Gideon the Ninth

By Tamsyn Muir,

Book cover of Gideon the Ninth

Book description

15+ pages of new, original content, including a glossary of terms, in-universe writings, and more!

A USA Today Best-Selling Novel!

"Unlike anything I've ever read. " --V.E. Schwab

"Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!" --Charles Stross

"Brilliantly original, messy and weird straight through." --NPR

The Emperor needs…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

22 authors picked Gideon the Ninth as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I love necromancers in space settings and opinionated characters with a strong voice, and Tamsyn Muir’s book did not disappoint. The book gradually ramps the action, emotion, and secrets until I couldn’t put it down. I was pulled into Gideon’s plight, first as she attempts to yet again escape indentured servitude to the necromancer Harrow, then as she helps Harrow navigate the deadly mysteries of Caanan House in exchange for her freedom.

I loved the fraught relationship between Harrow and Gideon as they navigated their complicated emotions and expectations of each other. The ending was particularly poignant, as their earlier…

Gideon the Ninth lit up the sky of the science fiction/fantasy world when it was published, launching the Locked Tomb series (which is ongoing, and great; third volume Nona the Ninth is especially lovely).

It's been described as "lesbian necromancers in space" but it's more "lesbian necromancer and swordsperson on various weird planets in the far future with a god-emperor who uses death magic to fight planet-sized spectral monsters...." for a start.

The whole series is enigmatic, complex, and laced through with humor, action, and yearning, but the first book is notable for the power of Gideon's voice.

From Tim's list on fantasy with women heroines.

It's a strange way to kick off a series of science fiction recommendations, but the first thing that drew me into this book is that it’s really more of a fantasy novel (that just happens to take place in space).

This book was my break from a long self-imposed laundry list of the classics, and it completely shook me up as a reader. I remembered what it was like to be so engrossed in a book that you’re staying up late in bed and ordering the next in the series when you’re only halfway through the first. I remembered what…

The oh-so-many blurts of “No, she won’t” moments before she did. The howls of laughter at Tamysyn’s outrageousness. The amazing, vivid, ingenious worldbuilding. 

The prying at where is she going with this? The action, the innuendo, the voice. The gender-bending freak show enculturation built up at a near epic levels. I cannot remember the last time a book entertained and intrigued me on so many levels.

Gideon the Ninth was recommended to me with its alluring tagline, “Lesbian necromancers in space.”

It took me a while to get into it, but when I did, I surprised myself with how invested I became in what initially sounded like a pretty silly premise.

This delightfully byzantine construction of a novel is full of easter eggs, of bizarre and gross bone magic, but also of children who are isolated and deprived. It is, in the end, about trauma and grief, about maintaining your dignity in impossible situations, with great pathos and dirty jokes.

I have had so many conversations…

Okay I’m fibbing a bit again with this one, but the books in this series are unabashedly queer and weird, and the method of space travel is like nothing you’ve ever seen.

These books fall much more clearly on the line of space fantasy than straight-up sci-fi, but they are wild and unforgettable reads. Gideon Nav is the titular character of Gideon the Ninth. She’s hilarious, goofy, loyal to an absolute fault, and utterly filthy. The other characters will break your heart and patch it up multiple times over the course of this book and the others.

Thankfully, most of…

Really, this book had me at lesbian necromancers. Who could resist that?

I stuck around for the sheer weirdness of the world Tamsyn Muir creates and the snarky toughness of the main character, Gideon Nav. Is this fantasy? Science fiction? Queer romance? Yes. And no. I love that Gideon doesn’t care about any of the things she’s supposed to care about. She just wants to survive in all her sarcastic glory and she’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.

From Robyn's list on women who just won’t quit.

If you're looking for something truly different, I recommend Gideon the Ninth.

This novel follows two necromancers training to serve their immortal overlord, but dangerous secrets lurk in their dark domain. The setting is one of the most unique I've ever read: a mysterious Gothic palace in deep space, giving readers sci-fi elements blended with classic horror tropes. But Muir's words are what really sing.

Her vivid descriptions will wrap you up in this strange, yet sticky and uncomfortable, world. With a snarky protagonist in Gideon, captivating twists, and monsters of such an unpleasant makeup that you’ll want to…

I have a soft spot for books that feature necromancy, so I had to pick this up. Right away, I felt for the MC’s plight of feeling trapped in the life laid out for her, and then I felt intense anger towards the one responsible only to find they must work together. There is humor, drama, and heart in this tale. When I read I want to be made to feel something, and this book has that in spades, even if a lot of the time I find myself feeling anger at how the MC is treated. She has a…

From Denise's list on fantasy that anime lovers will enjoy.

When I read this book, it was so different from anything I’d read before it, and that remains the case a few years later! This is a darker read, with lots of gross parts – so be warned. Having said that, Gideon Nav, the protagonist of this book, is hands down the most entertaining narrator I’ve ever read, and that’s why I’ve picked her here. Her offsider, Harrowhark, is her polar opposite, and the two of them are such a fantastic pairing, I honestly couldn’t stop turning pages to read more of their interactions.

Gideon is Harrowhark’s cavalier (read: bodyguard),…

Want books like Gideon the Ninth?

Our community of 11,000+ authors has personally recommended 100 books like Gideon the Ninth.

Browse books like Gideon the Ninth

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in lesbian topics and characters, magic-supernatural, and presidential biography?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about lesbian topics and characters, magic-supernatural, and presidential biography.

Lesbian Topics And Characters Explore 127 books about lesbian topics and characters
Magic-Supernatural Explore 625 books about magic-supernatural
Presidential Biography Explore 19 books about presidential biography