A LOCUS AWARD FINALIST!
The mesmerizing adult debut from Leigh Bardugo, a tale of power, privilege, dark magic, and murder set among the Ivy League elite
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. In fact, by age twenty, 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 prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless “tombs” are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street’s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Leigh Bardugo’s first novel for adults is set at a fictional version of Yale, where secret societies gain their influence not just from money and privilege but from occult powers. Galaxy “Alex” Stern, a tough girl who barely survived her childhood, is recruited into this world of ghost summoning and deadly pacts by an enigmatic figure who offers her a deal: Sneak in as a spy and we’ll pay your way through school. Bardugo, the best-selling author of two young-adult fantasy series, is a Yale graduate, which explains why this spooky, fast-paced story feels so authentic (what Ivy League secrets does she know?!). A tantalizing blend of fantasy, mystery, and horror, Ninth House is a very fun read.
Bardugo's excellent first fantasy novel for adults (following her highly regarded Six of Crows and Shadow and Bone YA series) introduces an antihero who is just the right person to take on rising dangers in an elitist society. Galaxy "Alex" Stern's early life was wrecked by her unusual ability to see "Grays" earthbound ghosts but that same ability gains her admission into one of the magic-based houses at Yale. As she struggles to adjust to college life, she's forced to confront evil powers swirling under the thin veneers of tradition and ritual. When a young woman is killed, Alex becomes determined to find the murderer, even if it means dodging attempts on her life and striking eldritch bargains. Alex is the story's gritty, rock-solid heart. While other characters refuse to admit what's happening, too insulated by their own privilege or distracted by banal needs such as funding, Bardugo gives Alex a thoroughly engaging mix of rough edge, courage, and cynicism, all of which are required to get things done. Much of the book's white-knuckled tension comes from the increasingly horrific flashbacks revealing Alex's past, which is still very present in her mind. Fantasy readers, particularly those who love ghosts, will hungrily devour this novel.
Absolutely amazing. Stephen King even said it was good.
Listen, there’s a review that says this book is garbage and left 1 star. What an absolute lie. I will admit the book was sort of slow in the first few chapters and confusing because of the information about the societies. But that quickly passed within the first few chapters. This book is absolutely amazing, I read it within two days it was that good. The characters are WELL developed, we don’t even meet Darlington in the present but the few chapters of him in the “fall” was absolutely grand and me fall in love with him immediately. This author made me ship two characters, Darlington and Alex, even though there was no major sign of them getting together. I was upset with the character, astonished with the character, everything with the character. The world building is fascinating with the societies, something I could have never come up with. I don’t like mysteries or thrillers but this was splendid. I wish I discovered this book later in the year of 2022 because now I CAN’T WAIT for the second to come out 2023. If I don’t like something I return it no matter how far I am, I was hooked immediately. I’m coming down from a reading high and can feel a reading slump coming because that’s how good this book was. I would die for Darlington by the way. SPOILER: if he isn’t back next book I’m going to be very depressed-Gentleman of Lethe. THEORY: what if a nexus is born in California because Alex had absorbed Hellie? Maybe she’s on the other side of the veil, but what if she’s not since Alex hasn’t seen her since? I’m curious to see what’s going to happen next. I don’t like cliffhangers. Haha
I consumed this book. I couldn’t put it down and nothing got done in my life. Now I am in anticipation for the next book in the series. Characters are well developed and the story has so many twist and turns. A really enjoyable read.
Can’t wait for the next in the series. Easily one of my favorite authors.