Quick Review – Nona the Ninth

Tamsyn Muir
Big Thick Book of I Don’t Know
(CWs Below)

Nona in the center of a sandy, perhaps desert location, dark blue heavenly light above her. She has two braids, and a silly hamburger shirt beneath a loosely tied jacket. There is a white six legged dog to her left, she is holding a mask in her left hand and there is a skeleton rising on the right, with more bones at her feet. In the night sky are a couple of planet like objects.


I do like Muir’s writing. Gideon the Ninth is a romp, Harrow the Ninth starts out confusing but is also a romp – containing the best revenge killing ever, really – while at the same time being a study in deep grief.

Nona the Ninth is also confusing. It’s a good read, fun, lots of jokes, but the story really does not get rocking until two thirds of the way through and this is a LONG book. In the same exasperating way you can’t really step into a Marvel universe movie without having seen a bunch of others, you’re going to do yourself a great disservice if this is the first of The Locked Tomb books you’ve read. I’ve read all of them, but I did not go back and reread the first two before reading Nona, and that was a big mistake. I struggled to recall things that Muir takes for granted that you’d remember, so there are lots of cameos and callouts I missed out on. Also, while I appreciate Muir’s gothic, heady, backwards first writing style, the end lacked a great deal of emotional punch, mostly because I am not an uber fan totally up on my Locked Tomb mythos. Even if you’ve read all of the books and remember All the Things, I suspect the ending might be a bit of a flat landing for you. At least it was for me.

I did a a bit of research on this book, and I know that Nona wasn’t planned – that it was an extra book that contains the first arc of what was supposed to be included in the upcoming Alecto the Ninth. I was very unsurprised to read that. The plotting in the book struggles from a lack of tight finesse, and while it’s interesting, I feel that it came to publication as it is – an unplanned title – because the publisher knew it would sell. I pretty much agree with this review at Gizmodo. Nona is a whole lot of missed opportunity.

Content Warnings – death, blood dismemberment, violence, war

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