- STAR RATING: Four and a half stars
PAGE LENGTH: 496 pages
- DATE PUBLISHED: September 13th 2022
- PUBLISHER: Tor.com
WHAT SERIES? The Locked Tomb
- WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? Gideon the Ninth
- HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? 4
- CONTENT WARNINGS: Gore, body horror, death, child death
- IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: The only thing that’s maybe sort of kind of similar, if you squint, would be The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, for the tone of the writing, but for more necromancy, check out The Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix
Thank you to Netgalley and Tordotcom for providing an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Her city is under siege.
The zombies are coming back.
And all Nona wants is a birthday party.
In many ways, Nona is like other people. She lives with her family, has a job at her local school, and loves walks on the beach and meeting new dogs. But Nona’s not like other people. Six months ago she woke up in a stranger’s body, and she’s afraid she might have to give it back.
The whole city is falling to pieces. A monstrous blue sphere hangs on the horizon, ready to tear the planet apart. Blood of Eden forces have surrounded the last Cohort facility and wait for the Emperor Undying to come calling. Their leaders want Nona to be the weapon that will save them from the Nine Houses. Nona would prefer to live an ordinary life with the people she loves, with Pyrrha and Camilla and Palamedes, but she also knows that nothing lasts forever.
And each night, Nona dreams of a woman with a skull-painted face…
I’d wax poetic some more about how hard The Locked Tomb series is to review, but I fear that you’re probably tired of hearing that. (Once you pick these books up, you’ll see what I mean. I PROMISE.) So, we continue onwards. I had the profound luck to be granted access to an e-ARC of Nona the Ninth — Thank you, Tor.com. I love you forever. I had absolutely no idea what or where we were headed in this book. Way back when, Muir had announced (between Harrow and Nona) that The Locked Tomb was moving from a trilogy to a four book series. No one knew why, but I figured she had her reasons and I trusted her (and still do) to do what she needed to do to make this series as phenomenal as possible.
In terms of the series as a whole, Nona the Ninth is a bit of a side-quest, if you will. The main plot is present in this book, but it’s told in backflashes, dreams, and hinted at in whispers and behind closed doors by side characters. I have to be so careful about what I say as I do not and absolutely refuse to spoil what happens in this book. Muir once again knocks it out of the park with Nona the Ninth. You’ll be confused, but you’ll like it. And you will love Nona herself. She is an enormous cinnamon roll of a sweetheart wrapped up in innocence itself. As for characters from past books — they’re still present here, but a lot of them are presented in new ways. That’s all I can say there.
Nona the Ninth is a lot easier to follow than Harrow, but it’s not simple. Nothing about The Locked Tomb is simple, and I hope it never will be. This is a series you dive into and swim around in for awhile. This is a series that you’ll look up theories for online, and hope that maybe you’ve figured it out. This is a series that you’ll maybe need notes for, or a wiki up on another tab. It’s complicated, delicious, and so satisfying. Yes, you’ll have even more questions at the end of Nona, but oh what questions they’ll be. And, don’t worry, you’ll get answers. So, so many answers for the questions asked in Harrow and Gideon.
The ending of Nona is like if there was a train carrying fireworks going super super fast, and then it crashed in this huge spectacular crash, and absolutely none of the fireworks went off. (You’ll be standing there, watching the burning wreck, wondering shouldn’t they go off? Should I intervene, maybe? Should I call someone?) The ending of Nona will leave you questioning everything. Muir is a genius. A master at her craft. An author that will probably forever be an auto-buy author for me.