Gideon The Ninth
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ibsn13: 9781250313188
series: The Locked Tomb - Book 1

A murder mystery set in a Warhammer 40k-esque far far future universe setting with necromancy at the core of everything. Also it’s horny but not explicitly so.

This novel is trying to do a little too much IMO and fails to tell a cohesive story that works all the way through as a result.

It’s not bad, far from it. It’s just inconsistent and a little long.

The setting is cool in theory but in execution I’m left feeling as though it’s internally inconsistent (and so, less believable than it could be otherwise).

Words are used in dialogue that don’t fit in universe but serve to convey ideas to the 21st century reader. What’s the likelihood that people in this universe would say things like: “Yaaaaassssss”? Probably zero, but characters, especially the main character Gideon, say things like this a lot.

Gideon feels like she’s been transported straight from our modern day into this universe that’s completely unlike our own. I LIKE her but I wish she was in another novel. She exists to be relatable to the reader and that’s fine I guess but her existence is so dissonant that it’s hard to ignore.

Let’s talk about the murder mystery. This novel is Agatha Christie-esque in that all the characters are invited to a gothic palace and are asked to investigate (compete?) in a quest to become gods. People start dying and we’re supposed to care (but it’s kind of hard to).

Throughout most of the story, we’re as lost and confused as Gideon is (so A LOT). I haven’t read enough murder mysteries to know if this sort of clueless POV can work, it doesn’t work here.

Let’s talk about relationships. Gideon’s relationship with Harrow is hard to believe and how it evolves over time even harder. They start out hating each other and as time goes by, for no discernible reason, they become closer and transform into frenemies, then friends and then… Something else.

Their relationship is undeniably toxic in SO MANY ways, which is fine, but I find it hard to believe that either of these characters would want to be in the same room with one another.

What do I like about this book?

  • Gideon is cool (but she should be in another book).

  • The setting is cool (but certain details are inconsistent with the rest of what’s presented and throw me off, eg. What is the economic system that is supplying the Ninth’s Tomb planet with the titty mags and comic books that Gideon reads? Who’s producing them and why?)

  • The location of the murder mystery is cool (but it’s told from the perspective of a clueless character who just walks around, hangs out, then sometimes people die and eventually someone explains to her what’s actually happening).

I’m conflicted on this one. I think if this book had sex in it instead of just being undeniably horny at all times maybe that would push me over the edge and get me to recommend this book.

As-is though, Gideon the Ninth suffers from enough “First Author’s Book Syndrome” (a lot of small-ish problems that add up) that I can’t recommend it. Although, it’s got enough going for it that I would consider getting the second novel in the series on sale and seeing if some of my complaints are addressed.

The more distance I have from this book the more I feel I was a little nitpicky and unfair to it.

I like A LOT about it.

I’m excited to read the sequels which I’ve heard great things about.