“Gideon the Ninth” Review

Gideon the Ninth book cover showing a person standing holding a sword in one hand wearing all black with red hair and face painted as a skull. They are surrounded by parts of many different skeletons on a black background. The Title of the book is at the bottom with the author's name on top. Written by Tamsyn Muir
Published by Tor.com, September 2019
464 pages
Completed June 27, 2024

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 be 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.

I read this for one of my Discord book clubs and it’s ultimately not my cup of tea. I tried to give it a fair chance but the personalities of the main characters and the writing style made it harder to get through than I like. I also ended up needing the Wikipedia for the book series to keep track of all of the characters. All of the characters were referred to by first name, last name, nickname, or sometimes only a description, depending on who was talking and some had similar names, which made it hard to keep track. That said there were some interesting parts, the world building seemed interesting if not fully described, and I did like how the relationship between Gideon and Harrowhark developed despite my frustration with them in the beginning. I don’t believe I’ll continue the series at this time, but you never know.

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