Official book description:
The Emperor needs necromancers.
The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.
Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.
Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.
Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.
Of course, some things are better left dead.
Selling this books under “Lesbian necromancers in space” feels a bit disingenuous. Yes, Gideon likes women, but there is very little romance of any kind to speak of, people are far too busy sniping at each other, challenging each other to duels, exploring their super creepy surrounding, solving grisly murders or trying to be the best necromancer they can be. I don’t think the word lesbian is even used at any point throughout the story.
I’ve seen some people get completely beside themselves with enthusiasm about this book. Like full heart eyes emoji. I’ve seen it mentioned on more than one “Best of 2019”-list, which considering it came out in September, is impressive. While I really did think the book turned out to be a lot of fun, and rather splendid once we got past the rather draggy start and introduction of the ridiculously large cast of characters, there are absolutely things about the plot, characterisation and world building that could have been better. Quite a few times while reading, I found myself confused as to what was going on or who Gideon and/or Harrow were dealing with, and in a perfect book, that wouldn’t be the case.
Full review on my blog.