Gideon the Ninth lives in Drearburgh, the seat of the Ninth House. Together with the other eight houses, the nine form the realm of the Emperor. Each house has their own characteristic, mythology, and strengths. Gideon longs to leave the Ninth and join the Cohort, aka the realm’s army. Her plans are put on hold when a summons from the Emperor calls all of the house heirs and their cavaliers to the First House for a competition to be one of his Lyctors. A series of mysteries, challenges, murders, and friendships takes the reader on a wild journey.
To be honest, I didn’t get into this book at first. I’m not a big fan of gothic lit and the world building is wildly confusing. Oddly enough, after awhile I realized that the confusion is part of the world. As a reader you have to embrace it rather than strive against it. Once all of the houses came together, it made a little more sense. And things really picked up! I haven’t read a book in awhile that I would come home to after work and want to just devour as much as I could until bedtime. Not only was the intrigue and action well done, but the character development was amazing. There were characters that I didn’t like but changed as their motivations and personalities shone through. By the end of the book there were several characters that I actually missed. The sarcasm and dark humor throughout the book keeps the tone from melodrama and being too stressful. It’s another of the elements I enjoyed.
This is definitely a re-read for me, just on the characters alone. My one reservation is the ending. It didn’t sit well with me. Not enough to keep it from a five-star review, but enough that it’s something I want to discuss with others who have read the book in order to make sense of it. If you’re looking for a book to make you wonder and laugh all at the same time, this one is for you.