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Review – Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Harrow The Ninth

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Lurking Within the Tomb: Harrow the Ninth

 

Harrow the Ninth is the second novel in The Locked Tomb trilogy by Tamsyn Muir. Remember all the noise that occurred because of Gideon the Ninth? Well, now it’s time to see what the sequel has in store.

Harrowhawk Nonagesimus is one of the most talented necromancers around. That is why she survived to become a Lyctor, but it’s also why she’s in the present situation. She is less stable than ever, yet expected to fight alongside the Emperor for the fate of the universe. No pressure.

The last remaining Lyctors are facing an unwinnable war, and yet they are not capable of backing down. Least of Harrow, who will always stand by her god. Even when the world around her stops making sense.

 

Writing

Harrow The Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

I want to start this review by saying that I am so extremely impressed with Tamsyn Muir. After the success of Gideon the Ninth, they could have easily come in with a second novel that took no real risks and had it be a hit.

That isn’t what happened here. The level of risks in Harrow the Ninth is unparalleled. The writing style, storytelling structure, everything in this novel was a bit of a risk, yet it all worked out beautifully in these pages.

Harrow the Ninth starts in the second person. I know that is a format that many readers hate, but it sincerely works in this novel. Harrow is the epitome of an unreliable narrator, and the storytelling style required something mildly off-putting to fully reveal the depth of that disparity.

The novel also bounces between several points of time, all of which help to further cloud the truth from poor Harrow. It was all written with such care and intelligence, it’s quite alarming. Harrow’s journey is powerful, one that gets tenser with each given moment.

 

Development

Harrow the Ninth is a novel that slowly unravels and unveils its secrets. About sixty percent of the book is told in the second person, but it does start shifting back over to third after that, though it is a gradual process.

Likewise, the story is a slow build. Everything is confusing at first, with more questions than answers. But as the story progresses, so too does everything else. By the end this becomes a whirlwind of a read, becoming a novel that you’re not going to want to put down.

I honestly don’t think I’ve seen a better example of an unreliable narrator, or a reason why one was required. It was beautifully done, significantly adding to Harrow’s journey (and all of the impact that came with it).

Looking back on it, I can see all of these little hints and details that were woven into the novel, all of which led to that conclusion. It’s going to make for excellent reread material, something that is always a huge plus in my book.

 

Conclusion

Harrow the Ninth was a beautiful and extremely intelligently written novel. I still can’t get over how creative or bold it was, and sincerely cannot wait to see what the third novel in the series will give to us.

In the meantime, for those finding themselves desperate for more necromancer goodies, there is a short story set in this world. It’s called The Mysterious Study of Doctor Sex and provides a rare look into Sixth House. Obvious, it is both hilarious and brilliant, and I cannot recommend it enough.

 

 

 


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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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