Nona the Ninth: 3

by Tamsyn Muir (Autore)

Hardcover, 2022



Call number



Tor.Com (2022), 496 pages


Fantasy. Fiction. Tamsyn Muir's New York Times and USA Today bestselling Locked Tomb series continues with Nona ... the Ninth? In many ways, Nona is like other people. She lives with her family, has a job at her local school, and loves walks on the beach and meeting new dogs. But Nona's not like other people. Six months ago she woke up in a stranger's body, and she's afraid she might have to give it back. The whole city is falling to pieces. A monstrous blue sphere hangs on the horizon, ready to tear the planet apart. Blood of Eden forces have surrounded the last Cohort facility and wait for the Emperor Undying to come calling. Their leaders want Nona to be the weapon that will save them from the Nine Houses. Nona would prefer to live an ordinary life with the people she loves, with Pyrrha and Camilla and Palamedes, but she also knows that nothing lasts forever. And each night, Nona dreams of a woman with a skull-painted face. ...… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member macha
go back and (re)read the first two books in the Locked Tomb series before you start; you'll be glad you did, and not only because it starts in medias res. the voice of this one, the very particular world of what a child chooses to see and feel, the colour of every moment, is so beautifully done.
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the whole world contained in Nona's small made family is alive to the touch and deeply, heartstoppingly real. meanwhile, we're finally introduced to the larger backstory - the sf tale of the apocalypse that once set up this death cult. an instant classic series with one more book to go.
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LibraryThing member rookline
This is the book that's converted me to a fully fledged Tamsyn Muir fan. Enjoyed the previous two books, but found it hard to get attached to this crazy bone world. This one retroactively improved them for me. Characters felt deeper and more grounded. The perspective of a young character was done
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masterfully - a depiction of genuinely weird/intense girlhood done well - reminded me at times of the early chapters of 'The Mill On The Floss' Honestly, would be a joy to read for her handling of language alone.
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LibraryThing member rivkat
Let me begin by confessing that I never had much idea what was going on in the previous books, content to skate on the surface of their wild fantastic imagination. But definitely by the end of Harrow the Ninth, I was beginning to think that these were the bad guys, and this book basically confirmed
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my take: When you tell me that Resurrection Beasts hunt necromancers because a bunch of planets died, even strategic silence on how those planets died will not avoid suspicion, especially since in Harrow they actually do kill a planet. Of course these particular people did not themselves start the system—that was God/John, and in this book we learn a fair amount more about what he thought he was doing. Nona herself is a passive, childlike presence through the book, very much acted upon rather than actor, and her emotions are often not deep or explained, which is a structural difficulty. I understand this began as a section of what is now going to be book four, and perhaps it ought to have stayed that way.
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LibraryThing member TheDivineOomba
This is a filler book. But WHAT a filler book it is! I have no idea what is going on, but neither does Nona, so its okay. Does it make sense, I really have no idea. However, the characters are grounded, from Nona's Protectors, to Nona herself, a brand new being who just wants a birthday party. The
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history of the nine planets is touched on, including why John Gaius is God. That is also some crazy stuff. I quite liked that we see John going from reasonable, to not so reasonable as the book progressed.

A few things. There's a lot of stuff happening, and it starts immediately there is no summarizing of the previous book and while it is an immediate sequel to the last one, the setting and events are so different, it feels almost like a stand alone. There are references to the first two books, but because Nona is so... innocent and doesn't remember, the reader is mostly bewildered about what's happening.

I'm very curious what will happen in the next book, with this author, it could go so many ways.
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LibraryThing member Black-Lilly
This was fun.
I had no expectations for it when I heard that a there will be another book before Alecto finally comes out, but I was pleasantly surprised by it.
It is a crazy ride to figure out together with Nona who she is and in the end nothing is like it seems and yet everything is exactly how it
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seems, in typical Muir fashion.

Nona is sweet, Nona is loved, or it least liked, but then "what's like except a love that hasn't been invited indoors?"
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LibraryThing member quondame
WTF. This book isn't what I expected, which seems a common occurrence. Nona is a character with maybe 6mo of experience, a couple of unusual abilities, ready affections in a world which looks like it won't be around to finish out the week. She is being cared for by 3 people in 2 bodies and "works"
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as a teacher's aid. I've rated this 3.5 because that's mostly what I rate books that are interesting to read and don't annoy me, but really I have no idea, just I didn't love it or feel it carried enough substance to rate it more highly.
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LibraryThing member Narilka
"Life is too short and love is too long."

