Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

“If you do not find yourself a galaxy, it is not so bad to find yourself a star.”

In a mysterious corner of the universe exists nine ancient houses with nine rulers and heirs gifted in different forms of morbid magic.

Some commune with ghosts. Some can suck the soul straight out of your body. And some, such as Lady Harrowhark Nonagesimus, can animate and control skeletons.

Gideon Nav is a ward of the Ninth House, and because of that, she is forced to live a mundane life on a maddeningly boring, dead planet. All Gideon dreams of is leaving this world of skeletons and decay behind, but one thing stands in her way. Harrow is heir to the Ninth House, one of the most powerful necromancers of the galaxy, and Gideon’s lifelong nemesis. She has intercepted every last one of Gideon’s attempts at escape, and this is where we find our two protagonists at the start of Gideon the Ninth.

After Harrow again foils Gideon’s escape plans, the necromancer makes her a very tempting offer. In exchange for Gideon’s service as Harrow’s “cavalier primary” (basically a bodyguard and champion) in a necromancer competition, Gideon will be awarded her freedom. If Harrow wins this competition, she will become the new lyctor to the Emperor (this universe’s version of God) and, therefore, will be able to save her failing house. Gideon accepts this offer, and the two mismatched partners head out on an adventure that is anything but what they expected.

Gideon the Ninth is the first book in The Locked Tomb trilogy by Tamsyn Muir.

This unique and somewhat ridiculous fantasy series is full of horror, politics, mystery, queer relationships, and A LOT of swearing. Since the third book of the trilogy, Nona the Ninth, was released in mid-September, I thought now would be a perfect time to get you hooked on this one-of-a-kind series.

Our fabulous protagonists are two of the many reasons I loved Gideon the Ninth. Witty, hilarious, and an absolute badass with a sword, Gideon is hugely over the top and holds nothing back. Harrow, however, is reserved, icy, terrifying, and lethal. If you’re a fan of the “enemies to lovers” or “grumpy/sunshine” romance tropes, you already know where that’s going.

Although this novel is confined to a single, spooky mansion and a small cast of characters, Muir uses this claustrophobia to her advantage. The story concentrates on the intense action surrounding a series of horrifying tests and the intimate connections between the participants.

Gideon the Ninth is a gooey romance and a gory fantasy/science fiction novel that will have you laughing, crying, and cringing the whole way through. The necromancy magic and the cobweb-filled setting make this the perfect book for October. Still, since everybody has their individual preferences regarding spooky season reads, it would be impossible for me to recommend only one…

Time for rapid fire recommendations!

Necromancers Martini


  • 2 ounces Bloody Mary mix
  • 2 ½ ounces gin
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • Olives and celery salt to garnish


  • Pour some celery salt onto a small plate. Take two martini glasses and rub the rims with lemon juice. Turn them upside down and cover half of the rim in the celery salt.
  • In a cocktail shaker, combine the Bloody Mary mix, gin, and dry vermouth. Add ice and shake.
  • Strain the mixture into the prepared martini glasses and garnish with olives.

Gideon’s Cider Mocktail


Cinnamon Ginger Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1-2 inches ginger root (peeled and thinly sliced)


  • 2 tbsp cinnamon ginger syrup
  • 1 cup apple cider (chilled)
  • Cinnamon sugar and apple slices to garnish


  • Prepare the simple syrup by adding all ingredients to a saucepan and cooking over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture cool completely then strain to remove the ginger and cinnamon sticks.
  • Pour cinnamon sugar onto a small plate. Wet the rim of your cocktail glass with apple cider then dip it into the cinnamon sugar.
  • Add ice to a cocktail shaker. Pour in the cider and simple syrup and shake.
  • Pour your mocktail into the prepared glass. Garnish with an apple slice or cinnamon stick.