I feel like in 2018/2019, everywhere I looked I was encountering Leigh Bardugo’s name. My Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, LinkedIn…every place where I looked at books, I was seeing her name pop up for her novel Six of Crows. Now here is something weird about me; unless it’s something I’m already invested in (like seeing The Hobbit trilogy films being the huge Tolkien fan that I am), I pay little attention to reviews. And the reason for this is that I feel like things can quickly get overrated. Like I enjoyed Frozen, but the hype all around it made me a lil disappointed, despite how much I liked it.
So I put Bardugo on my list, but it wasn’t on the top. And by the grace of an extra Book of the Month credit, I added her to my box and gave it a go.
I should have believed the hype about this author. She’s getting all my money.
Ninth House is a new approach to a world of magic. Set against the backdrop of New England and the much talked about secret houses of Yale, Galaxy “Alex” Stern uncovers the true terrifying power of magic. She has the strange ability to see Greys, a power that others are only able to acquire for a limited time after ingesting a dangerous concoction. Because of this power, she has been inducted into the ninth secret house of Yale; Lethe. But something is very, very, very rotten in the state of Denmark. Dead girls and a missing classmate are just a few of the things that are rotten.
The plot that draws you in quicker
than you expected, especially because the opening of the novel takes you almost directly to the end of the major events. Short interludes are dispersed between the chapters in the form of diaries of past society members that are lovely segues from one chapter to the next, and give you a view of what the house is from a student’s standpoint as opposed to a president’s (looking at you Bush…and Bush) opinion of them.
There is also something kind of cool about reading magic happening in our universe. All of the major fantasy works we have like Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Mortal Instruments, The Old Kingdom series, Mistborn trilogy, and even Percy Jackson & The Olympians or The Inheritance Cycle take place in a separate universe, or a hidden part of our world. This takes place on one of America’s most prestigious institutions, with frat boys and work-study jobs and horrible parties and young adults trying to find a way to fit in. Its remarkably read.
The pace trips along nicely, and the language and style thrust you right into the character’s world. A strong female character who is fully formed and developed, multifaceted and vulnerable. Alex is a remarkably frank narrator. Her penchant for self-deprecation paired with her confidence makes her, in my opinion, a reliable narrator. She doesn’t shy away from the guts and gore of her past or her present, yet remains oddly hopeful for her future. This is wonderful as a reader because I truly feel like I’m getting the world she lives in.
This is my first book by this author and I can’t wait to get my hands on more. Can’t wait for the sequel!
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
My favorite line:
She was no one, a girl who had lucked into a gift, who had done nothing to earn it. She was his queen (Bardugo 178).
A portion of this review was originally posted on Goodreads.