Sep 192019

B&N SFF Blog: Gideon is terrifically funny and easy to root for, and her plain-speaking snark and crude asides peel the varnish off the coiffured world she inhabits…

…almost every member of the cast becomes well-defined, interesting, and treated with a sincerity that comes almost as a surprise in a book as proudly sarcastic as this one can be—something especially potently felt in the mutating, if always adversarial, relationship between Gideon and Harrow. And if almost every member of the supporting cast plays to type—the scholar, the fanatic, the soldier, the arrogant princess, the affable knight—it only adds to the fun of being trapped with them in a weirdo gothic space thriller, and such a terrible shame that the twists and turns of Muir’s plot prove so very, very dangerous for her characters. As perhaps expected from a book with a confetti of bones on the cover and the prefix “necro” attached liberally throughout, much of the action is fittingly gruesome and probably not for delicate constitutions.

Muir’s debut is smart, fun, and fresh, bursting with thrilling action and derring do, genuinely puzzling puzzles, lots of swears, heaps of yucky dead things, and a storm of skeletons. The wild tonal contrasts and kitchen-sink approach to both the genre and the prose (spot the buried Simpsons reference amid a scene of otherwise tense exposition) somehow works in symphonic harmony, thanks to an extraordinarily likable heroine supported by Muir’s whip-sharp voice and clockwork plotting. The end of the novel gestures toward larger interplanetary goings-on that will presumably materialize in planned sequels, good news for readers who will be eager to dive back into Muir’s madcap techno-necromantic world. Consider my bags packed for wherever Muir would like to take me next (though my stomach would perhaps appreciate slightly less detailed descriptions of cartilage on the next trip).