Nona the Ninth
September 14, 2022 11:21 AM - Subscribe

Her city is under siege. The zombies are coming back. And all Nona wants is a birthday party.

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...
posted by snerson (43 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yaaaaaaaaay!

One of my student workers confessed that she loves the series and had scored an ARC! I’m so jealous….
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:37 PM on September 14


The simple joy of reading that first page of Dramatis Personae was practically worth the price of the book, and totally had me hooked. A real bead on exactly who Nona is and what makes her tick.

If a Muir book suggests that something must be either A or B .. it will be something unexpected instead.

I devoured this (helpfully it was an air travel day) but the last 1/3 was way past my ability to comprehend (and I think when the real action kicked off), so I'll pick it up again this week end. As usual, some confusion when titles or nicknames were used for characters (Am I confused, or are you calling that person 'she' pronouns AND "prince" both? Blood of Eden folks hiding their identities, etc) , or whether or not to try to match the redacted names like A— to folks we've encountered before.

Speaking of matching things up, I guess I also need to check if the "dream" chapter headings correspond to something in the regular Christian bible.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 2:38 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


Also y'all don't miss the recent metafilter post made in advance of this book coming out.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 2:38 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Discussion question: Is Ianthe the garbage Mercymorn (given that Mercymorn is already pretty garbage)?
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:50 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


The Gospel According to Jod: list of gospel verses referenced in Nona The Ninth

Is Ianthe the garbage Mercymorn (given that Mercymorn is already pretty garbage)?

I love that Muir gives us so many flavors of dirtbag ladies to enjoy. Dirtbag as a compliment. FWIW, I think their douchebaggery comes from different places (deep resentment and grief versus, like, Ianthe's inherently horrible personality? her ambition? her privilege? whatever it is she has going on with Coronabeth????). ATN is going to be Ianthe's show, I'm sure.

Speaking of assholes: John Fucking Gaius, anyone? What a vile little man. Absolute scum. Can't wait to see more of him. I have a pet theory that his body will be separated into many parts and distributed across the houses/human-occupied planets - that sort of thing has been referenced at least twice in passing in GTN and HTN, which is as good as a signpost for this author lol.

Speaking of human occupied planets, holy shit y'all, we really were not told much about how much/how often Lyctors had been killing Goldilocks planets. The information we briefly see about resettlement and humans being refugees from thanergetic planets is truly awful. I'm curious to see how that will be handled with Earth and Alecto, because it seems to still be habitable, if only lightly so.

I enjoyed getting a closer look at Blood of Eden, and interestingly, it seems like they have a separate naming convention from the other non-House humans we meet. Compare Wake or We Suffer's full names with Hot Sauce, Born in the Morning, and Honesty. Also, love that Aim's ancestor was Emma Sen. MSN, AIM. So intrigued to find out more about the remaining 2 parts of the message, especially because Jod drew attention to the fact that the internet doesn't exist in the Houses. (I've been noticing/obsessed with this since GTN - Cam and Pal never had a picture of Dulcie? All inter-house communication seems to be text-only.)

Speaking of Cam and Pal. I've seen some gripes about how Nona should have been just absorbed into ATN, because "not much happens." But I think giving us the time and space with Cam and Pal was so necessary. I'm attached to them, god damnit. We'll see about Paul, but. I need a minute. Maybe a full year. To come around to them. And Kiriona. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Also, raise your hand if "duplicitous sluts" made you laugh out loud.
posted by snerson at 6:45 PM on September 14 [5 favorites]


I had the impression that especially for the kids' names that maybe Nona's language ability was making her pick up the meaning of the names rather than the names themselves.
"Is his name really and truly Honesty?" Palamedes wanted to know.

Nona struggled.

That's how I hear it. Anyway, he shouldn't be called Honesty at all, he tells huge lies and he's trying to teach me too."
Maybe page 44 in the paper version, kindle is a paper recycling dumpster fire that prevents copypasting so much as a sentence and so any typos are mine.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 7:13 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


I think my point still stands, because Hot Sauce is different from Awake Remembrances of the Valiant Dead etc. Like, if it was really a cultural reference from pre-Johnicide, wouldn't she hear it as, eg, Cholula, or Taco Bell Mild Sauce, or whatever? Having a universal translator opens up some cans of worms.