Be prepared to toss out everything you think you knew and get ready for the strange and delightful ride that is Nona the Ninth, book three in Tamsyn Muir's Locked Tomb series. As a fan of the series I really should be used to this by now and yet it still
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caught me off guard at just how different this book was to what's come before. I absolutely loved it. I love Nona and Nona loves me.

This is a slow burn story yet it never seemed to drag for me. The first half of the book deals with the day to day life of Nona and her family (eating breakfast, going to school, etc.) as the mystery of Nona and what's really going on begins to unfold. Plus the mystery of Camilla and Palamedes. Oh and the mystery of Pyrrah. Did I mention there's a lot of mysteries? I probably left some out of the list. This set up lets us see what's going on in the universe outside of the Nine Houses. It is disturbing. The idyllic moments don't last as the second half of the book explodes, almost literally, and the action starts. Then it becomes a frantic race to answer the question of Nona before it's too late. I had a hard time putting the book down I was so engaged.

It's also a book of reveals. We are given John's origin story, which includes the background of the original Lyctors, told brilliantly using biblical imagery and references. Apparently those bible verse codes are an alphanumeric cypher which gives you a cool teaser for Alecto by the end in addition to the actual bible verses having relevance to that which is revealed. Thanks so much to my buddy read pal Iain for pointing this out! We also learn more about the Blood of Eden organization and what they're fighting for.

The cast of Nona is brilliant. Nona is such a joy to read with her sweet innocence and quirks. I just wanted to hug her and be her friend. Camilla and Palamedes have cemented their position as my favorite necro/cav pair with their devotion to each other and Nona. The kids at the school and the dog Noodle are fun. Pyrrah is a tough nut to crack but even she won a small piece of my heart. I loved spending time getting to know everyone.

In the end, this is all one big set up for events to come in Alecto. I hope we get to see some flashes of Nona in the final book. Her sweet innocence was so refreshing in this dark and strange universe.
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LibraryThing member Shrike58
By this point in the game I know better than to expect any preconceptions I might have about this series to play out as I suspect, Nona the character was certainly not the person that I would have bet on her to be. I also think that the publisher did everyone a favor by breaking up the original
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third novel into two books, as it would otherwise have been unwieldy. As for this installment, one learns more about what it's like to be on the receiving end of the Empire of the Nine Houses, besides getting the origin story of John Gaius (Necrolord Prime). And yes, the tomb is opened. I don't think that anyone who has read along this far will be disappointed.
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LibraryThing member hblanchard
Although I absolutely love Gideon the Ninth, for me, the remaining more serious books have left me wanting. I hoped Nona would turn this around, and, although it has its bright points (Nona and her life, in particular) I'm very much left with the feeling of "can someone please tell me what's going
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on now, pleeeease" - I might suggest to other readers to either re-read the earlier books closer in time first, or, make use of the wiki. Nevertheless, a book that needs a wiki, is a book that's, um, imperfect. Wow that sounds like I didn't like the book, oh dear, I did; you get more Locked Tomb, crazy magic, crazy merging of science fiction and fantasy, and, indeed, through dream flashback, an actual reveal (sort of) of how the universe of Gideon the Ninth originated. Anyway, it's worth the trip, and the ambiguity.
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LibraryThing member lavaturtle
I have really mixed feelings about this book. Nona is a fun character, and I really liked the relationships she has with the people who care for her and her school friends. But much like the previous book, when it comes to necromancer intrigue and the rebellion vs. the Houses, I was constantly
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confused. Maybe it would be easier to follow if I had re-read the previous books first? Or maybe we're supposed to be confused, because Nona is also unclear on what's going on?
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LibraryThing member Gwendydd
Just like the second book in the series, for a lot of this book I didn't necessarily understand what was happening, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Nona is a delightful character: unlike Harrow and Gideon, she is sweet and innocent and trusting and affectionate, and the contrast between her and
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everyone else in this series is hilarious.
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LibraryThing member Glennis.LeBlanc
review to come

