Harrow the Ninth 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.
Name: Harrow the Ninth
Author: Tamsyn Muir
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 – ‘Harrow the Ninth’ was utterly brilliant… but hard work. It’s the second book in the Locked Tomb trilogy (find my review of the first book here – I’d recommend reading that first!) and I’m 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 Alecto actually is.
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 complicated words. I’ve learnt so much about bones from this series.). So many of my notes questions that were answered at the very end or scribbles of ‘I’m so confuseddddd!’ I think a reread would be fun, knowing what I now know, and maybe I’d be less confused! However, I don’t have an entire month.
‘I’ve nearly finished the book and Gideon hasn’t even been mentioned?!– another note from the Confused Journal
It was a bold move to introduce the character the first book is named for in the last quarter. Although, when 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.
Harrowhark is one badass bone nun. Thanks for listening to my TED Talk.