Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Synopsis: 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.
The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.
Publication Date: October 8th, 2019
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Series: Alex Stern #1
“Mors irrumat omnia. Death fucks us all.”
I’m just going to say this once: This book is NOT YA. It may be by Leigh Bardugo, but that means nothing. This is categorized as ADULT for a reason, because this contains a lot of trigger warnings (included at the bottom). This book even disturbed me (even though I don’t mind content that is disturbing, but this book took the cake).
Remember the outcry on Twitter about Ninth House? About how books should normally include trigger warnings? Which they should, because it’s not up to the readers to include them. It should be in the books. I loved how the publisher for the book was like, ‘thanks for your note, we’ll add it to our notes.” Those notes got shredded, because there is absolutely no note about the content warnings (in my copy), absolutely not sure about others.
This book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019, ever since I heard that Bardugo was releasing a DARK Adult book. And maybe it disappointed, because of all these very overwhelming five star reviews this book already has, and me not knowing anything about it-came up with something else entirely.
This book was a little disappointing. Again, I wasn’t sure what I expecting, but a dark fantasy in general? What I got was a murder mystery basically and it lasted for a good chunk of the book. The last 200 pages was where I finally liked the book, but a good chunk of it was I don’t know how to feel about it. That’s sad.
Bardugo is one of my favorite authors. I really liked the Shadow and Bone trilogy, Six of Crows duology right now (which is trilogy to be exact) was amazing, and King of Scars was a major disappointment. And now Ninth House, I really have no words to describe, besides that it was better than King of Scars so I guess that’s saying something.
I guess in a way it is considered a dark fantasy, but honestly The Poppy War seems a little brutal with a few things compared to this, but this book takes the cake in some places. This book is basically Who is the murder? It was just a mystery for the main chunk of the book, and just really dragged out.
There were twists which made the mystery interesting, but most of the time, I just felt meh throughout the book. There were things happening, but they didn’t really feel like they were important enough, or the fact that it all felt meh in the first place.
It was like page 350 where I was, wtf is happening? There was a lot of things happening and having a lot of dark content there was a bit disturbing, but it made my patience worth it. It was so good. Everything came together to make a killer cliffhanger which I’m still in awe/shock and pissed because now I have to wait an entire year to see what is going happen.
Most of the book, I really couldn’t get behind the characters. They were lacking a spark which lasted a good 200 pages, until I actually brought myself to care about the characters because terrible stuff was happening which brought out some of their personalities.
I’m not going to lie. It took me roughly 100 pages just to like Alex’s character and took me a little bit longer to fully love her. She is a strong character. And I don’t mean the ‘I’m not like other girls, and I could kill’ sort of characters. Her past is troubled, and I have a feeling that we might be digging into a little bit more of her past, because I really don’t understand to much of it at all. Alex is a survivor in may ways, and I loved that Bardugo had explored that and made it known in the novel.
I loved Alex quite a bit; a survivor in many ways, her personality was awesome really after the first 200 pages and I really liked her. I really don’t love her, at least not yet, but I think I will when I reread the book or book 2 comes out. One of the two.
The side characters kinda needed a little more work. I couldn’t get a good reading on them, I guess, because they were just there. I couldn’t bring myself to care about them minus in certain events of what was happening, but that was it. They were just there, and I hope they could get further developed in book two.
I still love Bardugo’s writing style. This was gritty, and dark which is perfect for this type of novel. I loved how she wasn’t afraid to write triggering things that shouldn’t be censored maybe a little, but still highly important some of these stories. She wasn’t shy on doing that and I applaud her for that.
The pacing, however, was a little bit slow especially in the beginning. It last for a good chunk of the book, but it is worth it towards the end of the book.
The world-building was awesome. I liked it especially with the cults and the spirit world which was quite interesting.
This book was interesting, though it was a tidbit disappointing. The plot was interesting, but I kinda expected a lot more with the plot instead of it just primary focusing on the mystery. Characters were a bit interesting, but I still wish I knew more about them, and the writing was something I loved.
TW: drug use, overdosing, murder, death, loss of a loved one, rituals, gore, PTSD depiction, grief depiction, self-harm, bloodletting, rape-child,statutory, sexual assault, forced sexual assault on video, talk of suicide, blackmail, physical abuse, a magical date rape drug, forced eating of human waste (to a rapist), racism, blood, vomiting, suicide
About the Author:
Bio: Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over three million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, The Language of Thorns, and King of Scars—with more to come. (To hear about new releases, tour dates, and giveaways first, sign up for Leigh’s newsletter here.) Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including The Best of Tor.com and the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer and the forthcoming Ninth House. Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Southern California, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and even makeup and special effects. These days she lives and writes in Los Angeles.
What did you think about the book? Have you read it? Want to read it? Tell me in the comments!
About the Blogger:
Hey everyone! I’m Lori and I have been ranting about books for a while, so I decided to make a blog. I’m a teen blogger in high school who has no life so she just reads books, and rants about her problems on her blog and to her cat. I’m a feminist, LGBTQ+ person, and someone who supports anything diverse.