Review: Gideon the Ninth

Gideon the Ninth was my only five star read last month and it was SO FREAKING AMAZING that it has motivated me to write my first non-netgalley/book tour related review in almost 2 years. 

I need to warn you that since I have so many emotions about this book any eloquence that I had (which to be honest wasn’t much to begin with) has completely left me. So this review will be a mess of exclamation points and flat our exclamations encouraging you to read this masterpiece.

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Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository // Indie

First off, I have to talk about the ~atmosphere~. When I started the book I was a little bit confused because from what I had heard, I was expecting a more classical fantasy sort of setting. Not to worry though! Because the actual setting is even better. Gideon the Ninth is like a space odyssey type science fiction with similar vibes to both Star Wars and Red Rising. There are classic fantasy tropes like bodyguard and “magic” user, but it takes place in space where there are 9 clans of necromancers who are under some sort of Emperor. While you do manage to get a good glimpse of the world in this book it is still a little bit finite because of the setting of the story, so I am hoping to learn more about the world in Harrow the Ninth. 

Me when I realized that this book takes place in space

Though I was confused at the setting, I would label the world-building as good overall. I will admit that there was a lot of information lacking about how the general world operates outside of the arcane contest with necromancers, however, once the book started to focus on that plotline everything began to make a lot more sense.

If I was asked to describe the plot I’d say that it’s sort of like if childhood friends teamed up in order to win a competition. Except in this book the childhood friends actually hate each other and the prize in the competition is immortality and the opportunity to serve a strange everlasting entity called the Resurrection.  Plotwise, the story does start off a little slow, but the characters drew me in and kept me hooked until things started picking up. And no spoilers but the ending destroyed me and I can’t wait for Harrow the Ninth to pick me up off of the floor only to crush all my hopes and dreams again. 

Gideon @ Harrow @ Gideon

My favorite part of this book was definitely the characters! Gideon is my new favorite person ever. She’s a badass lesbian with a sword, and reading from her perspective was so funny that I found myself laughing throughout the book. She’s sarcastic and witty, and I found it very refreshing to read from the perspective of what would have been the sidekick character in any other fantasy book. (Also two months ago I cut my hair and let’s just say that if I was a little braver and there was a book convention this year I would 100% paint my face like a skull and cosplay as Gideon). 

Other iconic characters include Harrow, the heartless necromancer that Gideon is in charge of protecting in exchange for her freedom. There are some other people in the book, but honestly, Gideon and Harrow are the two most important people so if you want to find out about the other characters I guess you’ll just have to read it for yourself. And while there are a lot of other characters, the good thing is that a lot of them die so you don’t have to bother remembering their names. 

That moment when there are 18+ characters to remember

5 stars

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I gave Gideon the Ninth 5 stars! I liked the characters, the relationships, and the ending. It was also the most immersive book that I had read in a while.

Gideon the Ninth is dark, deathly, and wonderful, and as promised this review is incredibly disjointed. If you’re into awesome necromancer lesbians with swords and enough sass to fill up an entire galaxy then you should check out this book! And then get back to me so that we can rant about it together!

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 Do you enjoy books set in space? Have you read Gideon the Ninth? Would you rather great worldbuilding or great characters?


25 thoughts on “Review: Gideon the Ninth

    1. Thank you!! Oh definitely! I also just realized that I can’t even answer that question myself since word-building and characters are both super important parts of a story 😂

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  1. I’ve wanted to read this for a while but now I’m even more excited to read it! I didn’t realise it was set in space either and now I can’t wait to read about fantasy lesbians in space, literally everything I could want in a book

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    1. Aah, yayyy!! I’m so happy that you’re excited! The space part took me by surprise, I wasn’t expecting it at all 😅 I think that’s what happens when every book with any type of magic automatically gets labeled as a fantasy. I hope you enjoy it when you read it!

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  2. Ok, Chana, this review was so good that you’ve got me interested in this book again 🧐 i tried to read like, the first two pages, and i was pretty confused… and then a couple of bad reviews started appearing (and most criticized the confusing worldbuilding), so i was like, “guess this isn’t for me.” but you’ve got me excited for this book again!! mayhaps i can rub my two brain cells together, and figure out what’s going on in this book in order to get that f/f enemies-to-lovers goodness

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    1. Aaah, yay!! I definitely agree that the beginning was confusing and I actually got my copy of the book because one of my friends started it and was too confused so she just peddled it on to me 😅 If you do give it another try I hope you like it! If not feel free to come and rant at me 😂

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  3. Awesome review! If I wasn’t already sold on reading this book, your review would have definitely done it for me. Even after reading quite a few reviews about it, I had no idea this book was set in space and honestly that just makes me even more excited to read it! Glad you enjoyed it so much 😀 I can’t wait to meet the characters and dive into this dark world!

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    1. Thank you! The space part really came out of *nowhere*. Most of the criticism that I saw for the book was based around the worldbuilding, so I think that starting the book knowing that it takes place in space makes it infinitely less confusing. I hope you enjoy it!

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  4. I love reviews like this as it shows how much you enjoyed it. I got this book recently and still haven’t picked it up yet as I’m nervous but I’m thinking I should just plunge right in as it sounds fantastic. Maybe I should wait for the second book, though, then I can have a full old binge of these books together.

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    1. Ooh, yes!! The second book is coming out in like 3 months I think so that’s not so long! I am super excited for it (obviously). I hope you enjoy Gideon the Ninth when you read it!


  5. great review, chana!! honestly thank you for your description of the setting because i knew it was space-y but then it also looked like it was more fantasy than sci-fi, so your explanation helped. i’m really excited to read this one — i’ve heard that it’s super dark and i love that, and i think i’ll fall in love with the characters just like you did!

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    1. Thank you!! The setting is really the thing that confused me, and honestly, I have that problem *a lot*. Mostly because a lot of books fall under a blanket category of “fantasy”, and I always just assume that it’s traditional fantasy and then it ends up being sci-fi fantasy or urban fantasy 😅

      It’s so dark and wonderful 😍 I really hope you enjoy it!

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  6. I have been waiting for Gideon the Ninth from my library for so long (I’m first in the queue now!) and after reading your review I am anticipating it even more!
    My goodness: “while there are a lot of other characters, the good thing is that a lot of them die” – I didn’t think I would ever come across that sentence, but it got a genuine grin out of me :’)
    To answer your final questions: I sometimes enjoy books set in space (even though I am terrified of space) and I think I would rather great characters over great world building, but ideally I want both 🙂
    Great review Chana! I don’t think it was disjointed at all!

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    1. Aah, thank you, Sabrina!! I’m so happy that my review got you excited for the book and that you think it’s not disjointed 😄🥰

      Space is terrifying! Especially when it’s in those eerie sci-fi books where everything’s big and empty (I’m having flashbacks to every single scary Doctor Who episode I’ve ever seen 😅). I agree that I’d prefer great characters to great worldbuilding, usually because I cannot stand one-dimensional characters.

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  7. I had absolutely no idea that this was set in space 😂 from the blurb I’d never have guessed that. I’m glad you enjoyed this so much!! Hopefully you’ll get to read the sequel soon (:

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    1. I know! Sometimes there’s an issue of the blurb spoiling the book, and sometimes it doesn’t give enough information 😂 Aaah, it comes out soon and I’m so excited!

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      1. I definitely agree with you there. I hate it when blurbs reveal something that happens like a third of the way through the book that could have came as an amazing twist. That’s why I don’t reread blurbs before picking books up now 😂 yay that’s wonderful ☺️


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