Book Reviews

Review: Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Okay I knew I had to re-read Gideon the Ninth before jumping into Harrow the Ninth. And I was scared y’all. And I should have been because what the heck was that? Keep reading my book review of Harrow the Ninth for my full thoughts.


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.

After rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut, Tamsyn Muir continues 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 shoulders.

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?


I feel like part of the experience of reading a Locked Tomb book is the acceptance of being confused. Every time I read it’s like a cycle of acceptance from confusion, anger, confusion, what the heck, to acceptance. You always end the book thinking, “Okay I know maybe 60% more than I did at the beginning, but I still have questions”. And that just seems to be the case. Maybe I’m not big brained enough to figure it all out, but I’ve come to accept this as just being what I have to experience.

That being said, the second person in Harrow the Ninth really threw me off. I don’t read a lot in second person and so it felt very strange. I think the only thing that saved me was the audiobook narration of Moira Quirk. Having someone literally tell me “you” made it feel a bit more true to not only the narrative choice, but also to the story. That being said, so many of my notes are still, “what is happening”. To the point where even though I had re-read Gideon the Ninth before, I looked up the synopsis again to figure out if I missed something.

More than Gideon the Ninth I felt like Harrow the Ninth has a more late game coming together feeling. Like you really need to keep reading and without the support I’m not sure I would have made it. That being said, I did make it. And am reading Nona the Ninth now. And having a bit more time in between can say that when it came together, it ended up being good. I cannot figure out where anything is going, but I’m along for the ride.

Find Harrow the Ninth on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, Blackwells, & Libro. fm.


What is your favorite confusing series?

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