I Am Not A Bookworm- a review of Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Our final Pride Month read is a sci fi with lesbians and skeletons, written by a lesbian author who was raised in my homeland New Zealand!

Gideon couldn’t care less for the house of the ninth, but when she is chosen to accompany the Reverend Daughter Harrowhawk her chances of escaping the necromantic hellhole of her home are completely thwarted. For the Emperor has summoned the best necromancers of each of the nine planets and their cavaliers, which Gideon has been newly appointed as. The two childhood nemesises must join forces to complete challenges and ascend to the first house to join the Emperor’s side. But these games have become particularly deadly as the nature of these challenges get revealed.

This book is very dense. The writing style made it at times difficult to follow along, and on account of my brain being small I must rate this lower. This is especially difficult considering that if I didn’t read the next part of a book within 24 hours I would forget a lot of what happened previously. A bookworm would love this, but I don’t think I am a bookworm anymore with how long it took me to read this and understand everything.

The characters, and the book itself, had so much character to it. I will admit at times it was difficult to keep track of cast and who was who, but it paid off very fast. With each pair of characters having their own flavour of undeath and their relationships standing out in powerful ways. The character aesthetics tied each character off with a little bow, so I could love each and every one of them in their own little ways. No to mention how easily their motivations were shown.

That being said, Harrow and Gideon’s relationship could have been a bit more than what it wound up being at the end of the book. It didn’t quite hit the enemies to lovers fantasy that everyone said it would be, and that kind of disappointed me. Things were either so rushed or so slow at the wrong times and I don’t think they had the chemistry for it.

The complexity of learning this magic system was salvaged by a very simple plot. A contest is a classic! People underestimate how styles of plots can really make a story what it is. Fantasy and sci fi get so hooked up on quests and journeys that it was refreshing to see another contest in this genre, especially with the addition of puzzles that teach us about the complexities of necromancy.

Gideon the Ninth gets a score of 3.5/5. If I was a bookworm this would have been better.

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