Ninth House

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...

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Title:Ninth House
Author:Leigh Bardugo
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Ninth House Reviews

  • Kai

    To answer your question: yes, it really is

    good.

    Ninth House and I had a bit of a slow start. The new world that Bardugo has created might not be set in a fictional fantasy universe, but it features enough new concepts, characters, and settings that it takes some time to take it all in. Not only does every character have an alias and maybe even a nickname, so do the buildings at Yale. And since all my Yale knowledge is based on that cute little

    To answer your question: yes, it really is

    good.

    Ninth House and I had a bit of a slow start. The new world that Bardugo has created might not be set in a fictional fantasy universe, but it features enough new concepts, characters, and settings that it takes some time to take it all in. Not only does every character have an alias and maybe even a nickname, so do the buildings at Yale. And since all my Yale knowledge is based on that cute little courtyard from Gilmore Girls, I struggled to figure out where and who and what was going on. As soon as I had grasped all of that, though, I was unable to resist the pull of this dark, compelling, murderous book.

    I don't know where to start. The book was sombre and thrilling, brimming with ancient mysteries, magic, and the promise of danger. The characters were incredibly well-painted, my favourites being Turner and Dawes. The plot was thought-out, and until the very end, it was tense and exciting. My only criticism comes with the one or other reveal during the final showdown. Bardugo dropped enough clues here and there that the reader could have figured out who might have been behind the murder at the centre of this novel. That is until the plot is twisted yet again and delivers an explanation that adds new possibilities that no reader could have suspected. It was drawn up out of thin air and therefore not as genius as I had expected it to be.

    Now, be warned. If this book is one thing, it's violent. There are some graphic scenes that show sexual abuse. There is trauma and pain and it's not glossed over. I've seen people get mad at Leigh because she chose to show these horrible acts of violence. They accused her of exploiting the pain for shock value. I cannot agree with them. The novel is deeply feminist and shows characters with a past that is tough, that made them survivors. Readers also have no right to know whether the scenes in the book are based on the author's personal experiences. She doesn't have to justify writing about sexual abuse by proving that she has been in a similar position. I do, however, agree that the book needs trigger warnings.

    I honestly can't wait for the sequel. I mean, I personally don't care about [redacted] and whether they'll manage to save them or not, but the world that Bardugo created is so rich and leaves so much to discover that I wouldn't mind another three to five books. It feels like Alex Stern only just got started kicking ass.

  • Nick

    the power that that has, the intelligence that that has, the clearance that that has, the access that that has, the influence that that has, the profile that that has, the international implications that that has

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    Hello friends, and good evening. Do me a favor will you? Could you all please stand up? Thank you. Now, if you're a fan of dark fantasy/horror and stories involving occult magic, please remain standing; everyone else can sit down. Remain standing if you also retain the ability to push through a read that has a slew of triggers, such as sexual assault, graphic rape of a 12 year old girl, murder, gore, death, drug

    Hello friends, and good evening. Do me a favor will you? Could you all please stand up? Thank you. Now, if you're a fan of dark fantasy/horror and stories involving occult magic, please remain standing; everyone else can sit down. Remain standing if you also retain the ability to push through a read that has a slew of triggers, such as sexual assault, graphic rape of a 12 year old girl, murder, gore, death, drug abuse/overdose, possession, the forced eating of excrement to a rapist, and many more subjects. Great, now also remain standing if you are ok with reading a book where you are dropped into the middle of a world much like our own, but you have no idea what's going on and have to figure it out as you go at a slow burning pace, until all is revealed. If you're still with me, follow me to the next portion; the rest of you may be excused.

    Well, to be fair, this book won't be for everyone. I'll go as far as saying that it won't be for a majority of people.

    is an extremely dark and heavy read, one that is well-written and plotted, but contains many aspects that are so niche that I can't imagine a majority of Bardugo's YA fantasy fans crossing over into this realm. Many of my close, trusted friends have struggled with this book, and I highly respect their opinions and reasons for not resonating with it, and if you're looking for a wonderful, objective 3 star review to offset mine, I suggest you read Melanie's

    .

