Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House is one of the most highly anticipated novels of 2019. It is the debut adult novel by Leigh Bardugo, a incredibly successful young adult and fantasy writer. This book started to get media attention well before the October 2019 publication date. It has been the centre of headlines about the issue of trigger warnings in novels, which is an important conversation to have. However, I chose not to read any of those stories before reading the book because I did not want them to affect my reading experience.

I will admit that it took me a while to get into this book; the first few chapters provide little context and can be confusing to get through. The first chapter created enough suspense that I kept going, but I can understand why some may give up. That being said, once you make it past the initial hurdle the fantasy world within Ninth House starts to make more sense.

The novel centres around a teenage girl named Alex Stern who has had a tough start in life. She is a recovering drug addict from Los Angeles with a dark past who is offered the chance to attend Yale University and work for a secret societies. This is because Alex has the ability to see Grays (ghosts), which is a rare ability in the world that she has entered. Bardugo said that with Alex she wanted to create an anti-hero, and that is exactly what she is done. Alex is not a conventional hero at all, in fact i’m not certain she is even meant to be likeable, but I couldn’t get enough of her.

The world that Bardugo creates in Ninth House is, quite simply, marvellousIt is expansive and captivating. The extent to which Bardugo has gone to develop this fantasy society within the real world of Yale University is phenomenal. I could talk about how impressed I am all day; I am stunned by Bardugo’s creativity.

This book is getting a lot of attention, which will either push people away or draw people in. I’m here to say that the hype is worth it: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo is fantastic. I already can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.

That being said, it is worth mentioning that Ninth House may not be the best choice for some readers. It is dark at times, tragic even. It addresses topics such as sexual assault and drug addiction, and it is certainly violent. Ninth House can be uncomfortable to read at times, but the story is so captivating that I pulled through those distressing moments and really started to understand the deeper meaning behind the characters and the story.

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 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 change: 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-know 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.

Leigh Bardugo is a bestselling author of fantasy novels. Over three million copies of her young adult books have been sold in English, and two of her books are being adapted by Netflix. Bardugo attended Yale University, and was a member of a secret society.

Ninth House is a stunning fantasy novel. It is captivating, suspenseful, and impossible to put down.

Rating: ★★★★★

You can purchase Ninth House here.


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