Published by Flatiron Books on October 8, 2019
Series: Alex Stern #1
Genres: adult, Fantasy & Magic, Paranormal, supernatural, Romance
Source: Audiobook from Library
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.
Ninth House is the first book in the adult supernatural Urban Fantasy Alex Stern series by author Leigh Bardugo. This book blew my socks off. I loved it so much, and the audiobook version is great! It was such a job to listen to. It is easily one of my favorite reads of the year! Leigh Bardugo has created such a rich supernatural magic setting within the campus of Yale. And to accompany this fantastic atmospheric setting, is a superb multilayered plot that kept getting better and better as the story went on. Suffice it to say, I completely fell in love with Ninth House and now I am chomping at the bit for book 2! I need to know what happens next!
In Ninth House we meet our main character Alex Stern, as she is a freshman student at Yale. The book alternates between past and present timelines. In the present we learn that something bad has happened, but we don’t learn the full extent of it until much farther into the book and much farther into the past timeline as it comes to meet the present timeline. I found this to be a very effective storytelling technique both for the air of mystery, but also for plot development and character development. I loved how this story was laid out. We quickly learn that Alex has led a very tough life. You might be thinking…how tough could it have been if she ended up at Yale. But you would be wrong. Alex ended up at Yale for the same reason that she had a tough life…she can see ghosts. Ghosts are called grays in this book, and Alex’s ability to see them made her the perfect candidate to join Yale’s Lethe House, also known as the Ninth House in Yale’s secret society of magical houses. The first eight houses are secret societies where magic is performed and spells are cast. The ninth house oversees the magical activity of the first eight houses and makes sure they all stay in line. Alex is
I was fascinated by the idea of these secret societies, and I loved the idea of a ruling body so speak that monitors all of the magic. Alex is brought in under mysterious circumstances because of her ability, and she quickly learns that there are so much more going on in the houses than meets the eye. Then you weave in a seemingly unrelated murder, and I was completely hooked. I don’t get to say that a book completely surprises me very often, because I am pretty good at picking up hints and clues left by the author, but there was more than one twist in this book that literally had my jaw dropping in utter shock! I bow down to Leigh Bardugo. This book is dark, twisty, complicated and completely delicious! I need so many more books in the Alex Stern series. I love everything about it! I love the setting, I love the characters (hello- I didn’t even mention Darlington, but I adore him!), and the plot blew my mind. Fans of dark supernatural fantasies will fall in love with Ninth House. I need book two right now!
P.S. I have seen a few of the more negative reviews state that this book was too descriptive and too hard to get through. I didn’t find that to be the case at all, and that might have been because I listened to the audiobook. If that’s the case- then I highly recommend the audiobook. It is excellent.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2020 Audiobooks Challenge
- 2020 Tackle My TBR Reading Challenge