Book Review: Gideon the Ninth

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

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That ending!

Seriously, this is my brain right now (and, alternatively, a super spoiler for the book without actually being a spoiler at all):

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I have no words because that ending has stolen all words from my brain and sucked them into the eternal deathful walls of the First House. My soul is locked down tighter than that enemy body in the Locked Tomb. My entire being has frozen more solidly than Crux’s nonexistent heart.

However, this is the super gay, necromantic, sword-fighting space operatic retelling of And Then There Were None that I never knew I needed in my life.

Mostly because I haven’t read that other book, and also because that entire long string of things wasn’t anything I’d ever thought I’d put together before.

So, the quick blurb (non-spoilerly): Foundling Gideon has always ever lived among the black-clad nuns of the Ninth House. But after her thirty-third attempt at escaping goes awry thanks to her nemesis, the humorless Reverend Daughter Harrowhawk and her shuttle becomes an escape pod for the Reverend Daughter’s sniveling cavalier and his mother, Gideon agrees to the unthinkable to win her freedomβ€”join Harrowhawk and the other pairs of the eight Houses to attempt to become immortal Lyctors. How will they do it? Gideon has no fucking clue. But time is running out, since someoneβ€”or somethingβ€”has started murdering off necromancers and their cavaliers. And Gideon might be next.

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literally Gideon as Harrow makes her a cavalier

Lemme be the first to tell you, that Gideon is hilarious and incredibly sarcastic.

“Oh, this is boring,” Gideon has said in disappointment. “I wanted one with a skull puking another, smaller skull, and other skulls flying all around. But tastefull, you know?”

And:

“No way! I assumed you just thought super hard about bones until they happened.”

And that this book is weird as fuck and you gotta lean into and embrace the weird.

I’m not sure if it’s considered bodyhorror, but there’s a lot of oozing liquids and bones.

Why bones?

Because: “We do bones, motherfucker.”

Also, Gideon and Harrow’s relationship is fucked up and gorgeously fucked up, with all of the pent up anger and frustration and feeling of two people who have spent their entire lives fighting each other because, well, what else was going on at Ninth House? Not much.

Gideon just wants to be loved (but not by the ghoulish Reverend Daughter, who has animated her own parents as corpse puppets for years), and Harrow is allergic to the entire spectrum of human emotion.

The Reverend Daughter fell calm and limp, as was natural for one being ritually drowned, but when she realised that she was being hugged she thrashed as though her fingernails were being ripped from their beds.

Ritual drowning? A-okay.

A hug? Omg no.

I feel that I have spent this entire review saying both a lot and nothing at all, so I will leave with one last thing: the rest of the cast is well created, and it’s just a lot of madcap weirdness until the bodies start falling (well, the bodies that were previously alive and not skeletons?) and that the gallows humor doesn’t really stop at all.

A second last thing: lots of bones and swords and crisp uniforms

A third thing: READ THIS BOOK

A fourth thing: teenagers are awful, always

A fifth thing: Magnus can make me desserts anytime he wants

A sixth thing: good science doesn’t always win, sometimes you need love too

A seventh thing: dying beautifully is still dying

An eighth thing: Scandinavian minimalism really shouldn’t belong in space opera and necromancy

A ninth thing: HARROW

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Harrow is pretty much Wednesday Adams in skull-face paint

I received this book from Edelweiss for an honest review

Gideon the Ninth releases 10 September from Tor.com

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