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Harrow the Ninth Review

Review: 'Harrow The Ninth,' By Tamsyn Muir : NPR

Lesbian necromancers in space continues to amaze.

This book didn’t pull any punches and had me silently screaming from page one.

After reading Gideon the Ninth it was a very anxious month waiting for the release of the sequel, Harrow the Ninth. And when it arrived, I devoured it. Because it was excellent.

First of all, all that was promised with the world-building in book one continued to expand in book two. Some threads began coming together while others were introduced. Either way, the momentum is still picking up and I expect it will continue into the third book as well.

It will take some re-reading to capture the full scope of all the information. This is because of the book’s format, which I loved as well. The presentation strengthened the arc of the characters, but made it difficult at times to know which pieces of information were important (honestly, most of them were important; Muir is fantastic at weaving in plot important information).

The tension is present throughout as you, as the reader, are unsure but think you know more than the characters. It propels the plot forward, faster and faster. And as the pieces fall into place, you wait in anticipation for the plot to unfold only to be left with a dry mouth as your eyes skim over the final words in the novel.

And… you’re left wanting more. As I said at the start of this article, Muir pulls no punches. This book tugs at your heartstrings in all the best of ways. And, how many months is it again until book three is released?

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A Difficult Read

I’m currently reading a book which I hope to finish by the end of this week. Unfortunately, I’m having a tough time finishing it. I just wanna take a moment and talk about why this book has me dragging my feet.

So, I would like to exclude the title of this book for now because it might still blow my socks off. Although, you might already know the title if you read my reading list post previously. This book might yet turn things around and surprise me. Also, this book is by no means all bad. In fact, I first want to talk about what this book has right.

The World-building Is Great

The world building of the book is both curious and compelling. The book deals with an individual caught up in a coma dream. The world of dreams is explained in depth and seems to run alongside our own. Also, the ability to see or influence dreams is tied into real-world history for explanations. So, this books seems almost urban fantasy, but with a much younger protag than a YA book would be sporting. I am definitely curious to see what will happen and what impact the world of dreams can have.

The Stakes Are Set

It was relatively late for my taste, but the stakes were set clearly in around chapter 9 (I believe). The main issue is that the parent fears that the protags will die if they enter the world of dreams. So, the parent is doing their best to keep them out of the world of dreams. Motivations have been set.

The Issues

All that being said, I have 2 large issues with the text so far. Issue number one is that there are a lot of pieces of information given in the way of info-dumps. That wouldn’t be terrible if this was a book focused on adults. After all, as an adult myself, I can read through a well placed info-dump. However. It seems like the target audience is children, based on the ages of the protags, and there are just so many info dump scenes for that to be the case.

My second issue runs along with the first. The second beef I have with this book is that there is far too much telling and not nearly enough showing. Perhaps these are the same thing, but to me they are slightly different. You can have a dialogue-based info-dump and still have a lot of action prose surrounding those statements. However, in this book, not only do the dialogues take up paragraphs, the surrounding paragraphs don’t show me anything about the world. It feels empty. Like I’m expected to know exactly what the world looks like. There’s no sound descriptions, or smells, or other details. It feels bland.

Not Finished Yet

Like I said previously, this story could still wow me away. I’m nowhere near finished with it yet. However, if things continue as they have, this book is likely to be an amazing conceptual work that falls short on execution. I’m still enjoying it, though.

Have you ever read a book where you enjoyed the concept but felt the execution fell short?

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Reviews

Gideon the Ninth Review

Des and I both loved this book. Here’s the video if you’d like to see our complete explanations. However, in summary, these are the three reasons why we thought Gideon the Ninth was an amazing title:

  1. The characters were each distinct from each other
  2. The world-building was gradual but also deep
  3. The tropes were twisted in satisfying ways

If you liked this video, don’t forget to check us out on our YouTube channel every Monday for new posts. Have you read Gideon the Ninth and what did you think of this title?

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Reading List Update

I’ve read two of the books on my reading list and I’d like to add a few more to keep me plugging on. So, this post will discuss the two I’ve finished as well as add two to the upcoming reads.

1. Warrior of the Wild

Warrior of the Wild by [Tricia Levenseller]

I read this one and did a review of it. In case you missed the article, you can check it out here at Book Review: Warrior of the Wild.

2. Gideon The Ninth

Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb Trilogy Book 1) by [Tamsyn Muir]

I heard this one described to me as lesbian necromancers in space. I was of course like bring it on. I was not disappointed. Also, I’m waiting anxiously for the sequel to come out in the month of August. That one will surely be at the top of my to read list as soon as it’s out. If you would like to pre-order Harrow the Ninth you can get it on Amazon.

Books I’m Adding To My List

1. There Will Come A Darkness

Amazon.com: There Will Come a Darkness (The Age of Darkness Book 1 ...

I’m hoping that this book will live up the expectation I have set for it. It seems like it will have a fun cast of characters. My only worry is that since there are four or five main protagonists that they may not get adequate time to build up those characters. Fingers crossed, however, that this book will not disappoint.

2. Tess of the Road

Amazon.com: Tess of the Road eBook: Hartman, Rachel: Kindle Store

I’m not going to lie, the incredible cover art is what drew me in on this one. But I’m hoping that this (presumably) adventure dragon-girl story.

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Reviews

Book Review: Warrior of the Wild

This YA book was an intense rite of passage/coming of age story. I was excited to read it based on the stellar book blurb as provided on Amazon. It was easy to read, so easy in fact that I finished it in a single afternoon. So, even if you’re pressed for time, this book is a good one to snag up and devour. In this article, we’ll go over what worked and what maybe needed some work.

The Plot

The plot was super simple and direct. In fact, it seemed so linear, and so clear, that there was little doubt that it needed to go any other way. One thing led to another, which led to another, in a simple and logical sequence. Spoilers: There weren’t any plot twists that the reader couldn’t have seen coming. And that was delightful. Many works of fiction these days have a “plot twist” for the sake of sensationalism and it comes across as not well done. So, I appreciated that this book went straight to the point without muddling up the waters.

What do you think? Does a book need a plot twist to be “good”?

Relationships and Retribution

friends of clara

The story deals a lot in relationships; be that father-daughter, daughter-mother, romantic, friendship, or even enemies. Basically, Warrior of the Wild has a lot to say about how we interact with other people. In fact, it comes off preachy at times with how much it has to say about interacting with others. That wasn’t a major sticking point for me, but it was an interesting thing to note.

SPOILERS

My biggest beef with the book is that the MCs father gets off scot-free. HE GETS OFF SCOT-FREE. Her mother does get a measure of punishment, but her father is the leader of the village and while the MC stands up to him, she doesn’t actually do anything to him. So, yeah. I took a bit of issue with that.

However, the rest of those that caused her grief got punishment and she also made positive relationships with other people to help her gain confidence in herself. Basically, she ends in a much healthier place than where she started and she seems much more competent in expressing her own needs.

Logic to Overcome Enemies

All of the victories the characters had felt earned which is a sticking point for many people in fantasy. Each enemy had a specific trick to overcome them and the MC and her friends had to figure out what that trick was to complete that task. In other words, it felt fulfilling every time they defeated an enemy.

The final opposition was especially fulfilling because it was a task that was assigned to the MC pretty much at the beginning of the book and it was something that had been building up until that final moment. After that, the book wrapped up quickly, so it was clear that this was the conflict’s focal point. And at no point was it clearer that the MC was the one with the skill and know-how required to defeat this enemy.

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