Melanie's Reviews > Gideon the Ninth

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, lgbtqiap, arc, read-in-2019, sci-fi, adult, book-expo-2019, sapphic

ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review.

“The more you struggle against the Ninth, Nav, the deeper it takes you; the louder you curse it, the louder they’ll have you scream.”

Hi, my name is Melanie, and this was a really hard review to write for many reasons. First, I think I have hyped this book for all of 2019, and I have been very vocal about it being my favorite book of the year, and the best debut I’ve ever had the privilege of reading. Next, how do you write a review on the book of your heart? The book that feels like it was crafted for you? The book that has lit up the darkest places of your soul? It’s hard, friends. Truly. Lastly, I know nothing I say here will do this book justice. But I suppose I should give it a try regardless, aye?

Gideon the Ninth is a book about a swordfighter named Gideon who is my favorite literary character of all time. Gideon is so witty, so funny, so charming, and such a thorn in Harrowhark’s side. Harrowhark is a necromancer, while also being the main ruler of the Ninth’s planet. Both of these characters are harboring a few secrets of their own, but they are both so unsure of their pasts and their futures for so very many reasons.

That is, until one day the Emperor has invited all eight necromancer heirs, from all eight loyal Houses, to compete in unknown trails to possibly ascend into something that will make them immortal, but the costs of losing can very well be their lives. No necromancer can compete without a skilled cavalier by their side, and Harrowhark has no choice but to get Gideon to help her and save the future of the Ninth House.
“You are the honoured heirs and guardians of the eight Houses. Great duties await you. If you do not find yourself a galaxy, it is not so bad to find yourself a star, nor to have the Emperor know that the both of you attempted this great ordeal.”

But once Gideon and Harrowhark arrive on the Emperor’s planet, they soon realize that the tasks are going to be much more mysterious and much more difficult than anyone could have predicted. Especially when cavaliers and necromancers from the other houses start getting murdered. Gideon is not only tasked to help Harrowhark, she also has to ensure that she keeps breathing herself, while also trying to figure out who is doing the unspeakable things to other competitors.

Tamsyn then leads us on this beautiful adventure, where twist after twist occurs so seamlessly that you can’t help but feel completely enthralled. The writing is so beautiful, so intelligent, and so very impressive. And the way the entire story is told is so very transportive! I mean, this book has one of the scariest settings I’ve read all year, but I felt like I was right there battling for my life, with a goofy smile on my face. And the atmosphere and constant chill while reading? It’s unparalleled and truly an experience like no other.

“Maybe it’s that I find the idea comforting . . . that thousands of years after you’re gone . . . is when you really live. That your echo is louder than your voice.”

I love this book for many reasons, but I also love it because it’s over the top, and has so many one-liners, and it’s painfully romantic, and the girl gets the girl at the end. And it’s what’s I’ve been waiting my whole reading life for. This is a better, and way more unique, and 100% more impressive version of what straight, white dudes have been publishing in SFF forever. I keep seeing people say that they feel this book is too confusing, the characters too over the top, and the world too complex, but I just don’t feel that way at all. This is the story my sapphic loving heart has been searching for in epic fantasy my whole life. Gideon the Ninth is my queer, literary loving heart’s anthem, and I plan to play it on repeat forever.

This book has the best enemies to lovers romance I’ve ever read in all of my years. Yeah, you read that right. In my whole freaking life, this is my favorite. I’m talking OTP for the rest of my days. I didn’t exist before this ship sailed in this first book. And this book also has such a central theme of trust, and what it means to put your trust in another. Also, what it means to be trustful, and the privilege of having someone put their trust in you, unconditionally. And this book also has an amazing discussion on power dynamics and imbalances, and how important it is to be aware of these things while putting your trust in yourself and in someone else, simultaneously.

“You are my only friend. I am undone without you.”

