Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo

ninth house by leigh bardugo book cover

The Ninth House Synopsis

Note: This review is spoiler-free!

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 homicides. 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.

Why did I pick it?

I will literally read anything by Leigh Bardugo. However, knowing this was a move from YA and initial reviews were mixed it took me a while to pick it up.

What I loved about it

I loved that the story has its origins in fact. Most of the places described are real; Yale does have secret societies and crypts. Seriously, I had no idea, but it’s a Google blackhole worth jumping down. Whether they are magic-wielding powerhouses that influence everything from politics to the arts it’s up to you to decide!

The story is told through two main POV’s and jumps between the current timeline and months earlier. As I listened to the audiobook I liked the switch between Darlington and Alex, it kept me engaged even when things were a little on the light side progression wise.

What I loathed about it

Some of the more “graphic/triggering” elements in this book felt unnecessary to the storyline. Leigh spoke in the audiobook interview about her experience attending Yale. I felt that some of these elements were perhaps about making a personal statement about the treatment of women and the male-dominated environment that is Yale, rather than telling a good story.

The pacing was a little slow in this book. I liked a lot of the world-building and exploring…. but when very little happens for two-thirds of the book I get a little bored. Hopefully, now a lot of that is done, the second book will be much faster paced.


YA fiction this isn’t. It covers some triggering and thought-provoking topics. Great for fans of Dan Brown and those that like their fantasy novels routed in truth with a smattering of magic.

When and where can you can get it

You can purchase Ninth House on Amazon today

ninth house by leigh bardugo book review


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