World building that throws you in

I’m two-thirds through Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir and there is still so much I don’t know about the world in this book.

This is not a bad thing.

It is a rare book that throws you into a world, assuming you’ll stay along for the ride. It doesn’t always work. Muir pulls it off.

We start on the planet of the Ninth House. Super dark and creepy. Lots of skeletons and weird nuns praying over strings of bones. Aha! A Ninth House implies at least House One through Eight.

Gideon wants to leave and fight in the imperial army. A space ship is coming for her. Ok, there’s at minimum interplanetary travel.

A couple of pages in and there’s a lot going on. So many questions spring to mind but it’s enough information to start.

Gideon and her frenemy Harrow fly to the First House. (I’m not getting into the plot here.) They land, along with seven other ships, each containing two representatives. We know the house is enormous and that’s about it. No matter because we learn about the house once we’re inside.

In classic gothic style, this mansion (what’s a word for something between a mansion and a castle?) has many floors and hundreds of doors. In the Upstairs/Downstairs version of this book, which I would totally watch, there are skeleton servants and three priests lightly overseeing events.

I am loving this book and clearly there has been good descriptions of the world(s) of this book. But I want more! I have so many questions!!

How did all these necromancers come to live on these planets? Something about being resurrected but what? What is the Lock Tomb on the ninth planet? Why is there an army? The nine planets don’t seem to be fighting themselves? Are there more planets out there? Do they also have necromancers???

I love that have these questions. Muir gives us the information we need to understand the immediate world of the characters, including the decrepit mansion, while hinting at a large world to explore. I’m sure I’ll learn more as I finish the book and then when I immediately start Harrow the Ninth.

If you want to hear my brother Craig and his friend Andrew discuss Gideon the Ninth, check out their podcast Overdue.

https://overduepodcast.com/episodes/2021/7/9/ep-482-gideon-the-ninth-the-locked-tomb-1-by-tamsyn-muir-bonus-episode

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