Recently, I said all kinds of deeply superlative things about Tamsyn Muir’s mastery of prose in GIDEON THE NINTH. I was a child. An infant. An idiot baby. The sheer force of will it took to wrestle HARROW THE NINTH into being, to create the structure of this book and every perfect scene in it, is mind blowing. I am fairly sure that Tamsyn Muir is some kind of god. Holding this entire story inside a mere human’s brain seems wildly implausible.
There were so many times when I rounded a carefully crafted plot corner and thought oh! I get it now! I’ve got it, I know what will happen! And I was wrong every. single. time. Wrong in such delightful ways.
HARROW THE NINTH is the book that GIDEON THE NINTH was teaching you to read. I suppose it is physically possible to read HARROW first, or independently, in that you probably have eyeballs, or ear holes, and can most likely squish the words into them. But HARROW is the glorious compilation of GIDEON. It takes the story you knew and loved and does unspeakable, gruesome things to it, and then laughs and tells a few Dad jokes while it upends your entire notion of what you thought could possibly happen and makes you fall desperately in love with literally everyone on every page. It answers questions, raises new ones, and then chuckles about how naive the notion of simple questions and answers is. It flings you deeper into the world of the Nine Houses than ever before, while simultaneously stripping it away completely. It defies words. It is words. And I finished reading it and knew that I would struggle to find my own words to describe it (other than the quiet “holy shit” I breathed out loud as I closed the final page. That came easy).
The worst part of getting an advance copy of HARROW is that I have read it TOO SOON, and cannot unread it. And now I’m forced to wait until it comes out, and then wait even more for the third book in the series. I need it. I NEED IT.