Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

The book club that I am a member of reads a different genre of book each month. In October, our genre is Fantasy/Horror in keeping with Halloween at the end of the month. Currently we are reading Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, the first book of The Locked Tomb series. This is a popular book that I was familiar with but had decided not to read before it became club’s selection. My instinct was right.

The story centers around an orphan on a planet of necromancers protecting their empire from some great danger buried there. She was raised with the princess of the planet who treated her with contempt despite the fact that they were the only two children on the planet. Shortly after the novel begins, they are both called to the First planet (theirs is the Ninth planet, referring to their house rather than the planet’s distance from its sun) at the call of the emperor. Once there, they and everyone else called embark on a quest to become an immortal guardian who helps defend the empire at the side of the emperor. But things go sideways as they compete for this honor. The bulk of the story describes this quest and the mysteries surrounding it.

The world is very dark. It is also incredibly violent and graphic. It revolves around necromancy and the power one gets from the dead and dying. I found the mystery mildly interesting. The world, not so much. The main character is poorly developed from my perspective. She is a bit snarky. This could have worked but felt more lame than clever. And it was just enough for her to be irritating rather than charming. She is no Han Solo. Overall, I found the world building weak. There was barely enough there to hold the story together but not enough to hold my interest. If I had not been reading this for my book club, I would not have finished it. Turns out my first impression before I read it was accurate—it’s not for me. Naturally, I won’t be reading any more of the series.

My rating: 2/5

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