Ninth House (Alex Stern #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher/Year: Flatiron Books, 2019
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 480
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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.

What I thought

Leigh Bardugo’s name is not unknown to me. Previous to this novel, she had taken the YA world by storm. Honestly, I have no idea why I hadn’t read any of her books before this other than my inherent aversion to hyped books (so hipster, I know). And although I was interested in Ninth House, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up now if it hadn’t been for B&N Book Club.

What the hell is wrong with me?!

Hyped books are usually hyped for a reason, and every. single. time. I get to them years too late and fall in love anyway. ::facepalm::

Anyway. On to the book.


Talk about the perfect October read! It was dark and gritty and horrifying and spooky and kickass. And I felt like I should be reading this in my housecoat and slippers by the fire in my dark, wood-paneled library with a pipe and a glass of Scotch on ice.

I don’t even know what Scotch tastes like.

Needless to say, I fell in love with how atmospheric this story was. I’ve never been to Yale, but Leigh Bardugo took me there.

I fell in love with just about everything else in this novel, too. The secret societies and the different magic they used were SO COOL. Alex was an INCREDIBLE heroine. I was rooting for her from page one. She is strong, witty, wily, stubborn, flawed, and so damned smart. At times, I fist pumped for her, and at others, I just wanted to wrap her up in the tightest hug. And Darlington–don’t even get me started on him. How do I love him? Let me count the ways. The banter between the two of them killed me. Other characters I adored included Dawes, Turner, and of course, Lethe House. I mean, I NEED that library!

Leigh Bardugo has expertly combined multiple elements to create one hell of a book. And while there are many moments that are difficult to read, I also appreciated what she was trying to say about many modern issues. And that “just about everything” I mentioned earlier? The ONLY downfall to loving this book so hard is that with that ending, I have ZERO IDEA what I’m supposed to do with myself until Book #2 arrives.

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