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