I'm also noticing that she picks up Ianthe as Ianthe, and not Violet Flower, which is what behindthename tells me the definition of Ianthe is. This could just be something Muir decides to handwave away as "something Nona doesn't really care about, so we don't get to care about it in depth either." But I'm wondering if the actual boundaries here have something to do with human names used as human names while humanity lived on earth (Kevin, Camilla), and the rest gets translated literally (Hot Sauce, Born in the Morning)?
posted by snerson at 10:15 PM on September 14


Was able to just start this the other night. I'm enjoying it so far.
posted by Spike Glee at 6:15 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]


Ianthe is the garbage Augustine, I think - Third House, with sibling issues.

But speaking of the Eighth, I have been expecting Silas Octakiseron to turn up again after he flounced out of Harrow.

I tore through the book, it was great. We knew from the first book that several of the Houses were in bad shape. Now that we see the wider empire, such as it is: yikes. On top of his other issues, John is a really shitty emperor.
posted by mersen at 8:19 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


John is just the worst. Also, John Gaius. I hate him for that, and I hate that I didn't notice. These books just completely yank me around between feeling clever and feeling oblivious.

Friendship bracelet: "[...] if it was murder, what if the murderer was, like, weird, which would make their subsequent marriage to Gideon pretty awkward? Maybe they could just swap friendship bracelets."
posted by Akhu at 8:47 AM on September 15 [6 favorites]


re: names: there's a passage somewhere Nona is talking to Hot Sauce, Nona says something like "Born in the Morning etc etc" and HS says "You mean Born in the Morning" and Nona says "That's what I said" or something to that effect, so yeah, I think the names are her spooky translation ability.

Disappointment: not enough bones! There's hardly any goddamn bones in this, I come for bones.

I'm confused about bodies*. Nona's body is Harrow's, and Harrow's soul is in the Tomb (explains the imagery at the end of HTN). But why is Gideon's soul back in Gideon's body, when at the end of HTN it was in Harrow? There's a lot more soul-moving-around/haunting/possession going on.

Also! Paul! More bible. I'm really going to miss Sex Pal and Cam.

I'm curious if we'll ever get an explanation for where necromancy came from.

What was the soul John was trying to eat, early on? Was that Earth's?

* and in the book
posted by curious nu at 9:57 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


Sex Paul just isn't as good.

I think it may not be all of Gideon's soul, or there may be a bunch of other souls stuffed in there with her, kind of like how Teacher was made. She seemed off to me, though that could just be all the trauma.

I think it has to be Earth's soul. Earth is dying, which is why people were fleeing. So he figures out how to see souls and immediately sees a soul much much larger than the one of the person dying in front of him. He tries to eat it all, fails, and turns the leftovers into a Barbie because he sucks. She's "the rock that had been made meat", and then he takes Gaius/Gaia as his lyctoral name.
posted by Akhu at 10:34 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


Earth, somehow, had *chosen* John, in some way. I took this to mean that Earth gave John his necromantic power. It's one of the last bits in John 1:20, about page 405.
You said, 'I picked you to change, and this is how you repay me?'
I feel like I'm missing something obvious/important about the Angel / Aim / the Messenger / the Message. But after all "the Message is too simple for human beings like us to understand". (about page 427) Of course, Nona, who is asked what she thinks the message is, doesn't know either.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 2:57 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]


“I think it may not be all of Gideon's soul, or there may be a bunch of other souls stuffed in there with her, kind of like how Teacher was made. She seemed off to me, though that could just be all the trauma.”

Yeah, there's something really wrong with her. She always goes by "Kiriona" and has fully embraced John as her father, she exchanged friendship bracelets and has a secret handshake with Ianthe, and she says to Aiglamene that her empty chest is where her heart used to be.

“I feel like I'm missing something obvious/important about the Angel / Aim / the Messenger / the Message. But after all 'the Message is too simple for human beings like us to understand'.”

I didn't get that, either. But remember that "Aim" is just one part of the three parts of the "message". She's also abnormal in some way, Paul thought she might have been altered by a necromancer. She "is", in some sense, The Blood of Eden, which also must be a clue.

I had forgotten all the stuff about Anastasia and Alecto, so the identity of Nona completely confused me. But, yeah, Nona was Alecto's soul in Harrow's body; the transfer had been made when Harrow returned to the tomb at the end of HTN, subsequently Alecto-as-Nona went to the planet. Harrow had long ago when first entering the tomb had become dedicated to Alecto. Why did the whole Nona episode have to happen? I don't know, but I think that Harrow, Seven, Gideon, Aim, and John all are involved (not in concert) in ways we don't yet understand.

Aim is Blood of Eden and against John's insane vengeance; likewise all the beasts. However, Alecto, as the remnant of Earth, shares John's anger at those who abandoned her. John is her chosen one, as she in turn is John's.

