“Lesbian necromancers in space.” It’s one hell of a tagline, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. The space-faring fantasy debut from Tamsyn Muir, Gideon the Ninth is a tale of intrigue, murder, greasepaint, and … well … Gideon.
The premise in this trilogy-starter is far from simple. Eponymous heroine Gideon Nav is a foundling, taken in as an infant by the Ninth House — a court of necromancers who live inside the guts of a remote planet, away from light and amusement. Growing up in the Ninth hasn’t been easy for Gideon. Aside from her rival, the Reverend Daughter Harrowhark “Harrow” Nonagesimus, Gideon was the only child of her age in the Ninth House. Doomed to live in perpetuity as an indentured servant of the Ninth, Gideon itches to escape and join the Emperor’s military forces.
Moments before Gideon’s final escape attempt is set to go off, Harrow intercepts her with an announcement. The Emperor has demanded that each of the Houses send their necromancer heirs and cavaliers to compete in a series of trials for a shot at becoming his Lyctors — the most elite warriors necromancer society has to offer. With her cowardly cavalier nowhere to be found, Harrow needs Gideon to represent the Ninth House as its newest cavalier primary. In exchange, she promises to grant Gideon her freedom from bondage to the Ninth.
What neither of them expects is to be thrust into an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery in the Emperor’s domain. The seventeen representatives of the Second through Ninth Houses gather at Canaan House — a crumbling manor with plenty of secrets to unlock. Those secrets include the path to Lyctorhood, which each cavalier-necromancer team is responsible for finding out for themselves. A set of rules has been put into place to ensure that proceedings are orderly, but rules were made to be broken. When other competitors start turning up dead, Gideon and Harrow will have to work past their differences — or at least grin and bear them — in order to make it out alive.
Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth is a quirky and engrossing novel, fleshed out with walking skeletons and an eponymous, lesbian memelord who will quickly become your favorite hero of the decade.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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