Summary from Goodreads: Harrow the Ninth, the sequel to the sensational, USA today best-selling novel Gideon the Ninth, turns a galaxy inside out as one necromancer struggles to survive the wreckage of herself aboard the Emperor’s haunted space station.
She answered the Emperor’s call. She arrived with her arts, her wits, and her only friend. In victory, her world has turned to ash.
After rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut, Tamsyn Muir continues the story of the penumbral Ninth House in Harrow the Ninth, a mind-twisting puzzle box of mystery, murder, magic, and mayhem. Nothing is as it seems in the halls of the Emperor, and the fate of the galaxy rests on one woman’s shoulders.
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath — but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her.
Sealed in the gothic gloom of the Emperor’s Mithraeum with three unfriendly teachers, hunted by the mad ghost of a murdered planet, Harrow must confront two unwelcome questions: is somebody trying to kill her? And if they succeeded, would the universe be better off?
If you haven’t read Gideon the Ninth yet,
go do that because this book will make absolutely ZERO sense without it.
Also MEGA spoilers.
You are warned.
Now, for the rest of you who have read Gideon, Harrow the Ninth is a VERY VERY different book. Harrow is what it is like to have a brain that has undergone major trauma and what we do to ourselves because of that trauma (you have to have read the end of Gideon to understand this, it is so hard to explain). The narrative fractures in at least two, possibly three narrative lines, all of which may or may not be unreliable. So rather than a plot-driven, Gideon’s-gonna-kick-some-ass-and-take-names story we have a character-focused, Harrow-is-trying-her-hardest-but-failing-for-reasons-she-hid-from-herself story. What new information we are given about this world makes Harrow a very Empire Strikes Back type of book – it’s the middle of the trilogy, we’ve had the set-up in Gideon, now we have the explanation, and we’ll get the resolution in Alecto the Ninth (no publication date yet as far as I know). For these reasons, this will be a hard read for some people because the tonal shift is so much. It’s a lot. But be patient because at about the 75% mark, this story pays fucking DIVIDENDS y’all.
Muir still gives us amazing scenes of necromancy and revolting body horror. We’re introduced to new characters in the form of the surviving Lyctors and Ianthe is still around, working her own agenda. Also, to me, God appears to look like David Tennant in his Broadchurch phase. I’m down with it.
Harrow the Ninth is out tomorrow!!!!
Dear FTC: I read a digital galley of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss but I had a copy on pre-order at the store but it turns out to not have the black-sprayed edges like Gideon so I’m going to have to do some sleuthing to find one, boo.