Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Book Review 2020 #10 - Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Published by:
Publication Date: September 9th, 2019
Format: Kindle, 479 Pages
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy

Gideon wants nothing to do with the Ninth. The house is nothing more than a creepy death cult guarding a locked tomb that is quickly dying out. She wants off the planet and out of the life she's begrudgingly lived. But her countless escape plans have never worked and this newest one is no different, even if it's the closest she's ever come. She is once again stopped by her nemesis, Harrowhark Nonagesimus. Harrowhark is the scion of the Ninth. A wickedly powerful necromancer who has been puppeteering her parents corpses for years in an effort to make it look like the Ninth is still a functional house and not on it's last legs. This appearance is more important than ever as the Emperor has called all nine houses to his abandoned palace, Canaan House, to compete for the honor to become Lyctors, eternals who serve at his side. The problem is that each house has to have a cavalier, a warrior, indefatigable and unbeatable, who protects the necromancer. The only real contender for Harrowhark's cavalier is Gideon. The problem is Gideon wasn't trained for this role and more importantly she'd rather see Harrowhark dead than be the one having to save her. So Harrowhark makes a deal. They go to Canaan House, they put on the show of a lifetime, Harrowhark wins and becomes a Lyctor and Gideon gets to ride off into the sunset. Gideon doesn't like this plan. Gideon doesn't think it will work. Gideon doesn't have a choice. When they arrive at Canaan House Gideon is quickly abandoned by Harrowhark who plays up the mystique of the the Ninth House by being wreathed in shrouds and totally unavailable to Gideon. Gideon sees quite quickly that the reputation of the Ninth makes all the other houses wary of her, and yet, slowly she starts to befriend them. That's when they start dying. This Lyctor test was set up in a way that makes the suspicious houses unable to win, but amply able to die. Will Gideon even live to cash in on Harrowhark's promise or will she die screaming in agony on a distant planet? At least she won't die near the benighted locked tomb...

Me and much lauded books rarely get along. My tastes are rarely the tastes of the masses. And yet again and again I feel drawn to read them. That's how I picked up Gideon the Ninth. Though I was circumspect in that I knew it might not be for me and therefore got it from my local library. I mean, lesbian necromancers in space sounds awesome, but there was that voice saying, but is it for you? Turns out it was. But not without the reservations continuing for quite awhile. After my first night of reading I actually reached out to my friends asking them "has anyone read Gideon the Ninth? I am a die hard must finish a book and have literally only given up on one in the last decade...but this isn't catching my interest at all..." Theories ranged from it being the victim of hype to it just being very polarizing. But I refused to give up and this book is literally why I don't give up on books, aside from that one a few years back which I try not to think of. Gideon the Ninth literally took a third of the way through the book to click and when it did it became magnificent. This became the Gothic space thriller of my dreams! Teams of two pitted against each other in order to find keys to literally unlock secrets in the biggest most haunted space palace you could imagine. There were elements of The Haunting of Hill House and The Hunger Games and Rose Red! I literally was dumbfounded that the book I had bemoaned became this epic read. One of my friends was shocked it went from a possible DNF to four stars in the span of a week. I was even encouraging him to keep going because he would be surprised by what it became. Therefore I use this book as a reminder, whatever you use to cull your TBR Pile, a hundred page rule, a quarter rule, whatever, it wouldn't have worked here. Never judge a book until you read that last line, it might end up one of your favorite reads.


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