Overall, this really just felt like the book I’ve been waiting my own personal eternity for. This felt like the book of my dreams and my hopes. All I want is ownvoices queer books, with f/f relationships, with cutthroat girls putting themselves first, but allowing themselves to be vulnerable enough to maybe let someone else get to see a softer side of them. Almost like I’ve been reviewing books for five years now, preparing myself to read and review Gideon the Ninth, even though I know no word combination or sentence structure I could ever come up with could do it justice for this story. Basically, I know this book isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you feel like you have similar reading taste to me, then I implore you to give this one a try. I mean, if the tagline “Lesbian Necromancers in Space” isn’t going to sell you, hopefully my emotional, bleeding heart self can. This book means everything to me, and I hope you enjoy if you pick it up.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and Trigger Warnings: graphic violence, gore, murder, mass murder, human sacrifice, many conversations about suicide, death, death of children, talk of depression, grief depiction, trauma depiction, loss of a loved one, lots of blood depiction, self-harm to get blood, and mentions of cancer.

Also, I was so blessed, and I was able to meet Tamsyn at BookExpo and she is honestly the sweetest necromancer in the world, and she truly made my entire convention! 🖤⚔️
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Reading Progress

March 19, 2018 – Shelved
March 19, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
March 23, 2018 – Shelved as: fantasy
March 23, 2018 – Shelved as: lgbtqiap
January 29, 2019 – Shelved as: arc
January 29, 2019 – Shelved as: read-in-2019
March 8, 2019 – Shelved as: sci-fi
March 8, 2019 – Shelved as: adult
May 1, 2019 – Started Reading
May 5, 2019 – Finished Reading
June 11, 2019 – Shelved as: book-expo-2019
July 14, 2020 – Shelved as: sapphic

Comments Showing 1-50 of 51 (51 new)

Erin :) 100% agree ✨

MangoLoverReads Oh yes. I’m in!

message 3: by Elle (new) - added it

Elle I so envy your shelves right now!! *-*

message 4: by Hayley (new)


message 5: by Emma (new) - added it

Emma L. OMG YASSSS that this novel did you justice

ⒶH-ℳℰⒾ ♔♚♛Queen Of The Fat Cats♛♚♔ Finally!! A book that isn't YA. Your review is so so good that I'll read this one.

gelowmichael so excited to read the ARC!

Melanie Erin wrote: "100% agree ✨"

My heart! 💖xx

Melanie MangoLoverReads wrote: "Oh yes. I’m in!"

Yesss! Happy reading, love! 💖xx

Melanie Elle wrote: "I so envy your shelves right now!! *-*"

Hehe, I am very blessed. 💖xx



Melanie Emma wrote: "OMG YASSSS that this novel did you justice"

I am crying the happiest of tears, I swear, love! 💖xx

Melanie AMY(pronounced Ah-MEI)♥Queen Of The Fat Cats♥ wrote: "Finally!! A book that isn't YA. Your review is so so good that I'll read this one."

Hehe, I have been very slacking on Adult SFF this year. Adult Romance though..... haha! 💖xx

Melanie gelowmichael wrote: "so excited to read the ARC!"

I hope you love it! Happy reading! 💖xx

Leigh Kramer YAY! You're making me even more excited to read it.

message 16: by J.A. (new) - rated it 5 stars

J.A. Ironside I'm so close to finishing Gideon the Ninth now. And I love it! 💖

message 17: by s t e p h a n y (new)

s t e p h a n y ♡ I can’t wait to get my pre-order 🖤

message 18: by Fadi (new) - added it

Fadi Antwan Can’t wait for your review AND to read this!!!

Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰ Glad you got such a winner, Mel <3 Can't wait for the official review x

message 20: by Autumn Byrd (new) - added it

Autumn Byrd I pre-ordered this the minute I saw your review! We have such similar reading tastes and I was like "If Melanie loved it, then I need this book in my life!" ❤️

Capri’sBookIsland Oh shit YEAH.

Melanie Leigh wrote: "YAY! You're making me even more excited to read it."

