Title: Ninth House
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Plots Synopsis from Goodreads:
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, the first adult novel by Leigh Bardugo, is a dark and mesmerizing blend of fantasy, mystery, and occultism. With its intricate world-building, complex characters, and compelling narrative, Bardugo delivers a thrilling and immersive reading experience that is sure to captivate fans of both fantasy and suspense genres.
Leigh Bardugo excels at world-building, and Ninth House is no exception. She masterfully blends real-world locations and history with supernatural elements, creating a rich and immersive setting. The eerie atmosphere of Yale University and its secret societies is vividly portrayed, making the reader feel as though they are walking alongside the characters. The intricate details and lore surrounding the occult practices and the system of magical checks and balances add depth to the world, making it feel both believable and enchanting.
The characters in Ninth House are complex and flawed, adding depth and realism to the story. Alex Stern is a compelling protagonist, haunted by her troubled past and grappling with her newfound responsibilities. She is a resilient and resourceful character who grows throughout the novel, making her journey all the more satisfying. The supporting cast, including the enigmatic Darlington and the members of the secret societies, are equally well-developed, with their own motivations and secrets. Each character feels distinct, and their interactions drive the narrative forward, creating an intricate tapestry of relationships and power dynamics.
Ninth House explores themes of power, privilege, and the consequences of unchecked authority. Bardugo deftly tackles the dark underbelly of elite institutions and the exploitation that often accompanies them. She delves into the lengths people will go to maintain their status and the price individuals pay to protect secrets. The novel also explores themes of trauma and healing, as Alex confronts her own past and learns to harness her unique abilities. The thematic depth adds layers of complexity to the story, elevating it beyond a mere supernatural mystery.
Ninth House is a masterful blend of fantasy and mystery that showcases Leigh Bardugo’s versatility as a writer. With its intricate world-building, complex characters, and a compelling narrative, the book immerses readers in a haunting and suspenseful tale. The seamless integration of supernatural elements with a murder mystery keeps readers hooked until the very last page. Ninth House deserves its place as a standout adult novel, earning a well-deserved five-star rating. Fans of Bardugo’s previous works and those who appreciate dark, atmospheric storytelling will find this book to be a thrilling and unforgettable read.