Harrow the Ninth (Book Review)
by Tamsyn Muir 5 / 5
Series: The Locked Tomb, Book 2
Harrow the Ninth is A fascinating and exhilarating sequel that resolves a lot of questions while building momentum for the next in the series. It’s full of fight scenes, sexual tension, hilarious dialogue, and a unique world. I was very excited for this novel, as I was blown away by its predecessor, Gideon the Ninth. That being said, this is very much a direct continuation of the previous story. As such, I’m going to provide only a brief overview of the novel and why I rated it so highly, then I’ll fangirl in my Booktube Channel review next month. I loved the characters in this novel. They all learn and grow, especially our titular character, Harrow. I gave the plot itself a 4 / 5, because, like the first novel, it takes a little bit to get situated, and at times I was struggling to remember who people were. I loved the overall idea and concepts, but I was more confused than I wanted to be at times. Also, there was a huge infodump at the end that didn’t leave me entirely satisfied, as it was a lot to take in at once.
The setting is perfect. I love love love the idea of necromancers in space. It’s a concept that doesn’t seem like it would work - I mean, what is there in space but a fat lot of nothing? But Harrow and the Lyctors' powers are expanded upon in this novel as being able to manipulate more than just bone, which explains why they are so powerful.
I love the prose. The bits of humour and the flowery narration mixed with common vernacular are such fun. She has some brilliant metaphors.
I gave the book a 4 on readability because it takes almost half the book to get used to the second person. Like other perfectly-crafted second-person perspectives, it has a purpose that makes sense in the end (it reminded me of the revelation behind N.K. Jemison’s Broken Earth trilogy), but it does make for a shaky start. The novel gets a 5 for diversity, as this novel revels in its queerness and gives us a world where sexism/racism doesn’t seem to exist. And we get a bonus point for the cover, which is straight-up bad-ass.
Overall, I had such fun reading this novel and I can’t wait for the third in the series.
Some quotes I liked:
“Poetry is one of the most beautiful shadows a civilization can cast across time.”
“If anything it seemed to be gaining momentum, like a very boring avalanche.”
“They were the eyes of a winter season without any promise of spring.”