Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused jYing Emperor for the last 10000 years Or so it should have been In fact everything seems terribly and confusingly wrong The powers are not what they are supposed to be the memories are not what we know happened the madness and insane confusion rule and God seems to go by the name of John Oh also there s a dead body ghost haunting you and a corpse that refuses to stay dead And half of it is in second person narration And it refuses to make sense for two thirds of the story Oh and the timeumps lets not forget that And what I can only call reality The Nonlinear Workbook: Chaos, Fractals, Celluar Automata, Neural Networks, Genetic Algorithms, Gene Expression Programming, Support Vector Machine, Wavelets, Hidden Markov M jumps as well in addition to timeumps Everything is Coming Out of Communism just so wrong And Harrowhark Nonagesimus seems to really be losing it But Harrowhark Harrow who was two hundred dead children Harrow who loved something that had not been alive for ten thousand years Harrowhark Nonagesimus had always so badly wanted to live She had cost too much to die Tamsyn Muir could have stuck with the snappyuvenile ish snark that was both the best and the worst bit of Gideon the Ninth the one that made me both entertained and a bit tired from all the eye rolling It would have been fun and familiar But instead she throws us into the confused Ways of Knowing About Birth jumble of Harrow s possibly insane and very much haunted mind without a lifeboat It s sink or swim narration so grab the nearest piece of flotsam and stay adrift In the real world I have been fatally stabbed The place that holds my body is about to be overrun by thanergetic monsters created by a galactic revenant I am put bluntly on the verge of death My soul is under siege and I overwrote my real memories with a ghost filled pocket dimension which has now apparently been co opted by some kind of poltergeist From what I can tell I am stuck in here I cannot get out And I am about to die I may even be dead already which will render this all somewhat moot Under all the craziness this is a book about loss and grief It may be hidden and masked and avoided but it s constantly thereust underneath the surface sharp and relentless Harrow is grieving even if she refuses to understand it And she feels tremendous guilt And let s not forget the haunted bit either She s struggling to survive all while around her the entire world is in danger and dead planet revenants are threatening the fabric of existence and the spaceshipboneyard can only protect them for so long and while the whole Lyctorship has gone terribly wrong and each chapter counts down to the Emperor s murderAnd necromancers still have to make soup That s not a HeroAca jokeThe clues to what is going on are scattered everywhere You know those are all clues but putting them together is hard and for the two thirds of the story you d do better if youust
collect them in your mind and let them sit there and wait until Muir comes to the part where answers start them in your mind and let them sit there and wait until Muir comes to the part where answers start s frustrating but also fun Some of them are easy some seem to come out of the left field but they are all rewarding There s a cringeworthy immortal heretical threesome that made me and Harrow flee in terrified embarrassment There are planetary homicides There are poignant ruminations on very messed up childhoods full of cruelty and neglect There are objectively terrible pop culture Reading Africa into American Literature jokes and I am certain that Muir makes them glaringly obviously bad on purpose as a self aware mockery in this case There are loving and horrifying descriptions of bones and viscera that would fascinate anatomists and graverobbers alike Those who are dead make appearances since when has death stopped anyone in a society of necromancers and some of those make me sueal with happiness and you really should brush up on Gideon the Ninth plot prior to starting this book because otherwise it won t be nearly as much fun Do not fucking ask me for information I could not be lost right now Tamsyn Muir has created characters that are both immensely unlikable view spoilerexcept Gideon but not Gideon Prime Gideon is awesome and I love her dearly the ball of red haireduvenile snark she is hide spoiler After the wonderful GIDEON THE NINTH Muir could have stayed with what worked a snarky protagonist with a contemporary sensibility that while incredibly emotionally moving was also ust a lot of fun but she did not play it safe In fact she took safe and punted it out of the stadium and instead gave us this daring and challenging beauty of a instead HARROW THE "NINTH is not always an easy read first half or "is not always an easy read The first half or is in second person and is confusing and non linear and I often felt a bit confused and non linear myself but I trusted Muir to see me through to have a method to her madness and to bring me home and wow did she ever The patient reader will be rewarded tenfold with brilliant original characters and magic heartbreaking intimacy laugh out loud humor and the best damn soup in all the Nine Houses Muir is ust so very good I wait with baited breath and sword in hand for the next book in this series and pretty much anything else this author writes what if we were goth necromancers in space who have to fight in a deathly war and we re insistent on disliking each other and we were both girls. Ct 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 uestions is somebody trying to kill her And if they succeeded would the universe be better off. ,
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I m pleased to say that this seuel to Gideon the Ninth not only answers a few uestions but breaks the mold established by the first and plows through the fields of the dead to create or destroy all of creationI mean what else can you expect when you re dealing not only with necromantic gods in a supremely hi tech post humanity universe Them to make soupOh wait yeahHonestly I was slightly bemused and slightly weirded out by the kind of pacing and style in the first part of the novel and it didn t have anything to do with the 2nd person
storytelling It even felt like a mystery novel or rather a gothicIt even felt like a mystery novel or rather a gothic mystery including ghosts than a full out preparation for a battle against hungry resurrection monsters and surviving "a river of mad soulsAnd even in my strange feelings Muir pulls through and turns the tale "river of mad soulsAnd even in my strange feelings Muir pulls through and turns the tale something ELSE entirelyAnd I m happy to say she also goes ahead and fulfills all my other expectations Big payoffs I m uite happy Of course now WHERE THE HELL IS MY NEXT BOOK Pretty please The mindbending adventures of the necromancers continue Full review first posted on wwwFantasyLiteraturecom along with 3 others from my co reviewers there Harrow the Ninth the seuel to the Nebula and Hugo Award nominated fantasy Gideon the Ninth is incredibly ambitious decidedly wordy and highly confusing for about three uarters of the book at which point Tamsyn Muir finally begins to gradually pull back the curtainsHarrowhark the heir of the declining Ninth House a talented necromancer and Gideon s frenemy has left the planet of Canaan House in the company of the Emperor aka God and his few remaining elite necromancer warriors called Lyctors including Ianthe from Gideon the Ninth As they travel toward an impossible to win war with a Resurrection Beast and its hordes of giant insectoid soldiers called Heralds Harrow navigates a complex web of conspiracies and not knowing for certain who is on her side and who wants her deadOn top of that Harrow is struggling with a slower than usual process of attaining her full powers as a Lyctor along with a mental illness that seems to be warping her view of reality The first clue that all is not as it seems As Harrow recalls the events at Canaan House she remembers her cavalier as being not Gideon but her original Ninth House cavalier Ortus who reportedly had died in a spaceship bombing many months ago In what may not be entirely a coincidence one of the Lyctors who makes a regular play at assassinating Harrow though it s possible he s ust trying to put her out of her misery is also named OrtusMost of Harrow the Ninth alternates chapters between Harrow s travels and interactions with the God Emperor and other Lyctors which are told in second person POV for what is actually a very good reason made clear much later in the book and a peculiar retelling told in third person of Harrow s experiences at Canaan House peculiar because these past events play out so differently in this retelling What is reality And ust to make matters interesting there are several chapters told in first person POV at the endIt s been about five months since I read Gideon the Ninth and if I had known when I started Harrow what I know now I would ve stolen Gideon back from one of my kids and at least reread the last 50 or so pages and refamiliarized myself with the characters including the ones I thought were dead and gone see above re altered retelling of events at Canaan House Harrow the Ninth is both fascinating and frustrating and it often made my brain hurt Most of it was a difficult and opaue read because Muir is deliberately hiding the ball on so much from the reader for so long and I m a reader who thrives on understanding the overall context and scheme of a novel Some mystery is good but I felt that the confusing section which is about the first 350 pages should have been trimmed down by about a hundred pagesOn the positive side Muir is unuestionably a talented author with a gift for words and her prose was often a oy to read even when it wasn t at all clear what was going onThen everything changed forever Harrowhark fell in love Falling was not the right term precisely It was a long process She correctly climbed down into love picked its locks opened its gates and breached its inner chamberI also still love the interplay between fantasy and SF in these books where necromantic magic takes places in a rather decrepit science fictional setting The last 150 pages were excellent and truly enjoyable they re action packed and importantly some of the key uestions raised in this series are finally answered though fair warning Muir replaces those with several new uestions And clearly both of these first two LOCKED TOMB books would benefit from a reread Time permitting I ll do that before I tackle the upcoming third book Alecto the NinthIf you loved Gideon the Ninth I d definitely recommend Harrow the Ninth despite its challenges if you weren t a big fan of the first book I d probably give this one a pass Thanks so much to Tor for the ARC OMG NUFF SAID So glad one of the greatest writers of our time is. Harrow the Ninth the seuel 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 stationShe answered the Emperor's callShe arrived with her arts her wits and her only friendIn victory her world has turned to ashAfter rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut Tamsyn Muir A memelord No one does it uite like Muir I could protect you if you d only ask me toI would rather have my tendons peeled from my body one by one and flossed to shreds over my broken bones I would rather be flayed alive and wrapped in salt I would rather have my own digestive acid dripped into my eyes So what I m hearing is maybeAnd by that I mean no one confuses me so utterly for so long in s Amazing seuel I respect this book a lot for taking serious risks and pulling them all off It s markedly different from the first book but also fully grounded in the larger universe of the story And without giving anything away there are twists that are so good and seem to be set up so early that now I want to read the first book all over againI m going to run out of words for how much I loved this book It s funny heartbreaking riveting and also dense with details throughout I want to read at least the last uarter of the book again to better figure out everything that happened Mostly I kept flying along because I was so totally wrapped up in all the necromancer drama There were so many characters and I loved all of themCompared to the first book there s a change in the writing style that took me a while to get used to And there are some revelations throughou Why did you ascend to be a Lyctor Ultimate power And posters of my face Most writers try to chase trends They rely on formulaic plots popular tropes and safe narrative choices hoping to give the public exactly what they wantTamsyn Muir is not one of those writersIt s difficult to explain what makes Harrow the Ninth so extraordinary If I had to sum it up in one sentence I d say that this book made me reconsider how stories work It challenged me to a point where I seriously uestioned my own sanity If Gideon the Ninth was as I often hear it described a crazy book its seuel dials the craziness up to a hundred and what is most infuriating about it is that somehow it works It shouldn t It should fail spectacularly going down like a shuttle falling into deep space ahem And yet reading this book was akin to looking at a cubist painting for the first time utterly confusing in eual parts puzzling and fascinating The most notable difference being that while a portrait by Picasso may certainly impress you but will hardly make you laugh Harrow the Ninth is also genuinely funny and moving Muir s writing is simultaneously full of heart and incredibly self aware as if the author was poking fun at her own characters and terrible punsThis book has all the wrong ships done right and all the right tropes done wrong it s raw unflinching and insanely creative It takes everything you thought you knew after reading Gideon and turns it upside down leaving you scratching you head and scrambling for cluesIt s a Christopher Nolan movie possibly Memento or maybe Inception tossed into a pool of lame Millennial humor and sprinkled with rainbow confetti a love letter to fanfiction 2000s pop culture and romance novels written with the lyricism of a biblical psalmIt s also a book that is very frank about mental health and the many ways trauma affects the way we perceive the world I applaud how Muir portrayed Harrow s mental illness which is based on the author s own condition making it an integral part of the plot and delving deep into the conseuences of grief and child abuse Harrow the Ninth is a science fantasy masterpiece and my favorite book of 2020Now all I have to do is lay down in the Locked Tomb and hibernate until Alecto is released To sum up it s a lovely migraine of a book I was not following all of this because necromantic theory is a lot of hot bullshit even when I m not busy having Complex Emotions If you thought Gideon the Ninth was a bit bonkers do I have a surprise for you Enter Harrow the Ninth that makes Gideon seem like the easiest and most straightforward story there ever was Harrow is so deliberately confusing frustrating and over the top that I had to reach into my brain and forcibly shut off the part of it that s responsible for logically trying to figure out what s going on instead ust going along with a weird slightly insane ride where like in a haunted funhouse madhouse nothing is what is seems and what it should be I usually hate books that force me to do that But with Harrow the Ninth it was ultimately worth it I could protect you "If You D Only "you d only
me to said Ianthe the First A tepid trickle of sweat ran down your ribs I would rather have my tendonsto said Ianthe the First A tepid trickle of sweat ran down your ribs I would rather have my tendons from my body one by one and flossed to shreds over my broken bones you said I would rather be flayed alive and wrapped in salt I would rather have my own digestive acid dripped into my eyes So what I m hearing is maybe said Ianthe Our weirdo fanatical necromancer Harrowhark Nonagesimus strange and creepy even by the murky standards "of spacefaring necromancer society built on skeleton labor and bone magic and swordplay has supposedly ascended to the coveted "spacefaring necromancer society built on skeleton labor and bone magic and swordplay has supposedly ascended to the coveted at the terrible cost of a sacrifice of the only living person she ever cared for becoming the superpowered magical knight to the Necrolord Prime the Und. Ontinues 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 shouldersHarrowhark 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 perfe.