Gideon the Ninth / Tamsyn Muir
8 weeks into 2020 and I think I finally found my first 4 star book of the year. It took me ages to get my momentum going with this book. At one point, when someone asked me what I was reading, I replied with “it’s about necromancers, but I don’t really have any idea what’s going on”. I finished the book last night, and I don’t think my answer has changed much….. but I did thoroughly enjoy it, and am really looking forward to the sequel.
My main struggle was that the book has little to no world building exposition (compared to most books that tend to overdo it), so I was constantly reading sentences that made no sense without context, and struggling (and failing) to find that context somewhere in the next paragraph, or page, or chapter…. eventually, I ended up falling back on my childhood method of reading – just keep plowing through, let the bits that don’t make sense wash over you, and eventually come out at the other end, if not with a complete understanding, with an appreciation for the story as a whole.
And it worked.
Do I have any more of an idea now as compared to when I started the book about who the Emperor is, or why he’s got nine planets filled with necromancers, or why Gideon has red hair, or what the difference between the houses is, or….. any of those integral details? Absolutely not. Did it make me enjoy the book any less? Absolutely not.
I knew before the end of the book that the next in the series is titled Harrow the Ninth, and was a little bummed that it wouldn’t continue to focus on Gideon, who I’d grown to be quite fond of over the course of the book, even if she’s really really annoying. By the end of the book though, I totally cannot wait to see more from Harrow’s point of view.
I’m guessing the second book will answer a lot of those questions I wasn’t able to answer in the first, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it doesn’t, and instead just raises a hundred more instead. It was a solidly different reading experience, and I’ve been needing one of those for a while now, so A+ from me!
(Also my mother’s reaction to me pulling out a black book with a gold skull embossed on the front was more than worth the initial struggle.)
(Also also, while I struggled to get started, I stayed up way past my bedtime last night reading the last three acts of the book. It definitely picks up pace.)
(And of course I carry my hardback books around sans dust jacket. Doesn’t everyone?)