Ninth House

by Leigh Bardugo

4.25 of 5 stars 24 ratings • 14 reviews • 82 shelved
Book cover for Ninth House

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Ninth House

by Leigh Bardugo

4.25 of 5 stars 24 ratings • 14 reviews • 82 shelved

The instant SUNDAY TIMES and NEW YORK TIMES bestseller, and Goodreads Choice Award winner, that Stephen King calls 'Impossible to put down'

The mesmerising adult debut from Leigh Bardugo. A tale of power, privilege, dark magic and murder set among the Ivy League elite.

Alex Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale's freshman class. A dropout and the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved crime - the last thing she wants is to cause trouble. Not when Yale was supposed to be her fresh start. But a free ride to one of the world's most prestigious universities was bound to come with a catch.

Alex has been tasked with monitoring the mysterious activities of Yale's secret societies - societies that have yielded some of the most famous and influential people in the world. Now there's a dead girl on campus and Alex seems to be the only person who won't accept the neat answer the police and campus administration have come up with for her murder.

Because Alex knows the secret societies are far more sinister and extraordinary than anyone ever imagined.

They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living . . .

'Ninth House is the best fantasy novel I've read in years, because it's about real people. Bardugo's imaginative reach is brilliant, and this story, full of shocks and twists, is impossible to put down' Stephen King

'Ninth House is one of the best fantasy novels I've read in years. This book is brilliant, funny, raw and utterly magnificent - it's a portal to a world you'll never want to leave' Lev Grossman, bestselling author of The Magicians trilogy

'Ninth House rocked my world. I could not get enough of Alex Stern, a heroine for the ages. With a bruised heart and bleeding knuckles, she risks death and damnation - again and again - for the people she cares about. I was cheering her on the whole way: from the first brilliant sentence of this book to the last' Joe Hill, bestselling author of N0S4A2

Signed Edition with exclusive foiled jacket and boards.

  • ISBN13 9781473228825
  • Publish Date 8 October 2019 (first published 1 October 2019)
  • Publish Status Unknown
  • Publish Country GB
  • Imprint Gollancz

Reviews

Avatar for quirkycat

Quirky Cat 5 of 5 stars
Ninth House is the first novel in an all-new series by Leigh Bardugo. And it's been getting a lot of attention – both because people have been loving it, and because it's Bardugo's first excursion out of the realm of young adult novels.
New Haven is a place of magic and wonders. It is also a place of horrors and corruptions. And it is this world that Galaxy Stern, aka Alex, has to navigate. She's been granted a wonderful gift; a full ride at Yale. But it comes at a cost. Those in the know expect her to use her talent to help them out.
Alex Stern can see dead people, which is exactly as traumatic as it sounds. But this opportunity at Yale might be her one chance to take control of her abilities. And her life. She doesn't want to mess it up. But she's also not going to look the other way when a murder happens. Not when she's in a place to actually do something about it.
Darlington is the golden boy of Yale. He's the Virgil to Alex's Dante. He's a classic good old boy, but with a secret twist. He's been obsessed and fascinated with magic and the history of the town since he was a little boy. And he's going to delve deeper than anybody else.

“'Incorruptible.' When she saw that word she understood Darlington's smirk. The dead would be raised, but as for incorruptibility, Grove Street Cemetery was making no promises. In New Haven, it was best not to hope for guarantees.”

Warnings: Ninth House is a brilliant – but exceptionally intense novel. It doesn't shy away from some of the worst sides of human (and ghost) nature. There are scenes that depict abuse, drug addiction and overdose, (graphic) sexual assault/rape towards adults and a child, drowning, self-harm, and lots and lots of gore. These scenes veer on the graphic side, but since they are actually relevant to the plot they never cross a line into becoming gratuitous.

