OK, so if you read my reviews you know I like to start them with a weird little aside, an anecdote, something very very barely related to anything else I’m about to say… Stick with me on this one. I’m a massive fan of Avatar the Last Airbender, hells I even named my little dog Korra T. BeagleFace (she has a very beagle-y face). Well, my favourite character in Avatar is… actually it’s Toph. But my second favourite character is unquestionably Azula. Here’s where I link up. Within the first chapter, Gideon the Ninth introduces us to a character called Harrowhark(Harrow) who reminded me so much of Azula I formed an instant love of both the character and the book. And the good news is the rest of the book did not disappoint!
We follow along behind Gideon in a weird, necromantic who dunnit, coupled with a bit of magic academy, and then blended together with an ending so damned anime Goku wants his super sayain back (or possibly just his kaoken). Gideon herself is an odd character. Refreshing, but odd. She’s crass, energetic, loves to make bad jokes (“That’s what she said.” even pops up a couple of times), gets flustered around pretty women, and approaches every situation with the mindset of “Can I stick my sword in it?” And she’s a hell of a lot of fun, despite the at times cringe-worthy humour… Or possibly because of it.
Look, there’s cool necromantic magic, stuff that goes beyond the usual zombies and skeletons. There’s a host of slightly off-kilter characters bouncing off each other. There’s a mystery (or two) at the heart of it all. And there’s some bloody good fun action sequences. But honestly, what made this book for me was the relationship between Gideon and Harrow, both the way it started and the way it grew. The way they interacted with each other, and the past the was slowly revealed to us… slowly at first, then dumped on us like a bucket of salt water. Whenever Gideon and Harrow were around, the book took on a new light that just cranked the fun up to 11.
It’s not a perfect book. Some of the language I found jarring. When one of the characters said “Let’s bounce.” I almost ground my teeth to dust. And I had a couple of other niggling issues… but you know what, I just don’t care because I had so much fun with this one! And now it’s over and I have to wait five months for book 2 and I’m having a book sad.
Also worth pointing out that I listened to this one and the narrator, Moira Quirk, nailed it. She really brought the characters, the setting, and the action to life.
I’m gonna cheat a little with the rating because some books I just have to. I would usually give it a 4, but because I enjoyed the hell out of it so much, I’m gonna give it 4.5 so I can round up to 5. 😀