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“Peace was like any high. It couldn’t last. It was an illusion, something that could be interrupted in a moment and lost forever.”Leigh Bardugo, The Ninth House
Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.
(summary from Goodreads)
Leigh Bardugo is a writer I am familiar with. I loved Six of Crows and Shadow and Bone, so I was definitely looking forward to picking up Ninth House, the novel that won Best Adult Fantasy in the 2019 Goodreads Choice awards.
I have read that Ninth House was not the most popular Bardugo novel, and while I’d say Six of Crows is still my favorite of hers so far, I personally enjoyed this read. But I’m a sucker for everything this book has. Secret societies, murder, mystery, a little bit of magic, some paranormal.. sign me up!
This is adult fantasy, and different than Bardugo’s young adult fantasies. It’s somber and has a fair amount of violence, drug use, sexual abuse, and other dark content. But it has the qualities I love in Bardugo’s books, the world building and character development. I loved learning about Lethe and the other houses. I enjoyed Alex’s wit and development, I liked Darlington, and I adored Dawes. I enjoyed the secondary characters too.. Turner, Mercy, even “North.”
I will say that it was a bit of a slow start, but once I got past that I was hooked. My other gripe would be the reveal and the ending.. it felt a bit rushed and flat, and not really that surprising to me. Other than that, I really enjoyed Ninth House and am looking forward to reading the next installment.
Have you read this one? What is your favorite Bardugo book?