A one-of-a-kind story that I won’t forget any time soon
I’m not a fan of necromancers’ stories, as a matter of fact, I kind of hate horror books. Some of the reviews of this book aren’t very encouraging either. But somehow, maybe because one of my friends recommended it so much (thanks, Carrie!) or maybe because I wanted to check what was the fuss about it by myself, I’ve ended up listening to the audiobook. I’m still not sure what to think about it…
The Emperor invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. Harrowhark Nonagesimus, heir to the Ninth House is among them. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Harrow needs Gideon to step up to the role and offers her that last service in exchange for her freedom…
Gideon the Ninth is book one of The Locked Tomb series which, up to the moment of writing this (March 2022) has 6 works: The Mysterious Study of Doctor Sex (book 0.5), Gideon the Ninth, Harrow the Ninth (book 2), As Yet Unsent (book 2.5), and the upcoming Nona the Ninth (book 3) and Alecto the Ninth (book 4). Only books one and two are available on audiobook at the moment.
Gideon the Ninth is such an odd book to categorise. It’s a mix of fantasy in a science fiction setting, it’s plagued with necromancers, skeletons and monsters but I wouldn’t put it in the horror category. Let’s just accept that it’s a one-of-a-kind story that I won’t forget any time soon, though I’m not sure if it’s for the right reasons.
I was in doubt to listen to the audiobook as almost 17 hours is a long time to commit to a story when you are not interested in the subject matter. That’s my fault, not the book’s. However, it’s not my fault that after a fast-paced start, the book suddenly falls to a sluggish pace, a hard-to-follow plot, and a confusing amount of characters. Sorry for being blunt but I think that if 90% of Act 2 had been deleted, the book’s pace would have improved and the story would still have made sense. I almost give up and DNF but I still wanted to know what was the hype around it so I went on.
I mentioned the number of characters in this book. Even though the main characters are Gideon and Harrow, in order to follow the story, the members of the other eight houses and their cavaliers need to be identified. This is no small feat, sometimes it gets really confusing as different names are used for the same character. Maybe the written version would have made it clearer as the reader can go back and forth to identify the characters better, but I’m not sure, to be honest.
What I’m completely sure of is that Moira Quirk did an excellent job in narrating this novel with all the obvious issues of the number of characters and the pacing problems. Ms. Quirk is the only reason why I kept listening, it’s a testament to her talent to elevate the story and make it interesting for a person like me. If after all my rambling you are still interested, I suggest you give it a try and see if it’s to your liking. 3.5 stars.
Length: 16 hours, 20 minutes