Review: Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Harrow the NinthAuthor: Tamsyn Muir
Series: The Locked Tomb #2
Publisher: Tor.com
Release: August 4th, 2020
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

I received a copy of Harrow the Ninth in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Harrow the Ninth is the second and incredibly highly anticipated novel in Tamsyn Muir’s Locked Tomb series. Odds are pretty good that you heard about Gideon the Ninth, which blew through the literary world like a storm. Well, now it’s time for Harrow to tell her story.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus is one of the most driven characters you’ll find. She survived the events in Gideon the Ninth, and now, as a Lyctor. Unfortunately, she’s not exactly sane or stable at the moment. She is a necromancer who has always been, shall we say…haunted.

That is a problem made all the worse by the fact that she’s one of the last few necromancers standing at the side of her Emperor – a god in her eyes. It may even be an unwinnable war – especially when one considers the opposition. Yet here Harrow will stand.

“’I need you to hide my infirmity,’ said Harrowhark. ‘You see, I am insane.’”

Spoiler Warning

Holy saints, my mind is reeling. It has been a week since I finished Harrow the Ninth, and I’m only now sitting down to write a review. Why? Because I feel like it took me that long to properly digest it all.

There is SO much that happened within this novel, and I loved all of it. But before I dive into all of that, I should mention a few things. First, a large chunk of Harrow the Ninth is written in second person. I know that this tends to put off many readers, but trust me, there’s a reason for it.

The second person formatting intentionally obfuscates and confuses, which makes it absolutely perfect when coming from an unreliable narrator. Something that Harrow certainly is. Her sanity is even more in question this time around, which is saying something.

This was admittedly a bit of a risk, but frankly? I love that Tamsyn Muir was bold enough to take it. Given the success of Gideon the Ninth, she could have basically done whatever she wanted. Instead, she took a huge leap and created something like I’ve never seen before.

Harrow’s journey lived up to its namesake – it was a harrowing read. It was intense and brilliant, and I personally loved trying to suss out the truth through Harrow’s confusion and jumps through time. It was such a unique reading experience, and one I will not soon forget.

So let me just say this: if you’re struggling with the second person perspective, give it a bit of time. Around the sixty percent mark (I tried to make note of the transition), you’ll be seeing less of it, all while getting answers to many of the questions that’ll have been building up that whole time.

Speaking of buildup, it was exquisitely done here. I mean that with as much sincerity as possible. I was on the edge of my seat by the end of the book, something that wouldn’t have had nearly the same amount of impact if not for the mystery that came before.

Looking back on it, and knowing what I do now, so many of the little details strewn around make sense. Additionally, I’m left wondering what Alecto the Ninth will be like. I have an idea now, thanks to Harrow’s tale. Frankly, I can’t wait to dive in and find out for sure.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, graphic designer, and much more. I love to create art, and am willing to try any artistic technique at least once. I am particularly fond of artworks involving a lot of emotion and color. The purpose of my blog is for me to be open and honest with myself and the world about my attempts to grow as an artist. My other major passion is reading. My TBR pile is larger than I'll ever be able to read, and yet I can't resist adding to it on a nearly daily basis. I love to read science fiction & fantasy, graphic novels, and pretty much anything I can get my hands on. I have a couple of blogs, as you can see. One is primarily my photography, while the other are my book reviews. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!
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