There are always a few books every year that I’m really looking forward to and have high expectations for. Gideon the Ninth was one of these books. After hearing about it and the book community being very excited, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! I finally had the chance to read it. Did it live up to my expectations? Keep on reading to find out!
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.
“If you do not find yourself a galaxy, it is not so bad to find yourself a star.”
I so wanted to like this, but it just didn’t do it for me. When I started this book, I was definitely curious. The concept sounded really interesting and I excited to see how the author brought this to life. There were definitely some aspects I enjoyed, but I was mostly just confused. I’m not going to make this review really long, because it’s not about bashing a book I didn’t like. There are plenty of people who really enjoyed it and that’s just how reading works. Sometimes you love them and sometimes you don’t!
To start off with the worldbuilding. I was expecting an amazing sci-fi, but I think I missed this aspect. They travel on a ship once, but other than that I don’t really see much that makes this a sci-fi. I really longed for more information about how this world works. It’s also still not clear if this book is set in the future or past. The way some things are described it seems like there aren’t many modern things, but then it’s mentioned Gideon is reading comics. We get a little bit of an idea, but at the end of the book I was still really confused. Same really to character development. There are a lot of characters along the way and I don’t really feel like I know any of them, not even Gideon. It all stays on the surface and I just really needed more.
“Anyone can learn to fight. Hardly anyone learns to think.”
At a certain point I was really wondering if I would even finish reading Gideon the Ninth. I have to say I did like the murder mystery aspect of the story. It was interesting to try and see clues or figure out what was going on. That did hold my attention for a bit longer and at times the story did get dark. I definitely wouldn’t want to be in the rooms where experiments were held. Also, closer to the end we do find out a bit more about Gideon and Harrow’s history which makes some things make more sense. This actually made me like these two just a bit more.
Also, I did think that some of the gifts these characters has were pretty interesting. I mean creating a skeleton army from a few bones is rather cool, haha. Unfortunately, this didn’t really make up for what I was missing in the worldbuilding and character development side of the story. I’ve read some reviews that think the same way as me and others that love this book to pieces. That’s the fun thing about this amazing bookish world. I don’t think I’ll be continuing with this series though.
Unfortunately not all books are for everyone. Who knows, maybe my expectations were just too high! Have you read Gideon the Ninth? I’d love to know what you thought. Good or bad, because I am happy that there is a lot of love for this book, even if it wasn’t for me!