Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.
... a freaky science-fantasy-horror-romance mash-up that owes its innards to M.A.S.H. and Harry Potter in equal measure; to a thousand Agatha Christie locked-house mysteries and Sweet Valley High. The set-up is genius ... Muir uses the claustrophobia and narrowed focus to fine purpose ... too funny to be horror, too gooey to be science fiction, has too many spaceships and autodoors to be fantasy, and has far more bloody dismemberings than your average parlor romance. It is altogether its own thing — brilliantly original, messy and weird straight through. With a snorting laugh and two middle fingers, the whole thing burns end-to-end. It is deep when you expect shallow, raucous when you expect dignity and, in the end, absolutely heartbreaking when you least expect it.
... an incredibly immersive book, with a rich, detailed mythology, gorgeously balanced sentences, and a genuinely meaningful central relationship ... I started this book chuckling at the outrageous premise. I finished it crying, because the ending punched me straight in the gut ... Muir establishes this complex world so simply and so elegantly that it never becomes overwhelming. She provides just enough exposition to more or less give the gist of what’s going on at any given moment, and her grasp on the narrative is so sure that you can relax as you read... Mostly, Muir lets the plot unfold in the background where you’re not looking, and she lets her characters do the driving. And they are incredibly charming drivers ... Throughout, Muir’s prose is sleek and compulsively readable. She has a genius for sliding her voice seamlessly from Lovecraftian gothic mode into a slangy contemporary mode without ever undercutting one or the other for cheap comedy. Instead, the contemporary mode makes the cast of characters feel familiar and recognizable, the Lovecraftian horror makes the world feel expansive and terrifying, and the slippage between both powers the book forward ... The result is immersive; it demands to be swallowed down in long, luxurious gulps. I devoured it in two days and then spent the next day brooding over it, worrying the characters around in my mind.
... weird-wild-and-wonderful ... fun. To reflect the tone of the book itself: it’s fun as fuck. Muir had a grand ol’ time writing this fast-paced, darkly funny, spookily horrific novel and that shines clear through each line. Gideon is a protagonist after mine own heart. It’s her voice and her perspective that brings the book to vibrant life. Muir balances comedic timing with creeping monstrosity, body horror against mad science, intrigue against friendship against alliance against affection. And, somehow, all of the tropes and sly asides to them work in concert to create a perfect mélange of action, fright, political machinations, and romantic tension ... a fine example of the ways in which a familiar pattern can be used to bring rambunctious life into a plot ... The plot itself is, of course, also great fun ... With one debut book, Muir has leapt up the list of continuations I’m eagerly awaiting—so, while we wait for the next installment of lesbian necromancers, snippy hilarious dialogue, and violent political intrigue, I’ll keep thinking about Gideon the Ninth.