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Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, 1)

โ€œ๐๐ฎ๐ญ ๐†๐ข๐๐ž๐จ๐ง ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ ๐ž๐ฑ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ฅ ๐ž๐ฆ๐จ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง: ๐›๐ž๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฌ๐ข๐œ๐ค ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ๐จ๐ง๐žโ€™๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐ก๐ข๐ญ.โ€ โ€”Tamsyn Muir

[A quick note: This series has been on my radar for YEARS. My sister recommended it a while back, and all but scolded me for not having read it. When Illumicrate announced its special editions, I RAN to snatch them up. And of course, having a set of SEs is always motivating. So I picked up the audio book for Gideon in October, wanting a spooky-ish Halloween read. I mean, hello, thereโ€™s skeletons on the cover. Well, I hate to say this didnโ€™t feel very Halloween-esk. Itโ€™s much more just a sci-fi read with necromancy, but it didnโ€™t really feel like something seasonal. That was my bad, for having that expectation. But, can we take a minute to admire the beauty of this set?? Gorgeous!]

In need of an immortal necromancer, the emperor invites the heirs of each house to a deadly competition of wits. The Reverend Daughter Harrowhark, heir to the Ninth House, needs a swordswoman to compete, and Gideon is it. Together, they take on the other houses in a deadly game, one there wonโ€™t be any coming back from.

This book takes the cake for snarky heroine of the century! Every line out of Gideonโ€™s mouth was gold. I was cackling with glee from the very first chapter. Pair that with excellent prose, a unique setting, and tons of intrigue, and youโ€™ve got yourself a different sort of read. I canโ€™t say Iโ€™ve ever read anything quite like this.

Side note: I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was AMAZING. I do want to go back and reread this in physical form. Anytime Iโ€™ll reread a book, thatโ€™s a good sign that it was a fantastic read!

I do have a few mixed feelings about the beginning half of the story. I wasnโ€™t quite certain what to make of it. The reader is thrust into the world, and the world building isnโ€™t really explained. It felt like a sink-or-swim situation. Now that Iโ€™ve read the first book, Iโ€™d enjoy it wayyyyy more going back and reading it again. I also had trouble with the plot, initially. I struggled with understanding the storyโ€™s point. Why are we here? What is actually going on? Where is this story leading?

*cue the short-lived confusion*

Iโ€™ll tell you right now, if Gideonโ€™s character hadnโ€™t been half as amazing, I might have DNFโ€™d this book. But, Gideon WAS amazing. She held up the ENTIRE first half of the story for me. She is the reason I kept reading. I just couldnโ€™t get enough of her snark! Everything else justโ€ฆfaded into the background and I didnโ€™t even really care all that much.

Oh, things are happening? Cool, Iโ€™m just here for the โ€œGideon Show.โ€ Seeing Gideon and Harrowhark interact was EVERYTHING.

However, once I reached the 50% mark, things started making sense. There was a lightbulb moment. I didnโ€™t feel lost in the dark anymore. Then I found myself wrapped up in a murder mystery on an alien planet with bones and blood and all the intrigue I could hope for. When I hit the 70% mark, there came one OH SHIT moment after another. I swear to God, my jaw dropped lower and lower and lower until I couldnโ€™t open my mouth any wider! Holy moly!

And, that ending? I was reeling. Iโ€™m not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, I definitely need to see what happens next, but on the other, Iโ€™m a little pissed? But pissed in a good way? Is that even possible? Iโ€™m just going to sum this review up as: this was a very different, very entertaining, very dense read. And obviously I gave it 5 stars, which tells you that despite a bit of bumbling around in the beginning, this book was fantastic! ๐Œ๐˜ ๐‘๐€๐“๐ˆ๐๐†: ๐Ÿ“/๐Ÿ“โญ๏ธ


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