I’ve read quite a few fantastic five-star books this year, from The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon in Spring, to Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin (find my review here), or very recently, Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey. But Gideon beats them all. It is weird and confusing, non-sensical and dark, but it is amazing. I’ve been recommending this to my friends non-stop, and I’ve been thinking about it and wanting nothing more than a reread ever since I finished it! If only there were more hours in the day…
PUBLICATION DATE: 10/09/2019
STAR RATING: 5/5 ✶
SUMMARY: Gideon Nav, 18, is so over it. Stuck in the Ninth House, with only the hated Harrow for age-appropriate company, all she wants is to be let go and join the army. But Harrow has different plans for Gideon, and drags her along to a sort of necromantic competition in a mysterious complex on a different planet as her cavalier (better known as an armed sidekick). And then people start to disappear and die, and the two women have to figure out how not to kill each other in the mean time.
OPINIONS: Well, I might be slightly in love with Gideon. She is a take-no-shit sassy badass and might be one of the greatest characters I’ve read. Her deadpan delivery of unexpected comments was one of my favourite parts about this book and a constant source of amusement. Standoffish Harrow and the rest of the Dramatis Personae of Gideon the Ninth did not lag far behind the titular characters. The necromancers and their cavaliers all had their own quirks and motivations, which shone through the story. Their fraught relationships built the heart of this story, if not the brain. In competition with each other, the couples had to navigate their own issues and goals with the events they were all confronted with together, which made for incredibly interesting reading and multi-dimensional characters and relationships. In Gideon and Harrow’s relationship in particular we get quite a bit of introspection on it, confronting Gideon’s thoughts with her actions.
These characters and relationships, together with the nine necromantic houses, set on individual planets, make for a unique concept, which does not lack in execution. I was unable to foresee anything that happened in this novel, which is incredibly rare and made me love it so much more. While the book is very dark, it hit the sweet spot of humour for me, and I found it highly entertaining. In short, Gideon the Ninth is weird and dark and delightful and you should all read it! I know I will be doing a reread as soon as I get my hands on a finished copy.
However, I do have to add the caveat that Gideon the Ninth is very much not for everyone, as it can also seem rather nonsensical and confusing, and I feel like the humour can be very hit or miss.