I've been hearing nothing but good things from Ninth House for about six months now. Naturally, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I downloaded the book first thing when I woke up Tuesday morning, and I'll be honest with you; I wish I had planned ahead and taken the day off from work. Because I did not want to put this book down. Not even for a moment.
I've seen and read plenty of novels about girls being able to see ghosts. But I've never read anything like Ninth House. It was beautiful. It was dark. And it digs into my brain until I found myself unable to walk away. Now that I've finished, I find myself desperate for any news about the next novel in the series. And I don't see that changing anytime soon.
Leigh Bardugo masterfully revealed the plot through a series of creative storytelling techniques. The tale itself took place at multiple points in time, and through a couple of different perspectives. Alex's story is in two parts; her past and her present. Darlington's story is in the recent past. These three points in time weave together, creating something breathtaking – and terrifying.
There was so much to love about Ninth House. The writing was exemplary, full of complex characters and motives. But it was more than that as well. The world itself was as fascinating as it was dark and disturbing – which is saying something.
Alex's character was...riveting. Her past was not an easy one, and the more I learned about it, the more I understood about the way she behaved. Her anger became easier and easier to understand. Especially when one considers the life of privilege those with magic live.
The magical system is one that I'm finding myself desperate to see more of. I suppose in that way I'm more similar to Darlington than not. I want to see more of the different tombs and their specialties. And ideally, I'd like to see how they're meant to function, as opposed to how they've twisted with time.
I'll confess that there were parts in this novel that got a lot darker than I expected. And I went into this book expecting something disturbing – it's not every day you see an author and publisher go out of their way to warn the readers about content. It wasn't enough to make me put the book down...but it did make me grateful that I was doing the bulk of my reading in the middle of the day. I'm not sure what I would have done had I hit those points in the dead of night.
I ended up loving Ninth House so much that I actually bought two copies of the novel. The ebook, which I was able to start right away on release day. And the special edition from Barnes and Noble, which contains some bonus material. I actually haven't read the extra stuff yet – something I'm probably going to pop over and check out once I finish this review.
The Ninth House was everything that I had hoped for and expected. But it was also so much more. I can't get Alex and her quest out of my head. So now I'm just going to sit here and hope for more news about the next novel.

For more reviews check out Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

Avatar for biblioholicbeth

Beth C. 4 of 5 stars
Ok, I'm just going to say it. I've not read the grisha-verse novels. None. Zero. Zip. Not for any particular reason, but just because there's ALWAYS ANOTHER BOOK. However, Ninth House caught my eye, so I decided to give it a shot - and I *really* liked it. As in: Stay-Up-Until-1am-The-Night-Before-Work liked it.

The story takes magic in a completely different direction that what I've ever read, and it's fascinating. Yale has so much history, and the school is pretty much another character in the story. Tales of secret societies have abounded, and it's easy to wonder if maybe those tales may be true - and even current. What happens when those secrets start to get out? Who ends up paying the price?

Alex as a character is excellent - prickly and hard, but not to the degree that she's off-putting. Wanting to do the right thing, but doing so in the manner of the proverbial bull in the china shop. I started off sort of annoyed by her, but by the end was FIRMLY in her camp. She has experienced so much trauma, and it has definitely changed her - but she works VERY hard not to let it define her, but instead to *use* it as a catalyst. That's what truly made this book - the characterization, not only of Alex, but of those around her. Evil sometimes wears a pretty face, and sometimes those we see as the most guilty may not be.

Without spoilers, I would be thrilled if there was a sequel. It sounds like it could be one Hell of a trip.

Avatar for cornerfolds

cornerfolds 5 of 5 stars
Read more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!

Ninth House seemed to come out of absolutely nowhere and then it was impossible to escape. I knew I had to have it before I even knew what it was about. Honestly, I was a bit worried after not loving Six of Crows or King of Scars, but I was more than willing to give Leigh Bardugo another chance and I am so, SO glad I did! Ninth House is wholly unlike anything else Leigh Bardugo has written and (spoiler) I loved it!

First things first, this is NOT a YA book by any stretch of the imagination. Ninth House deals with some extremely dark, graphic topics and readers should certainly be aware of that. Other reviewers have listed trigger warnings so I won't do that here to avoid spoilers, but definitely go check them out if you feel like you may need them.

This dark, adult novel follows Alex Stern, a girl who would never have gotten into Yale without a very unique gift - she can see ghosts. The ninth secret society house of Yale, Lethe House, offers her a full ride in exchange for her services and she takes them up on their offer, throwing her into a dark world she never guessed existed. I wasn't too sure about Alex at first, but she quickly grew on me and I loved her by the end. I also adored the other characters of Lethe House, especially Dawes.

It's hard to know what to say and what to leave out in this review because this book is so cram packed with magic and mystery and conspiracy, but I think it's best to reveal very little about the plot. Suffice it to say this story will keep you guessing. It's written in alternating chapters between past and present and I loved the way this style of writing kept me in the dark for so long.

If you've read Leigh Bardugo before, then you know this is a book that brings you right into its pages. Although the setting of Ninth House is Yale, it feels like so much more than that. It's spooky and dangerous and I felt like I was there on the street with Alex looking into the cemetery. The world building is exactly what you'd expect from Leigh.

Ninth House is an incredibly atmospheric, magical, and gritty novel full of twists and turns. I absolutely loved this story and cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel!