Badass Bone Nuns: Harrow the Ninth Review

Hey everyone! I went back to school this week, (which was very strange) but I’ll be posting less frequently. Hope you enjoy 🙂

Name: Harrow the Ninth

Author: Tamsyn Muir

Published: 2020

Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb Trilogy) (Locked Tomb Trilogy, 2):  Amazon.co.uk: Tamsyn Muir: 9781250313225: Books

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.

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? 

This book was a labour of love. That’s the best way I can put it – I loved ‘Harrow the Ninth’… but it was hard work. It’s the second book in the Locked Tomb trilogy (find my review of the first book here – this might not make sense otherwise!) and I for one am extremely excited for the third addition. I’m hardly ever reading a series as it comes out, so whilst it’s annoying, it’s a great thing to look forward to. Although, I might change my mind depending on how long it takes to publish ‘Alecto the Ninth’. Who is… I’m confused who they actually are.

Me being confused was a common theme throughout this book. Nothing is explained, you just have to take that all be revealed eventually – I went entire chapters not having a clue what was happening (although some of that might just have been not understanding the fancy words. I’ve learnt so much about bones from this series.). I want to go back with what I’ve learned, although I don’t have a free month. So many of my notes questions that were answered at the very end or scribbles of ‘I’m so confuseddddd!’

‘I’m on page 40 125 256 and Gideon hasn’t even been mentioned?!

– another note by yours truly

It was a bold move to introduce the character the first book is named for in the last quarter. Although, it made her return, if she ever did return… (this is a spoiler free review), alll the better. But, the first quarter half was a bit boring – it felt unnecessary. I remember this from the first book. Even looking back and knowing its importance, the retelling of Gideon the Ninth in an AU (told you it was confusing) had almost equal screen time to the main story, which is too much.

So much of the book was ‘Hey remember this? It didn’t happen. And this? Lol, that’s not true either’. It messed with your mind and was creepy and gory and vivid. I remember reading so many random swears in Gideon the Ninth and not being the biggest fan, but it really worked in this book. One thing I didn’t get was the whole ‘eggs you gave me’ letters – if you can help me out, let me know in the comments!

In short, Tamsyn Muir writing is powerful. Harrow the Ninth was effortlessly cool; full of ill-fated sex jokes and memes (good lord, the space memes). It made me smile and laugh and sleep with the lights on. Crunchy, air-punchy… confusing. But I think this was the best book I’ve ever read.

Basically, Harrowhark is one badass bone nun. Thanks for listening to my TED Talk.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Published by Hundreds&Thousands

I’m a teenager from Manchester, and a proud Hufflepuff. I like oversized jumpers, indie music you’ve probably not heard of, and books. Honestly, any books I can get my hands on but my personal favourites are fantasy, mystery or your classic teenage romance (it’s ironic I know – but you can’t really go wrong with ‘A Fault in Our Stars’)! I’m always being told to go and ‘be active’ or something instead of sitting in my room reading and listening to the Smiths, but honestly I don’t see the point. Why would I want to go for a run when I could be reading Rainbow Rowell or Good Omens. And it’s Morrisey for god’s sake. So, I decided to do something with the growing piles of books in my room… and you’re reading the product! It’s a lot more interesting than I thought it would be and I really enjoy it – and I hope you do too. I try to write a review after I’ve read the book each week every Saturday, but no promises! The aim is hundreds and thousands of books (see what I did there?) but I’m not quite there. Yet.

11 thoughts on “Badass Bone Nuns: Harrow the Ninth Review

  1. I thought the references to “eggs he gave me all died” were from Gideon’s mother, talking about why she had to grow a baby in her own self. But I could be wrong; it’s hard to tell who is doing what to whom. Which is kind of the point. So.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Confusion is definitely a huge mood for Harrow the Ninth! ‘What the hell?’ was my go-to reaction for the most part. It was such a bold move to leave us hanging for the most part and then punch us with the reveals in the last quarter only to leave us confused in the end once more. But once you just let yourself roll with it, it’s great actually? I loved every part of begging this awesome book for answers. Tamsyn Muir messed me over so much and I was still thanking her as she was doing it. Great review! Mine will be out this Friday 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review! A labour of love is literally the perfect way to describe reading this book. I do wonder if the next one is going to follow this pattern too. With Harrow being such an unreliable narrator, I spent most of it horribly confused and wondering whether I’d somehow managed to interpret the first book all wrong 😂 I think you did a great job summing up this complicated book!

    Liked by 1 person

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