Book Review | Gideon the Ninth

Posted January 18, 2021 by TheNonbinaryLibrarian in book reviews / 0 Comments

Title: Gideon the Ninth

Author: Tamsyn Muir

Publisher: Tor

Published: 10 September 2019

Pages: 448

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Okay, I’ll try not to gush too much about this book, but I make no promises. First off, I was completely confused at the beginning. Not going to lie, I was reading to mostly try to hopefully understand in later chapters. But a funny thing happened where after a while, I stopped thinking too much and stopped trying to understand, and it was so enjoyable.

Tamsyn Muir creates a world that is fascinating and dark and deep. I loved it! What’s funny is that I never planned on reading this book nor was it even on my radar, which is hard to believe. At the university library I work at, I’m in charge of ordering all the books. The English Department (and the library as well) were wanting more contemporary, recent novels. I have been ordering books that won and were nominated for some of the main literature awards, including the Hugo Awards, which Gideon the Ninth was nominated for. I was processing it once it arrived and noticed the review on the bottom.

Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!

Charles Stross

The first thing I thought was Sign! Me! Up!

The story takes place in a fantasy, science-fiction world where people are necromancers. Gideon Nav is a servant for the Ninth world, desperately trying to escape for years. Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, is determined to make Gideon’s life a living hell. Then Harrow is summoned by the Emperor to try to become a Lyctor, powerful immortal necromancers. Gideon is forced to be Harrow’s swordswoman in exchange for her freedom. Once at Canaan House, a decaying mansion on the planet of the First House, the necromancers are to explore the house. Yet, mysteries await the necromancers and people are winding up dead.

I love Gideon! Not only for the fact that she is a lesbian and states it herself, but also for her brash, sarcastic attitude. Her and Harrow’s relationship was always fascinating. When Gideon starts getting friendly with Dulcinea Septimus, I was getting angry on Harrow’s behalf. Harrow is so contrary to what lays beneath and that was one of the most interesting parts of the story. Strangely enough, she reminds me of aspects of the Doctor from Doctor Who. She’s someone who loves those around her so much, but acts gruff and rude on the outside so that way they don’t get close. Harrow doesn’t think she deserves it for what her parents did to have her be alive. Spoiler: I really wanted the swimming pool scene to go on a bit more not going to lie.

I definitely did not expect the ending and the person responsible for the deaths at Canaan House. The way for Lyctors to become Lyctors is quite interesting, having the necromancer to take, to eat, the soul of their swordsman or swordswoman is quite fascinating and horrible and completely lovely all the same time. It sounds strange to describe it that way, but the swordspeople do it willingly so I guess it’s okay. That ending where Gideon sacrifices herself to have Harrow become a Lyctor killed me.

Why would you hurt me this way Tamsyn!?!?! I loved and hated it at both the same time. I definitely need Harrow the First book, but I know it’s going to make me cry as well…probably. I’m assuming.

The only part that frustrates me is as I said above not only do I wish the pool scene was longer but that there was more romantic interactions between Gideon and Harrow after the pool scene. Of course, I guess sacrificing yourself for your love to become a Lyctor to defeat Cytherea the First is romantic but still, I just would’ve liked one kiss. Is that too much to ask? I guess.

Happy Reading Darlings!

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