    The book opens with a touch of an ending, and abruptly brings us back to what I will refer to as Present Day. We are dropped directly into Alex's daily schedule, and over the course of the first 150 pages or so, we slowly gather information on the various secret societies at Yale, how magic is involved, and snippets of Alex's past that lead her to Yale in the first place. This is the section where the book weeds out those who bought this because it's one of the most popular new releases of 2019, and those who are genuinely interested in dark ADULT fantasy. Once we get a general sense of this alternate contemporary world, we realize there are two mysteries at hand. One is the murder of a student and there appears to have been magic involved. Who killed her and for what purpose? This particular mystery does tie into the next mystery I'll be mentioning, but suffice it to say that this murder is solved and completely wrapped up in this first installment. The second mystery is the disappearance of Alex's mentor, Darlington. This mystery receives answers but will continue on into the sequel. Along the way, Alex teams up with a few human people and also Grays (spirits of the deceased that still roam the earth) to solve both mysteries, while also revealing the entirety of Alex's background and how she came to be at Yale.

    I'll be honest, I had my doubts in the beginning. When I say that the pacing is slow, I mean it is S-L-O-W. The audio version of

    features two of my favorite narrators, and I found that this format worked best for me in the beginning, and I enjoyed it so much that I mostly listened to the entire book rather than reading my hard copy. Once the ball gets rolling, I became fully engrossed. I can't tell you how interesting it was to read about all of these real societies with the added flair of magical abilities. Bardugo created a world that felt eerily realistic; no detail is left untouched and she used the old Stephen King method of "make it real, but change the slightest detail to make it not real," and this worked beautifully.

    After a majority of the book being the slow burn, the ending is absolute bonkers in the best way! Wild, action packed, and with a few twists I did not see coming! I felt the ending was brilliant; it wasn't a cliffhanger but it did leave me ready and wanting to come back for more. I'll stop before I ramble on, but I'd like to cautiously recommend this book with gusto. If you've read it, I'd love to chat with you about it. If you decide this isn't for you, I respect that, and I can't wait for the next book we get to chat about together.

  • Emma Giordano

    Review to come!

  • jessica

    leigh bardugo is synonymous with five stars, as far as im concerned.

    so believe the hype because its real, its here, and its

    adult.

    alex stern is doing slytherin proud.

    ____________________________________________

    the hot trend for 2019 is snakes on covers and it makes me wish i was a slytherin. their brand/culture is

    leigh bardugo is synonymous with five stars, as far as im concerned.

    so believe the hype because its real, its here, and its

    adult.

    alex stern is doing slytherin proud. 🖤🐍

    ____________________________________________

    the hot trend for 2019 is snakes on covers and it makes me wish i was a slytherin. their brand/culture is

  • Melanie

    is a love letter to living and surviving unspeakable abuse. This is a book all about trauma, and PTSD, and healing, in any and every way that you can. This is a book for victims, who have felt they will never get the piece of them back that someone forcefully took. This is a book for anyone who was willing to do anything to feel empowered after something horrible occurred.

    is a love letter to living and surviving unspeakable abuse. This is a book all about trauma, and PTSD, and healing, in any and every way that you can. This is a book for victims, who have felt they will never get the piece of them back that someone forcefully took. This is a book for anyone who was willing to do anything to feel empowered after something horrible occurred. This is a book about the dark and the light and the in between phases a human can go through to get their voice back.

    But this is also a story about a girl named Galaxy Stern, or Alex, who is from LA, but is now across the country and studying at Yale. The book continuously switches back and forth from Late Spring to Winter, so we get to see what happened in the past and the ramifications it causes for present day Alex.

    In the Winter, we get to see her starting Yale, meeting a man named Darlington, and learning all about the nine secret societies at Yale, with secret, magical rituals that they perform. Lethe recruits a new freshman every three years to join sixteen seniors every year, where they gain knowledge of the occult. And Alex was picked because she has a very sought-after ability, that she has been running from her entire life. Also, it is Lethe House’s responsibility as the ninth house to keep the others in order and make sure they aren’t doing bad things.

