not really made a topic of the book, yet the book is SO gay!? You can just tell by her thoughts and actions/how she behaves around others, how she thinks about them.

Gideon the Ninth can certainly be a bit of a challenge, with its many characters, names dropping left and right. That only makes it that much more worth a reread though (have already done that more than once, can confirm: it’s still as much if not even more fun).

While Gideon is my absolute favorite, there are many other great characters in the book who I liked just as well but what I loved even more than this diverse bunch of people, was their relationships. Gideon and Hawk are really quite something and their constant bickering A+ entertainment. And don’t get me started on their character growth and the slow but significant changes to their relationship. I’ll never get over THAT.

The world building, and its mix of scifi and fantasy is really something else. While being set in space, it does give off more of a fantasy-esque feel, even though there is the mention of tech here and there. BUT at the same time, the magic itself, the necromancy always felt kind of scifi-y to me. There’s a lot to learn about the possibilities of necromancy throughout these pages and explanations somehow felt more based on science than made up to me, which overall was some exceptional mind fuckery for me.

While Gideon the Ninth heavily relies on its characters (which it’s doing a damn fine job at), it also features some of the most epic, most detailed, most badass fighting scenes. It certainly doesn’t get boring, ever, not with a narrator like Gideon. This is And Then There Were None on acid, basically, and I would recommend it to pretty much anyone.

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