Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Shielded (Shielded, #1) by KayLynn Flanders

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.


Gideon the Ninth was…uh, I don’t even know. How to describe this book? It takes place in an ambiguously far future, in an ambiguous solar system full of necromancers. The emperor of said solar system, needing some necromancers, calls them to his big spooky gothic castle on a lonely sea-scaped planet. There is one necromancer from each House (of which there are nine), and accompanying them are their cavalier primaries, aka their parabatai, aka their sworn protectors and partners in crime. In this big spooky gothic castle, the necromancers search through the secrets that will allow them to ascend to Lyctorhood, a fancy immortal-type necromancer (who are incredibly powerful).

Gideon is decidedly not the cavalier primary of Ninth House, but her excellent swordsmanship and the trickiness of Harrowhark, Ninth’s necromancer, lead to her accompanying Harrowhark (Harrow for short) to the Lyctor trials. AND SHIT GOES DOWN.

I really can’t express how big of a finger this book gives to any genre stereotypes or tropes. It’s a science fantasy (?), but also gothic, oh and also, Agatha Christie. It is laugh-out-loud funny (like, genuinely hilarious), and incredibly chilling at times. There is some pretty brutal gore one page, and on the next our lovely Gideon is ogling girls through their too-thin nightgowns. The plot is an unpredictably wild ride across planets and skeleton-filled dungeons, with a nice dash of swimming pools in between. The story doesn’t follow a typical arc, so it may come off as a bit slow in parts for some readers. I didn’t mind it at all–I enjoyed getting to know the quirky cast of characters and just soaking up the atmosphere.

The characters are the main attraction of this show. Harrow, Ninth’s necromancer, is a skeleton queen, a snarky softie, and overall a major badass (in all black. all the time). Gideon is the strong and (unwillingly) silent type, but readers, privy to her inner monologue, get to see some other sides of her. She’s equally as soft as Harrow but with a goofy sense of humor, despite her giant sword. She laughs at all manner of puns and enjoys a good old “that’s what she said” punchline. Harrow and Gideon have a lovely frenemyship with lots of death threats and the occasional awkward hug. It was interesting to see them grow together when they weren’t fantasizing of ways to kill each other.

The overall tone, like the genre, was unique and riveting. Muir’s prose consisted of lovely descriptions punctuated by abrupt and occasionally raunchy humor. I thought this was a great combination because it created a sense of that lush, gothic, deep-space atmosphere while still keeping it genuinely entertaining. Five hundred pages flew by, and I was sad to see it end.

Luckily, the sequel comes out next week! If you are looking to binge some overdramatic sword fighting and skeleton servants, now is the perfect time to pick up Gideon the Ninth.

Happy reading,

December 2019 Wrap-up

Ok so clearly I’m one day late on this (happy 2020, everyone!), but I still wanted to take the time to share what I was up to in this last month. I don’t think I’ll be posting a “best of 2019” or “best of the decade” because I CANNOT CHOOSE, OKAY? There are just too many books in too many genres that are great in different, incomparable, ways. I’m not going to compare Katherine Arden’s excellent fantasy to my newfound love of Murakami. They’re just too different.

Moving on, here’s what I read this month!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Wow. Just wow!! I absolutely adored this book. Ng writes with precise craft and heavy emotion, making even a book about peoples’ everyday lives incredibly gripping.


The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I received a review copy of this and unfortunately, it was a bust. Read my full review here.


Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This woman is just,, amazing? Another wow.


Days of Sugar and Spice written by Loic Clement and illustrated by Anne Montel

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A super-cute, feel-good graphic novel. Read my full review here.


South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Yet another amazing book by this man. This one is one of his more “mundane” novels, but it is strange and magical nonetheless.


Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A spooky Halloween-time read about witches and serial killers. Intrigued? Read my full review here.


Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Perfect for fans of Penumbra. This is a quirky, eccentric, way-out-there read. You will gobble it up.

So I read some pretty fantastic books this month. Overall, a lot more good than bad. For anyone looking for something to read, I think there is a pretty diverse set of genres here, so I would recommend (most of) these!

What did your last month of 2019 look like?

Happy reading,

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope to Find Under My Tree

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope to Find Under My Tree

Books I Hope to Find Under My Tree

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly list originally created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

The theme for this week is Books I Hope to Find Under My Tree. Unfortunately, with my university being on the other side of the country from my hometown (where I celebrate Christmas with my family), it is very hard to ask for physical books for these reasons: 1) I can’t bring heavy books in my suitcase, which wouldn’t be a problem except that 2) I couldn’t possibly finish the books before I have to go back to school. For that reason, these books will probably be purchased on my Kindle, as a gift from myself to myself (you are welcome, self).

Pumpkinheads: Rainbow Rowell unveils cover for graphic ...

  1. Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks

I still have yet to read this graphic novel, and I’ve heard great things about it.

 

 

 

 

Revealing The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha ...

 

2. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Look how pretty this is! I couldn’t really get into The Bone Season, also by Shannon, but this one looks like its up my ally. Also, it is THICK.

 

 

 

 

Circle of Shadows | Evelyn Skye3. Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

I absolutely adored Evelyn Skye’s first series, and this one also sounds really good!

 

 

 

 

 

Crescent City: 'House Of Earth And Blood' By Sarah J. Maas ...

4. Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas

Okay, so this one hasn’t been released yet. But! The prompt only calls for what I want to find under the tree… not what will really be there.

Also, I know people absolutely loathe Maas. Had I started reading her at a later date, maybe I would be one of those people too. But, growing up with Aelin since I was 11 years old has created a special place for her in my heart. I will read whatever this lady writes.

 

 

5. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

This book sounds really wacky. Magical realism, fantasy, and sci-fi wrapped up in some absurd feminist short stories? Yes please.

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday (Or Should I Say “Top Twenty Tuesday ...

6. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

This one is actually waiting under my tree! For my sister though, because I bought it for her (Not that I bought it with any intention of stealing it for myself…).

 

 

 

 

 

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami | Waterstones7. Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

I’m slowly making my way through all of Murakami’s work. So far my favorites are still Sputnik Sweetheart and After Dark. We’ll see where this one ends up!

 

 

 

 

'The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack ...8. The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

How did I not know about this?????? I am fascinated by Jack the Ripper, but this story actually returns the focus to his victims. Also, it won a Goodreads choice award. What’s not to like?

 

 

 

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag – rimpysreads9. The Name of the Wind (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition ) by Patrick Rothfuss

I’m really due for a reread of this and LOOK HOW PRETTY IT IS!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van ...10. Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Johnathan Van Ness

Preferably signed.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading! Link your TTTs below! Do we have any in common?

Artboard 2@300x-100

 

 

 

 

 

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer

 

Witches of Ash and Ruin.png

Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology in an epic clash of witches and gods, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy and A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.

And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.

Amazon

Goodreads

I received a copy from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

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