I wasn’t in love with the previous book, but I really liked the first one so much that I grabbed the third book to listen to. The narration was great, and I think that kept me in more than anything else. Nona comes across as a young amnesia victim living with older people that care
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about her but not related to her. Her three caretakers watch for any signs of her changing or remembering more. They live in a city that is a under the threat of violence and Nona has to hide that she is different from everyone she meets. There is a subplot that tells the backstory of the Emperor Undying that ties into everything that has happened before. Fans of the series will love the ending even if you are left wanting more.
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LibraryThing member admiralfinnegan
As usual with this series, the book is very well written and the character work is excellent. The only reason I gave this 4 instead of 4.5 is that I felt like there was too much ambiguity present. Ambiguity isn't a bad thing, but coming off the heels of the second book, I wanted more clarity. Also,
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I'm very upset about what's going on with Nav.
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LibraryThing member caedocyon
Confusing queer punny experimental hilarious sci fi is my raison d'etre, thanks. Ranks slightly below Harrow because it didn't actually make me cry, but it was close.
LibraryThing member BornAnalog
Easily the best of the Locked Tomb series (so far!), mainly because Muir seems to be growing out of some of the adolescent self-indulgence that characterized the firs (especially) and the second (to a lesser extent) novels. Instead of relying on "witty" (ahem) scatalogical banter to stand in for
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character development, she just gets on with the task of building strong, intriguing characters challenged by a confusing and shifting reality.

I am full of admiration for what she has achieved with the character of Nona. There are so many ways this character could have gone wrong, falling into a number of stereotypical portrayals of a child in an adult's body, or even worse stereotypes that portrayed her as disabled in some way. But Muir manages to avoid all of these and instead creates a person that is utterly her own thing. She is as mystified by herself as those around her, some things are hard for her but she has a wide range of skills, wonderful observation skills even if she doesn't always understand what she is seeing, and a basic kindness toward those around her that is a breath of fresh air after the two previous novels centered on a bunch of self-centered jerks. The other characters are also, for the most part, fully developed, and Muir is interested in their growth and change. Rarely are they simply played for laughs. Even some of the minor characters, We Suffer comes to mind, are engaging. And while the novel may center on Nona, Muir also demonstrates that she has always understood that the emotional core of this entire series is not any of the titular characters, or their relationships, but the bond, the love, between Camilla and Palamedes. So rich and human are these character interactions that when Ianthe and Gideon show up later on and resume their eight-year old bickering, it is so obviously juvenile and shallow that it should make the smart reader wonder why Muir chose to center two entire novels around such annoying superficiality.

I'm mightily impressed with Muir's ability to dislocate her readers into completely new worlds in each of these novels, and then allowing them to gradually build the necessary connections themselves. There's a lot to try to figure out in this one (where the characters are, how they got there, what they are doing, whose side they are on, if the question of "sides" is even relevant any more) not to mention that we, along with everyone else, is trying to figure out who and what Nona is.

The world-building and intricate plotting is as effective and engaging as it was in the previous two book, but the cumulative effect is so much more effective because Muir is exercising more restraint here, and resisting the urge to tell us all how witty and clever she is. Instead, she just shows us how clever she is. The interpolated "dream" sequences that fill in the blanks about the earth's destruction are effective and frequently moving. They are nicely tied in with the biblical references to the book of John, and that reference then makes perfect sense of the hilarious (and commendably brief) faux King James Bible epilogue at the end.

After the second book I was just about done with this series, and only stuck with this one because it is a book club read. But I'm glad I did, and I am eagerly looking forward to Alecto.
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LibraryThing member parasolofdoom
Loved as much as the previous volumes though this has a bit of an interlude quality, which might be off-putting for some. I'm looking forward to Alecto next year and an excuse to reread the first three :D.
LibraryThing member Tom_Wright
Quirky Nona is simply a delight.

The shift in style between each book is jarring and tough to understand.

Can't wait for the next book.
LibraryThing member fred_mouse
I like Muir's writing, and i'm invested in this series, but I'm not entirely sure what I was reading, and at no point did I really feel like I understood either the plot of this story, or how it was contributing to the series. The far past details were useful context and gave some of the world
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building, but I'm not sure how much value there was for me in that context.

It is, however, very pretty writing, and that alone was enough to keep me going. I don't need to understand if the writing and characters are interesting.
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LibraryThing member WeeTurtle
Again I find myself of a couple different minds on this book. This book so far has the most consistent reading narrative. Personally, however, I find myself caught in that space where I'm not interested enough in the writing to want to read the book, but I am interested to see where the story goes,
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and if my speculations are correct. To that end, I did find myself more interested in the secondary narrative of John's over Nona's.

It took a bit but Nona did grow on me, and I have to applaud Muir for what feels like a very adept portrayal of kids.
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Hugo Award (Nominee — Novel — 2023)
Nebula Award (Nominee — Novel — 2022)
Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year (Science Fiction and Fantasy — 2022)


Original publication date


Physical description

496 p.; 8.5 inches


1250854113 / 9781250854117
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