Earth really was killed in the greater sense by the trillionaires and everyone who came before, but John actually willfully dealt the final brutal blow, which no one but Alecto knows (and which wasn't an "accident" because John is so careful he doesn't make mistakes). Alecto, as Earth, made the mistake of chosing John; but she was fully duped by him. Lots of people are. John is white male privilege embodied in that he thinks he's the good guy, he thinks he has good intentions, but really he's motivated by his pride and sense of being aggrieved (not unlike Walter White) and he commits atrocities in the name of his idea of justice. He also thinks he's entitled to sex. He's a nice guy.

Apparently, lots of people think this book was dull and almost nothing important happened, almost nothing was explained, and that Nona was uninteresting. I think those people are nuts.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:58 PM on September 15 [5 favorites]


So much happened!

Alecto was portrated in HtN as some kind of out of control, sub-human creature, though of course we only saw what others said of her.

By the end of this novel, Nona has forged deep mutual bonds of love with multiple others.

If this progression isn't reset in the next novel (it wouldn't be Muir if it wasn't reset or re-cast in an important way in the next book), it may represent one of the most important character progressions of the series.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 5:01 PM on September 15 [3 favorites]


Jeeze, everyone is so down on John Gaius. I will not say that he isn't garbage, but, then, pretty much everyone in the series is some kind of garbage (except Pal, Cam, Noodles, and maybe Nona, who would like to be garbage but can't quite make it work), but is he that much worse than other characters who we excuse on account of their trauma? This is a man who, selected by the world to be a necromancer, tries to use his power to save the world and fails, appallingly. So appallingly, that his only way out is to recreate the world (sort of). He is a normal guy, chosen for greatness, who fucks up again and again. In a way, he's the typical white hero turned inside out.

I would even argue that the John sequence in Nona is a Heinlein plot from his The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land phase where the exceptional hero with Powers gathers a ragtag group of miscellaneous experts around him to thwart the bad guys and... fails, because the deck is so stacked against him by money and power that they cannot win. And, so, he ends everything, initially by accident and then increasingly with purpose.

And, he stays kind of average for 10,000 years. I have a theory that the people he brings back don't come back quite right -- they can't let go of emotions and memories from millennia ago, and JG is stuck in the same trap. He cannot let go of his hatred for the Trillionaires, and can we really blame him for that?

Plus his bitterness on how the cows are thrown in his face again and again is hilarious.

John Gaius is the tragedy of a sort of mediocre man given power. Is he actually worse than Ianthe, who stands for sociopathic whim but does it more cleverly? Or Wake, who would kill everyone in the Dominicus system to prove a point? Or even Crux, who is just kind of an asshole?
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:18 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


I raced through this and I loved it. Nona's perspective is fascinating, and the growing realization about who she is from both stories was really well done. Of course Nona loves saltwater, she's the planet earth.

The way this series continues to shift to different parts of the world its building is really impressive. Daily life under occupation in a gonzo WH4K kinda universe? I'm not sure that's a place a novel has ever taken me, honestly.

There's a lot of real darkness in this book though, gosh. John's fascinating awfulness has been discussed above, but Nona's progressing illness and awareness she's not in her own body that escalates into her (Harrow's) body tearing itself apart to try to get Nona's soul out of it was really sad and affecting and ultimately horrifying. Harrow's body takes a lot of abuse over the course of the book. Nona's difficulty eating takes up a huge place in her psychic universe. The way Pal and Camilla were orbiting each other in an unsustainable situation, ultimately leading to another human sacrifice. The early chapter of John's story leading up to his first magical manipulations of corpses was so creepy it gave me the heebie jeebies and I had to take a break. The final scene where Alecto bites Harrow's face in biblical language. Holy shit. This book has taken longer to process than it did to read. So, so, so much not wanting to eat related content in this book. Around halfway through I had a naïve hope that all of it would pay off by Nona enthusiastically having a big meal somewhere near the end of this thing. Nope.

The food thing was also confusing because we've heard Lyctors only need occasional fluids. Nona has a beyond lyctoral healing factor... but is Harrow's body a Lyctor still, I guess? Where is Gideon's soul?

Can't wait to see how Alecto puts all my expectations on their head again.
posted by Rinku at 5:40 PM on September 15 [4 favorites]


Apparently, lots of people think this book was dull and almost nothing important happened, almost nothing was explained, and that Nona was uninteresting.

Shippers gonna ship.

