In the second of the Locked Tomb series by Tamsyn Muir, we follow the story of Harrow. But this isn’t the same Harrow from Gideon the Ninth. It seems like this is a Harrow from an alternate timeline and the original Harrow died. Except not really.
However, there are points where the narrative seems to jump back to referencing the previous Harrow, which makes the second-person point of view all the more confusing. There’s a distance created with the second-person perspective that leaves both main character and reader detached from Harrow.
Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure I understood what happened in this book. The varying memories and characters make it a convoluted mess that’s hard to follow. Essentially, it all comes down to a continued war waged against a revenant planet that, if I’m not mistaken, was controlled by god the Emperor the whole time.
There are so many characters that come and go, die and then turn out not to be dead, it makes it impossible to know what’s real and what isn’t. But perhaps that’s the point, as the Harrow the reader is following in this story appears to be losing her mind.
Except not really? It turns out she’s haunted by a ghost that her mind has turned into a monster called The Sleeper. Unclear who this figure is and their connection to Harrow. One of the more fun parts of the story happens when Harrow uses the power of narrative to combat her enemy. Using the old stories of heroes she grew up with, she creates a magical narrative to fight The Sleeper, literally speaking the outcome of the battle into existence.
Gideon does feature in this novel, but it’s hard to delve into her side of the story without major spoilers. But the plot twist with her character at the end does leave me so intrigued to continue reading the series. However, if the next book is just as convoluted and confusing as this one, I’m not sure I can finish it.