Book Review: Gideon the Ninth

Title: Gideon the Ninth
Author: Tamsyn Muir
Genre/s: Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, LGBTQ+
My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Goodreads synopsis:

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.

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Gideon the Ninth is the book of the month in Illumicrate’s “Armed and Dangerous” box and I just couldn’t put this book off much longer. I am too excited and too curious, so I dove right in! And guys, I don’t even know how to review this one hell of a book as my thoughts are not coherent enough, but I’ll definitely try.

Gideon the Ninth is weird, funny, brutal, and captivating! Filled with sword fights, skeletons, old and dangerous magic, nuns and priests, weird planets, and lesbian necromancers, this book is unbelievably unique and edgy.

Peculiar writing style

The writing style can take a while to get used to (pretty sure there are run-on sentences, sentences that are too long for me ((which can be tiring to the eyes)), and some fancy words here and there), but once I got going, I realized that the author has this peculiar writing style and it definitely adds to the uniqueness of this book.

There was humor but there was also weirdly dark tales about the characters and the world. There was also something elegant in the candid descriptions of the skeletons, the bones, and the anatomy of a body. Some might find this gory, but I found it really interesting. The narration of the sword fights were awesome as well! Brutal yet so captivating as I read on.

Interesting characters + great enemies-to-lovers trope

The characters were truly interesting! Gideon Nav is the best cavalier the Ninth House has ever produced and I would gladly die for her. *cries* She was tough and amazing and I believe there is more to her backstory (I do hope the sequel contains more of it!). Harrowhark Nonagesimus, on the other hand, was confident and determined. She’s an extraordinary necromancer

And yes, this book has one of my favorite romance tropes, enemies-to-lovers. And guys, let me tell you, the author did it so painfully and beautifully. There was hate (and not just for nothing, there was a reason), there was tension, there was a building of trust, there was the undeniable care for each other at the end. In conclusion, my heart ached, I am not even kidding.

In a way, the characterization here in Gideon the Ninth reminded me a lot of All for the Game. These characters, and not just Gideon and Harrow but the minor characters as well, will really take you on a journey and will have you rooting for them and will have you wanting for more.

Wild plot

Okay, imagine tributes from Hunger Games (but instead of districts they come from weird planets), and the arena is a Gothic castle with skeletons as servants, and the prize is immense power and immortality. And these tributes would have to solve puzzles and challenges to achieve the prize. Pretty simple right? What makes it so wild was the addition of unforeseen deadly events, brutal sword fights, plus secrets and revelations. There were certain plot twists in Gideon the Ninth that really made me pause and go back to see if what I read was real.

The first half of the story line can be dragging though. The main plot needed to be set up (introduction to the Ninth House, Gideon’s disdain to her current life, Harrow’s mission, how Gideon came to be the Ninth “cavalier”), and the world-building can be dense. The second half was where all the crazy things started to happen and it continued on until the end. I really loved reading through that second half!

Epic world-building

Gideon the Ninth has one of the most unique and complex fictional worlds I’ve ever had the pleasure to read about. The world-building was a captivating blend of fantasy and science fiction—a blend of dangerous magic and gods, and space and sword fights. It was weird and alluring without losing its Gothic aesthetic touch.

I’m actually so glad I have the House trading cards from Illumicrate because they contained more information about the different Houses and the people in Gideon the Ninth. When I saw them, I just knew this book would have an epic world-building, and I was right.

Quotes from the book

“Nav, show them what the Ninth House does.”
“We do bones, motherfucker.”

“If you do not find yourself a galaxy, it is not so bad to find yourself a star…”

“You want to fight it.”
“Yep.”
“Because it looked…a little like swords.”
“Yop.”

Gideon was experiencing one powerful emotion: being sick of everyone’s shit.

“I would have thought you would be happy that I needed you. That I showed you my girlish and vulnerable heart.”
“Your heart is a party for five thousand nails.”

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And that’s it! Wooh! This was a long review, but I feel like I’ve said everything I wanted to say. If you’re still here at the end, hi haha! Have you read this book yet? What did you think of it? Go comment below!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Gideon the Ninth

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