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Gideon the Ninth
2019
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Library Journal Review
The King Undying, necromancer emperor, summons representatives from the eight great houses across space to the planet where Canaan House, a mysterious and perhaps haunted manor, waits to test their mettle. Gideon Nav, a rebellious (and gloriously snarky) swordswoman, is pressed into service as retainer to her despised childhood nemesis Harrowhark, the Ninth House's greatest necromancer, as they compete to pass the tests to become elite servants of the emperor. The two will unearth dark secrets and encounter gallons of spilled blood before the trials are resolved. The world and magic are complex and surprising, Gideon is a complicated and often hilarious protagonist, and the necromantic battles are gleefully violent and weird in the best way possible. Muir's debut novel (first of a trilogy) is highly bingeable, and narrator Moira Quirk gives it a lively voice, adeptly managing the large cast of necromancers and cavaliers, and turning on a dime from cynical sarcasm to passionate sincerity. VERDICT Recommended for readers who appreciate immersive worldbuilding like Max Gladstone's Empress of Forever (which also features a badass queer woman protagonist) or V.E. Schwab's "Shades of Magic" series.--Jason Puckett, Georgia State Univ. Lib, Atlanta
Publishers Weekly Review
Queer necromancers vie for power, solve ancient puzzles, and cross rapiers while exploring haunted deep-space ruins in this madcap science fantasy romp that manages to be both riotously funny and heartbreaking. Eighteen-year-old orphan Gideon Nav has spent her life devising ways to escape indentured servitude to the Ninth House. When Harrowhark Nonagesimus, the sole daughter and heir to the Ninth, sees a chance to become a Lyctor, right hand to the Necromancer Divine, she needs a cavalier by her side if she hopes to beat out the candidates of the other eight Houses-and only Gideon will do. Much as her necromancers do with human remains, Muir effortlessly compiles macabre humor, body horror, secrets, and tenderness into the stitched-together corpse of a dark universe, then brings it to life with a delightfully chaotic, crackling cast of characters and the connective tissue of their relationships. From the mad science joys of necromantic theory to the deliciously ever-evolving tension between Gideon and Harrow, this adventurous novel not only embraces its strangeness but wrings delight from it. The result is an addictive, genre-bending book that will wow readers with its vibrant energy, endearing cast, and emotional gut-punch of a finale. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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