I think there was a fandom (can't recall which one) which used to talk about their show (or whatever) giving them everything they wanted but in the worst possible way. I thought of that when we got Gideon Nav here, being a dick and bro-ing it up with Ianthe. Here's Gideon! Yay! But she sucks now! Boo!

I'm going to miss Camilla and Palamedes, but I figured there would be more Lyctoring before the series finished and it was clear their situation sharing a body was not sustainable so I'm not mad.

I have a theory that the people he brings back don't come back quite right -- they can't let go of emotions and memories from millennia ago, and JG is stuck in the same trap.

I think the entire necromantic culture/society is like a fly trapped in amber. It's preserved and maybe kinda beautiful but it's also dead and cannot grow or change in any way. I'm not sure if that's inherent in a necromantic society, or all tied to John being so far up his own ass.

All through Harrow, I kept thinking, "it's been 10,000 years - why do any of you still care about this shit?" Like Mercymourn being so invested in whether John really loved Cristobal. They don't seem capable of moving past their pasts.

Since John obliterated nine plants and a star, I think he has a leg up on anyone else for title of The Worst in the series, including the trillionaires. Cytherea is pretty far up my list of terrible people too, because creeping around in the dark leaving bloody graffiti to scare some 14-year-olds you plan to murder is super ghoulish so I'm glad we haven't seen her again.
posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 6:41 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]


Alecto was portrated in HtN as some kind of out of control, sub-human creature, though of course we only saw what others said of her.

That commentary came from Mercymorn and Augustine, who seem to be the sort of highly-competent people who can't handle dealing with kids / are unnerved by them... speaking as that sort. Pyrrha mentions liking her at the end of HTN.

This is a man who, selected by the world to be a necromancer, tries to use his power to save the world and fails, appallingly. So appallingly, that his only way out is to recreate the world (sort of). He is a normal guy, chosen for greatness, who fucks up again and again. In a way, he's the typical white hero turned inside out.

We only really have John's word about the origins of necromancy, and nothing that distinct, either. I read him much more uncharitably than you, but in his own words: "Guys as careful as me don't have accidents" (Nona 320). He's very adept at using the people around him to make himself look cheerful and harmless and useless by comparison. In Nona, he mentions using M- and A- (presumably Mercymorn and Augustine) as bad cop-worse cop and throwing his hands up in the air at their antics in negotiations. In HTN, G1deon is described as John's "attack dog" (deeply loaded word choice for the only on-screen Black man, might I add), which is another way of externalizing the work that John finds distasteful or doesn't want to include in his identity. He asks G1 to help Harrow achieve full lyctoral status by attacking her, repeatedly and traumatizingly, and has little one on one sessions with her with cookies and tea in between. He wears the infant finger bones crown in his secret clubhouse at the edge of the universe. Who's he reminding about his status as emperor? Yikes.

They don't seem capable of moving past their pasts.


There's a theory I think is credible floating around tumblr about how all of the lyctors got frozen physically at a moment of extraordinary trauma as their "baseline." I think it's also another way for John to control them via isolation. He's one of the few people left in the universe who even knows the names of their friends/spouses/partners, and remembers them fondly; and they did the terrible deed out of devotion to him. If they reject John, they have to face up to their misdeeds. It's a tangle. Who wouldn't stick around, at least for a while?

He's a nice guy.
Yeah, I was thinking about this nice guy angle today. Of the original 9 lyctoral disciple pairs, only one has a female necro and a male cav (Anastasia and Samael). The rest are single-sex or male necro, female cav (in the image of John Gaius, you could say). It's maybe not a big deal but I think there's something there. Three modern pairs are that way, and they're all highly atypical partnerships: the Third, the Fifth, and the Seventh. Harrow and Ortus in HTN would fall into that pattern, but again, very atypical/unusual circumstances.

Anyone got ideas on the tower mentioned? Since John's references seem to be mostly old testament (biblical floods, revenge, animal sacrifices, adam/eve), I'm inclined to think it might be some sort of tower of Babel reference. Not sure about the bell part though.
posted by snerson at 7:09 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]


Not sure about the bell part though.

