Review: Gideon the Ninth

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

Against a star-filled sky, surrounded by exploding skeletons stands a fighting-fit ginger-haired woman, her rapier in her right hand extended.  She faces the reader, her face obscured by skull paint and her eyes masked by aviator glasses.

Tamsyn Muir's first novel, Gideon the Ninth, is an utter delight! I told myself I wouldn't gush about it, but too bad. I'm gushing.

Horror, mystery, scifi, and very low fantasy all scrumble together into one terrific romp through a terror-infested galaxy. Muir tumbles necromancers together with a ten-thousand year old mystery in a moldering palace and gives us gold.

Gideon Nav was dropped on the Ninth House as an unwanted orphan babe, and proceeded to flummox the Ninth every moment of her young, irreverent life. Now of an age to get the hell out of Dodge, she packs her bag, grabs her trusty two-hander and smutty magazines, and makes ready to rendezvous with her shuttle. As always, though, Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House--and Gideon's forever thorn-in-the-flesh--has other plans.

Muir has created a galaxy both grim and arcane. Her characters vibrate with glorious and cheeky drive. The whole story is a gust of fresh air through the ranks of sometimes-stodgy science fantasy. I completely loved it. <gush gush>

I suspect there will be a ton of writers trying to emulate Muir's success in the coming years. It's clear, though, that the best success is writing what you love as well as you possibly can. No one who didn't adore the idea of a galaxy ruled by necromancers and love could have given voice to such a wry, juicy, action-packed and sometimes poignant romp as this.

Go ahead, read it for yourself. I'd love to hear what you think. Tell me if I'm wrong.

* Disclaimer: Links on this post go to, an online-only, independent bookstore which shares its earnings with other indie bookstores across the US. As an affiliate, I receive a small commission for every purchase made through such links.

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