If you’re a fan of Nevernight and experiencing a giant hole after finishing Darkdawn, then you’ll need to pick this up and fill that gap with some more dark fantasy.
The entire story read like you’re watching an anime. It was like Soul Eater plus Tokyo Ghoul and Assassination Classroom and any other horror/humor anime there’s out there. I absolutely ate it up with a giant freaking spoon! I love me some dark humor and some dark fantasy and this delivers both.
Gideon the Ninth follows Gideon Nav, a young orphan who’s lived in the Ninth House for her entire life and she’s had enough. After hundreds of attempted escapes, Gideon thought she was finally close to leaving the wretched planet and enlisting as a solider to the bigger planetary system. However, Harrow, a young necromancer and Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House has other plans for her. Instead of letting Gideon go, she decides to enlist her as a cavalier, basically the muscle for each necromancer house. Once Gideon is assigned cavalier primary, she and Harrow travel to the First House where they’ll meet representatives of the other houses and start their training to become Lyctors; the most powerful necromancers in the world. Of course, the honor isn’t just handed to them. There are tricks and twists within the First House all leading to this ultimate power.
Ok, so that basically gives you some insight into how the book starts, but I won’t be going into the story’s details because it might be too spoiler-y.
Gideon the Ninth was an 800-page novel cleverly disguised as a 400-page novel. This book is DENSE filled with heavy character development and massive action sequences. The story starts off sprinting and that’s where I found it to be the most confusing and eventually became a running theme to this novel for me.
Tamsyn Muir kept her cards very close to the chest being careful not to reveal too many secrets and surprises until the end. While I did scratched my head for a lot of the book, I also spent a good deal wanting to know more. I love books like this because there’s so much missing that you know will eventually show up so you keep reading and the world reveals itself to you. The downside to this method is that you might get some impatient readers who can’t wait until page 300 to get to the point.
But as the story unfolds and more info is revealed, you start to see the twisted and demented world Tamsyn Muir invented here. What Tamsyn Muir packs into this book is enough for probably the entire series, but we’re only dealing with the first book!
Aside from issues with the writing style, the rest of the story is fantastic. I think what really sells this book is how many surprises it can give you and the characters themselves. Gideon is probably my favorite character ever just because she was so direct. She didn’t know something, she asked. She got the gist of the situation, she started fighting. She had the weirdest things to say and to be honest, it felt like I was hearing myself speak. Harrow was also a great character and her dynamic relationship with Gideon felt like two sisters who’ve been fighting each other forever. It felt natural and I loved it.
Overall, a brilliant story with some amazing characters and a very strong start to a new bold series. This isn’t a scary book. There are horrors here, but nothing that will creep up on you and freak you out. But it is a dark fantasy with a lot of bones and blood and sinewy, so please be cautious if you’re not into that. If you like fantasy stories that are wildly imaginative and action sequences where the fighters are ruthless, then you’ll love this story. I can’t wait to see the second installment!