Review: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Title:  Ninth House
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Format: eBook
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Overall: 5 out of 5
Source:  Library

The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo

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. 

*This is an ADULT novel, please do not read unless you can handle it*
I picked up Ninth House, not really sure what to expect. I loved Leigh Bardugo’s YA fantasy series, so I was optimistic that if nothing else this would be well written. I wasn’t wrong,! I really enjoyed this book, but I wouldn’t be doing right by you all if I didn’t put in a trigger warning. This book is dark, very dark. It deals with drug use, rape, suicidal talk, blackmail, date rape, a date rape drug (magical), etc. Those are only some of the potential triggers here if I’m being honest, I’m sure there are more I’m not listing because I’m a few months out from reading it. Please be warned and proceed cautiously. That being said, I loved this book. 
Leigh Bardugo is a fantastic writer and the dank, dark atmosphere of the book really drew me in and captivated me. The main character is Galaxy “Alex” Stern, and she is definitely unique. The things that Alex has gone through in her life so far are really terrible, and it is a testament to her ability to survive them and part of what makes this book so good despite the dark subject matter. The plot was intricate and well laid out. The story changes between Winter and Late Spring so it’s a bit jarring to see an Alex who is mostly okay, to an Alex who is definitely NOT okay. I know many people felt that there were tedious moments, and I can see that I guess. But I didn’t feel them, this is a book that mirrors day to day living, and the healing that victims go through on that daily basis.
This book is slow, it’s a slow burn, and you need to be prepared for that. However, it is like that on purpose, it’s set at Yale, with secret societies, there’s magic, and there’s Alex’s past. It covers a lot of important ground, that is key to understanding Alex and her world. Because her world is different than ours, no matter how close they might seem. This is also a mystery/thriller, and the first mystery is around the murder of a local girl. As Alex begins to research into who might have killed her and why, we are presented withour second mystery. Her mentor Darlington disappears. Alex is left trying to pick up the pieces of a once again, shattered life.
That’s really all I can say without giving a way major plot details. This book is not going to be for everyone, but it was one of my top reads for 2019, and I feel like it deserves a shout out despite the darkness. I give it 5 out of 5 stars!


**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I did not receive monetary compensation from it.**

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“But would it have mattered if she’d been someone else? If she’d been a social butterfly, they would have said she liked to drink away her pain. If she’d been a straight-A student, they would have said she’d been eaten alive by her perfectionism. There were always excuses for why girls died.”
― Leigh Bardugo, Ninth House