Guys, Gideon the Ninth by Tamysyn Muir may just be the craziest, banana-pants book I have ever read. And I loved every minute of it. I can’t say that I would have ever considered a book about a necromancer society that includes ghosts, gods, a haunted mansion, and so many skeletons would be something that would work, but OH MY GOD is this story perfection!
In truth, it took me a few chapters to get into the story. The premise, the characters, and the world are all so bizarre that it takes time for your mind to wrap itself around each of them. For example, Gideon and Harrow detest one another, but you have no idea why. You just know that Harrow is unfathomably cruel to Gideon for some reason, and you have to shrug and accept it without understanding their backstory. The same goes for the House of the Ninth and its inhabitants. They are borderline inhuman, and you don’t understand how such a decrepit society can survive or why it even should.
Once you get past your confusion, or simply decide to just go with it, the story becomes this delightfully macabre horror story with a heart. Gideon is such a badass, but more importantly, in spite of the truly shitty childhood she had as an orphan of the Ninth, she is one of the most compassionate people we meet. She truly cares about others and yearns to experience love of her own. All the years of solitude and torture from others never hardened her heart.
Ms. Muir does reward your patience by providing the necessary backstory to understand Gideon’s and Harrow’s relationship as well as Harrow’s infuriating penchant for silence and misdirection. Plus, we finally get an understanding of just what Harrow and the other heirs are trying to accomplish. The reveals don’t necessarily redeem some of the characters’ behaviors, but they do help make sense of the entire story.
By the end, I could not get enough of Gideon. I simply adore her. Not only do I appreciate a character with a good sense of snark, but I love her fierce determination, her loyalty when no one deserves it, and her inability to give in to bullying or a losing situation. We could all learn a little something from her.
I have no idea where the story is going but I cannot wait for the next installment of The Locked Tomb trilogy. Ms. Muir has a phenomenal story going here, with characters that are bizarre, hilarious, and dark. Truly, Gideon the Ninth is everything I love in a story.