Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo was a complete rollercoaster. I have to admit that I didn’t know what to expect going into this book, however, Bardugo’s Grishaverse had me hooked so I did expect myself to enjoy this one as well.
Galaxy Stern, better known as Alex Stern has a long and complicated past. Her life is somewhat of a mystery to the students at Yale and as someone involved in a horrific and unsolved multiple homicide, she isn’t one to be reckoned with.
When Alex is offered the chance to redeem the life she was throwing away, she takes the risk and joins a community tasked with monitoring the eight secret societies of Yale. These eight societies are known to be wealthy and occasionally get away with terrible crimes.
Alex is put in a position where she must choose where her loyalties lie. She must solve a horrible and gruesome murder involving the societies while also dealing with her difficult and haunting past.
Can Alex navigate the secrets of Yale’s societies while also keeping a grip on her own reality?
Alex Stern was a character that I wasn’t sure I could relate to. Her difficult and mysterious past was something that I couldn’t really see myself having and it was a little hard to figure out what I enjoyed about her until she began to show her need to succeed in the societies. She was determined and strong and that is something that I found myself liking about her. She was really interesting and she carried the book, creating a sarcastic and dark-humoured atmosphere with the other characters. She’s someone that I’m now excited to get to know more in the next book!
Darlington was another super interesting character. I was immediately captured by his strong work ethic and hard personality. He’s someone that I did find myself relating to and admiring. He was genuine and while his past wasn’t nearly as horrific as Alex’s, he still had a difficult upbringing, making him into a more independent character. His part in the book was a bit complicated since he wasn’t really there, however, the flashbacks throughout the book gave me insight into who he is as a character and what he might become in the next book.
Dawes was by far my favorite character. I related to her on every level. She’d rather sit around with her headphones on than get mixed up in the drama of her world. It was so nice to have a character that loved research, reading, and studying to be such a huge part of a book. She wasn’t super strong, nor was she someone comfortable with murder, like tons of other characters that I read about, no she was literally there for the research. She was happy with learning magic in her own way and using it to save people and do good for their world instead of using it for illegal aspects like many other characters in the book. It was also clear that she felt strongly for the other characters and cared for them which I liked to see.
Yale was the perfect setting for this book. The secret societies had the university to deal with and it was amazing to see such a famous university setting used for something so magical.
Bardugo’s writing was different than her Grishaverse series. I went into the book not really knowing what to expect because it was a different series and type of story than the usual young adult fantasy.
The writing at the beginning of the book had me super confused. I had no idea what was happening and it was difficult to get into the book because there was barely any context given for any of the events taking place. Despite this, I continued with the book and it definitely surprised me. The world-building became way clearer, the societies were more explained, the characters became more interesting, and the past was uncovered, giving me everything I needed to continue the story with the full picture.
I really did enjoy this book and I’m excited to see what Bardugo comes up with for the next book in the series. The book had very dark academic vibes which I quite enjoyed and I feel like it would be the perfect read for Halloween time!