Review: Harrow the Ninth

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a bit of a tough read as a sequel. In many ways it is completely unlike the first book. The first book is full of exploration and action. Gideon is our way into this world and boy are they a fun lens into the world. This time we find ourselves following Harrow. Harrow isn’t narrating. In fact, if you listen to the audiobook, rather than read the book, the narrator is a dead giveaway thanks to the audiobook narrator’s voice. But we’re following Harrow around. There are many ways in which this could have been interesting given the analytical mind Harrow seems to have in the first book. But, for reasons that it takes 75% of the book to unwind, Harrow’s mind is a bit unwell. (this NPR article articulates what I am trying to get across here… )

So as Tamsyn Muir introduces us to a lot more about how the universe of The Locked Tomb works and why book 1 proceeded as it did, we’re experiencing it through a cracked window. We’re often left unsure of whether we’re getting accurate information or not. It can sometimes make for a frustrating read. We also have a series of flashbacks to the first book that are completely disorienting at first. Well, to be perfectly honest, they’re disorienting until the book’s climax.

So I often found myself wanting to continue reading, but warring with feelings of joy at learning more about the world and frustration at Harrow’s situation. I will also say that I’m not 100% sure what happened at the end or what’s going on with the Epilogue.

While reading I found the book had some interesting things to ponder. What does it mean to be God? Are God’s actions always justified? What are the effects of living more or less forever? Many stories I’ve read in the past have tackled this topic, but rarely is there a whole group of folks living forever. (As opposed to one person who has to see everyone else die or fade away)

The climax, as in the first book, is pretty awesome and once I got there I didn’t want to stop reading (or listening in this case) until it was over.

We have the same narrator and they are once again superb.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next book this fall.

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