Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, F/F
I received an advance copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Harrow is now a Lyctor, and joins God and the other Lyctors in a war they cannot win. Her health is failing and her mind is, too – she is almost sure she’s going mad.
Harrow the Ninth is a puzzle of a book – entirely different from Gideon the Ninth, it starts exchanging between present (second person) and past (person), which I found terribly confusing. For a (fleeting) moment I considered not continuing the book at all because it was frustrating to try to keep up; while book 1 is deliciously addictive from chapter one, it took book 2 almost 70% of the book to feel the same way for me. Harrow is quite different from the first book, and the reader should be ready to be patient with it. It is worth reading through the confusing chapters, I promise, and once you start getting answers (and some of them you can try to guess yourself, which was exciting for me), it’s seriously worth it. The twists blew my mind.
The confusing chapters mimic well Harrow’s state of mind and you really won’t mind it too much once you see why it’s done this way. Harrow is a delightfully grumpy, short-tempered character and I love her with my every bone, so it was also nice to get a book through her point of view. I don’t want to say too much about it so as not to risk spoiling it; all you need to know is: read on even when it’s all too confusing, and you’ll get answers.
I was a little disappointed with the ending, though. The book slowly picks up steam, then goes full-blown amazing, and then quite suddenly it’s over and you’re left with more questions and a cliffhanger. Comparing to Gideon, this is a 3-star book for me. But overall, without directly comparing to book 1, I thought this deserved 4 stars. It does suffer from Book Two In a Trilogy Syndrome, in which book 1 hypes you up with the world building and character potential, book 3 finished the story with amazing twists and destroys you emotionally… and book 2 is left to work as a ladder between both.
This book feels a lot more like science fiction than Gideon the Ninth did, but I insist that it’s a space fantasy (much like Star Wars). We see more space travel, other planets but it never gets too tech-y, and also we get Gothic mansion mystery/horror on top of that, which I adore. This series still has my whole heart, despite my ranting above. I cannot wait to find out how it ends!