John’s stupid joke about calling her Annabelle, probably
posted by Rinku at 7:32 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


Worth noting if it isn’t mentioned in the book (I’m not quite there yet!):

“Kiriona” is the Māori form of “Gideon.”
posted by verbminx at 2:33 AM on September 16 [7 favorites]


deeply loaded word choice for the only on-screen Black man, might I add

I don't think this is right. Muir is pretty restrained in her physical descriptions, but she said in an interview that both Harrow and Gideon are Māori, and, when reading, I assume characters are dark-skinned unless otherwise stated. Pyrrha is unusual that her body and skin are described in some detail (cam also gets described, but rather than paying attention to her skin and stubble, Nona is fixated on her hair (and, in some scenes, whole-body presence). Ianthe, Corona, and Silas are described as white, Marta (and maybe Judith) as Black, Colum as "brownish-yellow." Pyrrha's body might be black, but Nona describes her stubble as "reddish," so who knows? Mercymorn's skin and hair is "apricot-colored." God has brown hair -- siince he's Gideon's father, it's quite possible he is also Māori. At this point, I ran out of time to do my survey. Maybe on my next read-through, I will take notes.

I don't think the culture of the Nine Houses care very much about race and, from what we see, Blood of Eden doesn't, either. Given that Muir is from New Zealand, using a US model of race is maybe not the best approach.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:18 AM on September 16 [4 favorites]


Of the original 9 lyctoral disciple pairs, only one has a female necro and a male cav

Sorry to be nitpicky, but there are only 8 original lyctoral pairs, 4 appear to be mixed gender (with one-pair being, maybe the first corpses that John raised, which, I am not sure how he managed *that*), assuming that Cyrus was a man (if I remember correctly, we only have descriptions of Valancy (and melons)). So a 3:1 split isn't wildly off from average. It's stretching things a bit to use that as evidence that John is a creep.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:27 AM on September 16


Muir has a gift for confusing and/or disappointing readers by not giving them what they want, but then making you love it anyway. I, like a lot of people, was initially taken aback by a sort-of domestic drama, but I really came to enjoy Nona's cozy world (with the various perils hanging over the city unnoticed by Nona but not the reader). There are some great bait-and-switch parallelisms to keep you guessing who's really inside Nona, with my favorite being her "hallucinations "of Judith's ravings which match with Harrow's notes and other delusions from the second book, but turn out to be something more interesting. Similarly, Nona's various crushes or close watching of people's faces and bodies lead you to think "Ha ha! Gideon!" but, no, it just turns out Nona likes looking and people and feeling crushes and other emotions. The more I think about it, the more I like it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:19 AM on September 16 [3 favorites]


Sorry to be nitpicky, but there are only 8 original lyctoral pairs, 4 appear to be mixed gender (with one-pair being, maybe the first corpses that John raised, which, I am not sure how he managed *that*), assuming that Cyrus was a man (if I remember correctly, we only have descriptions of Valancy (and melons)). So a 3:1 split isn't wildly off from average. It's stretching things a bit to use that as evidence that John is a creep.
Right, sorry, I keep mixing up my 8s and 9s in this series. Thanks for the correction on gender here too.
And I agree 3:1 isn't wildly off on average, but our two groupings of data are ~10,000 years apart. A thousand years by itself is a long time, in terms of culture; I can't imagine ten thousand. It's just odd to me that the skewing seems to stick around, and in corner cases: Abigail and Magnus are married, which is a modern taboo; Dulcie and Pro seem mostly focused on managing Dulcie's health - as opposed to empire-furthering pursuits, like the military (2nd, 4th) or practical research (see also: Abigail's lyctoral/historical research).

I just doublechecked the dramatis personae for HTN and Cyrus and Valancy are referred to as "Cyrus the First; Valancy Trinit, his cavalier."

Given that Muir is from New Zealand, using a US model of race is maybe not the best approach.

Good point! The books also seem to be getting more outright New Zealandy as we go on, so I'm looking forward to learning/adapting my thinking more. I admit I was picturing a big place full of wheels of cheese and milk cans when she mentioned dairies in Nona. :)

I feel like I'm taking up a lot of air here, so dipping out. Loved Nona, enjoyed the slice-of-lifeyness, continue to love and reflect on the books/universe/themes, looking forward to Alecto.
posted by snerson at 3:41 PM on September 16 [3 favorites]


“Kiriona” is the Māori form of “Gideon.”

Oh, and now I wonder if people were saying "Gideon", but Nona hears "Kiriona".
posted by Akhu at 7:22 AM on September 17


I don't think that's it; at the start of chapter 25, Camilla says "Kiriona?" and the reply is that it's OK to call her "Gideon" as well: "I kind of keep forgetting it's me when people say Kiriona"
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 11:55 AM on September 17 [1 favorite]


I think Silas Octakiseron will at least be brought up in Alecto because he got namechecked in the end with the revenants - those are certainly part of the final book's plot, they've been mentioned all over the place, together with the exact nature of the Resurrection Beasts because... oh gods, they're the planets of the solar system and/or the ships of the First Wave, aren't they? Most likely planets because Nona talks to Seventh directly.

