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Gideon The Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

If I’m really making this website about things I love, I’ve got to get GIDEON THE NINTH on here. Listen. You know about this book already. I’m late to the game here, though I read this book a while ago (and have yelled about it both in person and on Twitter).

GIDEON THE NINTH is revelatory. It is a genre-bending, swashbuckling, thought-provoking romp through space and death that is at once joyful and terrifying. It is also one of the only books I have read in a long time where I didn’t have a SINGLE THING to say about the prose. There was not a single sentence I would have crafted differently, a single paragraph I wondered about the construction of. The SHEER WORK that went into this incredible novel, to make it this perfect, is mind-blowing.

Tamsyn Muir’s grasp of craft is better than most authors writing today. The fact that she chose to use it to write this gloriously bizarre and beautiful novel is nothing but sheer delight. That we all later found out she consulted ACTUAL SWORD LESBIANS to make sure all of the fighting and choreography were accurate? Double plus star star. I can’t even.

Frankly, I have said the words ‘I can’t even’ about GIDEON THE NINTH more than any book I have ever read, mostly prompted by Gideon herself. Gideon is what brought me to this book – the first line is captivating, and friends who read it ahead of me posted gleeful excerpts that made me pick it up. You see, I don’t read horror. At all. And I haven’t read much hard SF in quite a long time. But I was shocked to discover myself loving this gray-tinged world, where skeletons abound. Because Gideon herself brings it to life. There is a LOT of worldbuilding in this book; from empire to Houses to keeping straight who is partnered with whom and what sort of thing they do for their missing space king. Also, there is a giant murder castle. It’s daunting. I’m not going to lie. Fortunately, you have a partner in your journey: Gideon, who is raunchy, irrepressible, reluctantly good, and always up for punching things. Muir did an amazing job of using the deeply approachable – if relentlessly grumpy – Gideon to tame the academic depths to which she took her worldbuilding, and it works incredibly well.

I have SO MANY thoughts about the ending – if you haven’t read it yet, please prepare to cry BUCKETS – but I will not post spoilers here (if you want my theories, you can DM me on Twitter and I will yell at you PERSONALLY), nor will I theorize about the forthcoming HARROW THE NINTH except to say that I CANNOT WAIT.