    In the Spring, everything is different, and Alex is struggling with the weight of so much. From missing people, to ghosts who are paying her too much attention, to a girl being murdered that Alex can’t help but think was because of one of the secret societies, and she is willing to do anything to solve the case. Even if that means making a deal with one of the ghosts she is supposed to be ignoring.

    Sounds pretty amazing, right? And I’m telling you, this book’s atmosphere, along with the campus setting, it was a perfect combination. Also, you all know that I think Leigh’s writing is a tier above most. The quotes I was able to pull from this book? They take the breath from my lungs even upon rereading them.

    Also, this book has a beautiful discussion about privilege and power dynamics. Leigh does not hold back truth of what white, rich, privileged boys and how they feel they are entitled to any and everything, and God bless her for that. Cycles of abuse and entitlement truly can be passed down, leaving terrible things in their wake, which will impact so many victims for their entire lives. Unchecked privilege is a terrifying thing, friends. And Leigh is not scared to go there, in the terrible acts they commit, to the horrible ends they deserve, and I really appreciated it, and it may have been my favorite element of this book.

    But you all are probably wondering why I gave this book three stars. I’m going to be brutally honest, not much happened in this book, and surely enough didn’t happen for this book to be almost 500 pages. I feel like you could easily cut this book in half and it would have been way more impactful and way more exciting to read. As much as I loved the healing of this book, and I loved the premise of secret societies all about the occult, I just felt so damn bored by reading this book. It started to feel like a chore to pick up, and this book took me twice the amount of time it would normally take me to read.

    It also started to feel so formulaic, where something really bad and heartbreaking would happen (past or present) then we’d have 50+ pages of nothing, and then something even worse happens, then 50+ of nothing. I will never lessen anyone’s trauma or how they choose to write and heal about it, but this book just made me feel nothing and then immeasurably uncomfortably and sadness, back to back to back, and it made for a really not great reading experience for me. Also, my favorite character was for sure Darlington, and I really wish we could have seen so much more of him. And lastly, the ending sort of wrapped this story up, I guess? But it just left me desiring so much more, and not in a good way if I’m being honest.

    So, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. I picked this book up the day before twitter exploded about the trigger warnings. I will be honest, it made for such a strange reading experience, because I felt like everyone was looking at me, even though I was only 100 pages into this book. At the end of this review, like always, I will have all the trigger warnings that I found listed. This is a dark book, with very dark themes and elements, and some extremely dark scenes. Alex truly has horrible things happen to her and her loved ones throughout her short life. I highly recommend you make sure you are in a safe headspace before picking this one up, because a few of these triggers are not my own, but they still really bothered me to read.

    Overall, this was a disappointment for me. This was easily my most anticipated release of 2019, besides

    , and maybe I just put it on a pedestal subconsciously. I do think this one will be polarizing upon release, and I have friends who love this more than me and dislike this more than me. Honestly, I’m in this weird middle ground where I loved the setting and atmosphere, but I didn’t love the story or characters. I will probably still pick up the next installment, I think I’m just going to go into it with lower expectations.

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    drug use, overdosing, murder, death, loss of a loved one, rituals, gore, PTSD depiction, grief depiction, self-harm, bloodletting, rape, child (12) rape (it is only two pages, but it is very graphic), statutory rape (15), sexual assault, forced sexual assault on video, talk of suicide, blackmail, physical abuse, a magical date rape drug, forced eating of human waste (to a rapist), and racism (always in a negative light).

  • Chaima ✨ شيماء

    I'm going to retreat into this story and personally give Darlington a massage. His back muscles must be so tired from carrying the entire weight of this book.

    RTC.

    rape of a child, sexual assault under influence of a magical drug, drowning, heavy violence, gore, drug addiction, overdosing, death, suicide, blackmail, self-harm, and forced consumption of human waste.

  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    This was honestly….

    I enjoyed the beginning, the world, the school setting and the magic seemed interesting but it went downhill fast.

    Soon it was clear that Darlington was the only thing interesting and he wasn’t there for most of the book so… bleh.

    Generous 2 star. So much potential but did not care for the story at all and frankly the last 3 hours of the audiobook could have simply not existed :/

  • Emily May

    DNF - pg 146.

    I actually cannot do it. I can't finish it. I wanted to like this book

    , and then I just wanted to finish it so bad, but it's sending me into a serious book slump. I'm giving up.