What I want to know is what the dog is. He and Aim are a package deal.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 12:33 PM on September 17 [3 favorites]


Is the animal Nona drew a whale? My zoology is not all that good.

I wasn't sure if something was wrong with Gideon or if she's just that awful from the outside. Nona, a reliable source, thinks Gideon is sad, not just terminally bored. Towards the end, she seemed more Gideon-like - particularly the freaking out when fulfilling a long-cherished childhood dream does not fill her with joy.
posted by mersen at 3:00 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


Hey, hey, check out the numbers of the the John chapters, treating chapter and verse as separate letters. ITS A CODE, GUYS!
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:39 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


Much too late correction: Augustine (and his brother the banker?) was Fifth House, not Third. Sorry!
posted by mersen at 1:48 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]


I love how she has the voices so down that you start being able to pick up when Camilla switches to Pal right away before the text says so.
posted by Phase Shifting Pulse Gate at 8:58 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]


The code is The Tower has Reactivated.

John's easily the worst. He killed 9 planets and a star just to keep the other guys from getting away with it. He wasn't trying to win, his main goal was not to let the other guys win.

As for the Angel/Messenger, named AIM, whose predecessor was MSN. BoE has some sort of internet and the houses explicitly don't. In real life, MSN predated AIM by a couple of years. I could see Muir setting up the BoE network becoming sentient, and trying to stop John from destroying all life in the galaxy. (A sort of god from the machine, if you will.)
posted by Spike Glee at 5:23 PM on September 18 [5 favorites]


John is white male privilege embodied in that he thinks he's the good guy, he thinks he has good intentions, but really he's motivated by his pride and sense of being aggrieved (not unlike Walter White) and he commits atrocities in the name of his idea of justice. He also thinks he's entitled to sex. He's a nice guy.

John is Maori, as is Gideon. Implicitly he's a poor scholarship boy (though that's something you'd have to know about schooling in the Wairarapa to get).

I think the idea of resurrection vs rebirth is very important, and John's obsessive ten thousand year quest is going to be related to that - he won't change because he can't change.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:47 PM on September 18 [4 favorites]


I theorise that nonaGideon (Kiriona is a maorification of Gideon) is missing the love because that's in Nona, but it could also be that she's finally got someone who loves and cares for her. To quote some analysis from SA, it's like John was presented with a tool specifically designed to end him and his works, created by his closest confidants over thousands of years of deception, and he went 'i have a daughter!! come here for a hug!!'.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:50 PM on September 18 [1 favorite]


I had forgotten, but Muir has said that her model for John is Taika Waititi. Here’s a nice bit of fan art.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:31 PM on September 19


In the unlikely event that the Locked Tomb series gets a big budget adaptation, I think Taika would make an excellent John -- he's eminently capable of playing that kind of character which is in turns charismatic and pathetic, magnanimous and vile.
posted by tclark at 7:24 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]


I pray the story stays on the page. I pray the licensing deal is never signed.
posted by curious nu at 9:26 AM on September 24 [5 favorites]


I guess I didn't find the mystery of Nona's identity wasn't all that mysterious to me. I had just recently heard the fan theory that Alecto was a resurrection beast which may have primed me to understand where the John sections were going. But I guess it was obvious that she was not Gideon or Harrow, so that basically left either a melange or Alecto. And she seemed to have a lot in common with how Alecto was described before: not being able to pretend to be human, "tantrums".
posted by eruonna at 4:50 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


Not reading any comments yet because I'm only partway through (listening to the audiobook with my wife, which is a new relationship adventure for us), but I'm both enjoying it and also bracing myself and waiting to find out exactly which beloved characters are going to get unhappy endings.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:21 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


I think it was too long since the previous book, since I have no recollection of Alecto or many other characters. So I read the book as an interesting/weird story with just Gideon & Harrow as my points of reference. I really have to read them all again in a row when book 4 comes out.
posted by Marticus at 8:51 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


I got my official "One Flesh, One End" pin in the mail yesterday, I'm going to wear it forever.
posted by curious nu at 12:14 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


Just finished it! I enjoyed it very much. I find I have had to take each of these books on their own terms because if I come into them wanting a vibe I enjoyed from a previous one, I won't like the book that's in front of me as much.
posted by gaspode at 10:48 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


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