Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: October 8th, 2019
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.
Thank you to Macmillan Audio for providing me with the audiobook in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review which is unbiased and honest.
All I knew about this book going in was dark academia and paranormal activity and while I’m usually not a person that’s into scary things, this had the PERFECT level of “scare”.
The first chapter threw me off a little because I legitimately had no idea what was going on, but once I got into it it was like a puzzle trying to piece together what was happening, especially because the timeline alternated between “present” and past with dual POV.
I gotta say, I absolutely loved the narrators for both Alex and Darlington (especially Darlington, whoops). I was easily pulled into the story and it was really easy to follow along which is always great in audiobooks especially!
I also just really loved that this was such a visual book. I really felt like I was in the book and seeing everything play out vividly, especially in the end. It was overall a really vivid experience which I didn’t really expect.
The plot itself was a bit slower paced, but I enjoyed it a lot. It helped ease me into the new concepts and everything that was introduced was easier to grasp because of that. It does pick up a little over halfway, especially as we get to know Alex’s character a bit better.
I wasn’t too fond of Alex in the beginning because she was very closed off as a narrator and I didn’t get any background or substance until later. But I grew to enjoy her POV, especially as the storyline picked up and pieces started to come together. I’m a sucker for development and especially love it when things start to click in different ways. If I want to re read a book, that’s always a good sign. And this was definitely a book I would enjoy diving back into to see the trail of clues left to solidify that ending.
I would definitely recommend looking into the trigger warnings HERE because this does deal with a few really intense scenes and because the book is a very well rounded experience, it can definitely get a little graphic.
I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of ghosts and mysteries, a little bit of murder (okay a lot), dual POVs, some kind-of embarrassing moments, and illusions and other kinds of fun magic. This is perfect for anyone who wants some interesting female friendships, likes to solve mysteries even when they literally have no idea what they’re doing, communicating with the dead, and tragic backstories.