Review: Ninth House - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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.

Book Type:

Adult Fantasy

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Ninth House
By Leigh Bardugo

Review: Ninth House

The secrets of Yale’s “Ancient Eight” societies come to light in Leigh Bardugo’s first foray into adult fantasy, NINTH HOUSE.

Bardugo ingeniously uses Yale’s secret societies as repositories of magic to explore those who wield power, their hidden rituals, and the influence they brandish. The House of Lethe—the eponymous ninth house—was formed to curb their magical clout, ensuring rituals and practices never go too far.

And although Galaxy “Alex” Stern, a misfit and once drug addict, is hardly a fit for Yale, she is lured by Lethe and offered a free ride. It’s not Alex’s academic merits that entice, however, it’s her ability to see ghosts—“Grays” who trudge around campus and threaten rituals when gateways to the veil unseal.

But when a girl is murdered, Alex feels as if there’s something more to her death—it’s a gut feeling she can’t ignore. Before too long, Alex uncovers something far more sinister and dangerous than she anticipated.

NINTH HOUSE is the first in a new series and it’s magnificent. Bardugo builds a fascinating world that’s equal parts truth and fiction. With thoughtful detail, the world feels alive, lush and layered in a way that’s felt viscerally. No punches held in a twisting narrative that weaves horror and mystery. The dark and grotesque is buoyed by hope and humor thanks to our gritty heroine. Alex is brave, clever, inquisitive, but she’s also vulnerable with edges real and raw.

I loved the richness and depth of the novel, and the foundational history on which magic embellishes. It’s utterly engrossing, inciting further queries into the city of New Haven and the secret societies of Yale.

I couldn’t get enough of this book, this world, and I can’t wait to see what awaits in the next installment.

Absolutely stellar, must-read fantasy that’s deserving of all the buzz and praise.

“Peace was like any high. It couldn’t last. It was an illusion, something that could be interrupted in a moment and lost forever.”

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