I truly think you're going to LOVE this one, Leigh! 💖xx

Melanie J.A. wrote: "I'm so close to finishing Gideon the Ninth now. And I love it! 💖"

I see the five stars, bb, and I'm LIVING! 💖xx

Melanie Stephany wrote: "I can’t wait to get my pre-order 🖤"

I can't wait for you to, too, bb! 💖xx

Melanie Fadi wrote: "Can’t wait for your review AND to read this!!!"

It is...... half done... hahaha! But I don't even think I'm going to be able to do this one justice! Happy reading, love! 💖xx

Melanie Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰ wrote: "Glad you got such a winner, Mel <3 Can't wait for the official review x"

*heavy breathing* soon, bb, soon! And I love you, and i hope you love this one! 💖xx

Melanie Autumn Byrd wrote: "I pre-ordered this the minute I saw your review! We have such similar reading tastes and I was like "If Melanie loved it, then I need this book in my life!" ❤️"

You are going to love this one SO damn much, and I'm ready for it! 💖xx

Melanie Capri’sBookIsland wrote: "Oh shit YEAH."

*heavy breathing* 💖xx

message 29: by julianna ➹ (new) - added it

julianna ➹ wow you are so iconic

message 30: by Sierra (new) - added it

Sierra wow! this has me so hype for the book now!!

Bethany Why is this not ups yet?!!! Lol!

message 32: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Happy birthday beautiful Melanie. Such an amazing review! You are a blessing to this community every day. <3

I thought , this was the best review ever .
Grasias Amigo !

Aoife - Bookish_Babbling I am so glad that this not only lived up to its promise for you, but that it surpassed your expectations and gave you a new OTP.
Your excitment for this is contagious, keep being you and thanks for another fantastic review.

Happy Birthday babes

sofia (sam willows) I requested an arc of this because of you and loved it so much!!!! like i was sobbing for 30 minutes after i finished it

message 36: by Tiffany K. Kolb (new)

Tiffany K. Kolb Tiffany love you so I don't have any idea when you'll see 👀and I don't know how to get it to me about my life,which will make sure to the best ways to improve on the Luminescent Luminescent of the same time I love it

Michaela (Journey into Books) Amazing review, this book seem slike one after my own heart and I cant wait to read it 💜💜

message 38: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara Senteney Great review, I plan to buy the book in the near future, even though the last review I read was negative. I have to decide for myself.Thanks

h o l l i s Melanie, you are the reason I have been so excited about this book for so long, you are the reason I moved heaven and earth to get an ARC, and I can't thank you enough. never stop being you!

this was so great, though I didn't do it justice because of life and slumps, but I still had the best time. reading your review made me love it all the more, too. this is so fabulous!

message 40: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Waite Guess I know what I'm picking up next! Lol

message 41: by Tessa (new)

Tessa in North Florida Thanks for trigger warnings. I wouldn’t be able to read this.

Brigid I knew you had taste.

message 43: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara Senteney Great review, now I have seen reviews for and against this book, so I may have to read it just to see for myself

Sonja ✧・゚。★・゚☾ This book sounds so good, I'm definitely gonna try to read it this year! I love your review, Melanie 💖

Ow1goddess I just wanted to say that I also felt like this book was made just for me. I will have to see what else you like, because we must have something important in common.

Nataliya Wonderful review, Melanie. I love how much you love this book.

Marc *Dark Reader of the Woods* I would add a 'like' but you're currently at 666 and it would be a shame to spoil that.

message 48: by Blair (new) - added it

Blair Silverlock I appreciate you calling out “straight, white dudes“ in the SFF genre –I’m a gay, white dude – I have recently abandoned reading some books for exactly that reason (Sexist, racist, etc.)— I have no tolerance any more for “straight, white dudes” throwing in some lesbian love for good measure (to show how open-minded they are?). I don’t usually want to be judgey but it seems such authors just can’t help themselves sometimes. I know a truly good author should be able to portray any sorts of characters and relationships…

message 49: by Blair (new) - added it

Blair Silverlock BTW “Gideon the Ninth is next on my reading list – thanks for your great review.

message 50: by Lis (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lis I’ve already bought the book but this review has affirmed for me that I made the right choice. Great review!

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