    After struggling through the first 100 pages, I decided to take a break, read something else, and then come back to it. Sometimes it's the timing, you know? So I went and read a good portion of Isaacson's

    , got myself neck-deep in some quantum computing, because after reading that, some

    DNF - pg 146.

    I actually cannot do it. I can't finish it. I wanted to like this book

    , and then I just wanted to finish it so bad, but it's sending me into a serious book slump. I'm giving up.

    After struggling through the first 100 pages, I decided to take a break, read something else, and then come back to it. Sometimes it's the timing, you know? So I went and read a good portion of Isaacson's

    , got myself neck-deep in some quantum computing, because after reading that, some magical Yale mystery has got to blow my socks off, right? But I only forced myself through another 46 pages before my eyes were glazing over and I started mentally screaming: holy shit! Please tell me again how transistors are made! Please!

    I saw a couple of people say they were hoping

    would be like

    and were disappointed that it wasn't, but I gotta say: I found the first 146 pages of this book to be exactly like

    . Unbelievable pretentiousness, almost constant highbrow intellectual references, nothing actually happening... If it was marketed somewhere that this book was like

    , then I completely missed that.

    I had been worried about all the promise of dark themes-- some of the trigger warnings sounded downright revolting --but I never expected Bardugo to write something so cold, aloof and boring. Normally when I don't finish a book, I ask people to spoil the ending for me, but I genuinely do not care what happens.

    If you are new to Bardugo, I still recommend checking out the

    duology. Far more gripping than this.

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  • Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰

    I don't think I have ever been more disappointed in myself for not being able to love this book. Leigh Bardugo continues to be my queen of fantasy, this one was just a complete and utter miss for me.

    _______________

    I'm still not certain that this review will get all my thoughts across. I'm

    I don't think I have ever been more disappointed in myself for not being able to love this book. Leigh Bardugo continues to be my queen of fantasy, this one was just a complete and utter miss for me.

    _______________

    I'm still not certain that this review will get all my thoughts across. I'm also very blatantly stating this now... because I DNFed this book, this review isn't going to be able to provide any summaries, commentaries etc etc. It's partially why I didn't give it a rating; firstly because I couldn't even get halfway and secondly, because I think I might return to

    at a future date. I want to give this book more of a chance but as it stands now, this was not for me.

    I've read a lot of people opinions on how it gets better and I'm holding on to that for the next time I try. A caveat though; this book and everything about it (aside from it being Fantasy) really shouldn't be compared to the Grishaverse or Leigh's previous books. They are intended for two different types of demographics and

    deals with some very heavy "adult" themes.

    To start things off (very bluntly), I got bored. There was nothing that kept me turning the pages other than self-determination and it came to a point where even that wasn't enough. I was doing that thing where you read a paragraph and then read it again (3 times) because you realize you weren't paying any attention at all...I found the pacing in this book to be excruciatingly slow. Nothing significant enough was happening that had me at the edge and the "mysterious" elements didn't hold enough suspense or warrant excitement from me. Again, this opinion is simply my own and it might have been a fact of picking this book at the wrong time.

    Another key thing I noticed that caused

    naps whilst reading was the writing style. The writing in this book is very narrative, and while it's not without merit, it simply didn't captivate me. I felt like it was telling me, rather than showing me and I craved for emotional description from the characters. Which leads me to another note...I got really weary of Darlington. This is going to be very problematic because A LOT of people place him as the winning character of this book. Still, I found myself leaning towards wanting Alex's chapters more than his. Nothing about Darlington made me anticipate meeting him...

    There were way too many infor-dumps and if I had to sum up my reading experience, it would be a quote directly from this book:

    When I saw that, I felt like I was being called out to be honest (drama in this case meaning something actually, yknow... HaPpEnIng). I needed to stop reading before it put me in a slump, so I did. On another note though, Amazon Studios is going to

    and THAT, I'm looking forward to. It might just push me to read it before I watch it!

    Buddy Read with

    although, I don't really know if it counts because she's being a trooper and still reading and I'm now just waving the moral support flag.

    yes, yes and also yes.

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