Second Hand Pages

Rory Gilmore would never survive these ghosts: A ‘Ninth House’ Book Review

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Format/Source: Hardcover
Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon, Book Depo

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.

The Cat Lady Breaks Down…..

Plot: ★★★★★
World: ★★★★ 1/2
Writing: ★★★★★
Character Development: ★★★★★

…the writing…..

Leigh is such an amazing writer in YA, I wasn’t sure how it was going to translate to an adult novel. She came through and shook the entire adult fantasy novel world. She brought her beautiful and fluid writing and made it grim, dark, and very adult. She’s so clear and concise in her descriptions and her world building that it is really hard to pull yourself away.

…the plot….

Creepy… super creep factor. Secret societies at Yale hooked me enough, and then you throw in ghosts and magic? Give me a one way ticket to Ninth House town… ok a ticket to New Haven. Alex (Galaxy) Stern is a badass, mixed up on all kinds of bad stuff, main character. She takes us on a ride right from the start. We get a lot of insight into not only Lethe but also the other societies at Yale. How do all these people have time to go to college, get their homework done, and deal with ghosts and weird occult stuff. Oh, maybe it’s all the freaking crazy magical drugs that we find out about.

Hold the phone right quick. I need to put the biggest trigger warning in here if you are considering this book and you haven’t heard yet. There is a slightly graphic scene where a child gets raped. Please note this before you think about picking it up. I have seen a lot of questions online about if it contributes to the plot or character development at all. YES! So if this is something you do not feel comfortable reading, I suggest skipping over it. If you want to read this book, but want to skip over it, I will tell you exactly where to skip over. I think anyone who wants to enjoy this book should be able to do so without being uncomfortable.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming…

There is so much information in this book. I wanted to take it a little slower than normal so I didn’t miss anything, but I also needed to know what was going to happen. I wanted to speed read the whole thing but knew I would miss something. I’m pretty sure I still missed a lot of small details because Leigh is queen like that.

...the characters…

Alex Stern is new adult fantasy bae. She’s gone through some crap in her life, but she isn’t letting it stop her. She may not take the best paths to deal with her trauma, and she may exhaust her mother, but she is amazing nonetheless.

Turner is the other character I really want to mention. We have a lot of other smaller side characters, but I do not feel they play a giant role in the story. At least not enough for me to feel attached. Anyways, Turner is fantastic. Alex bugs him so much on purpose, and him getting frustrated is hilarious. He really tries to be the good guy though and not let Alex lead him into making poor decisions. I think we’ll keep him!

….final thoughts…

I remember hearing Leigh mention her next novel on her King of Scars tour back in February. I knew I was going to need to get my hands on it in ASAP. Ninth House is an instant favorite for me. I, of course, was on board with Queen Leigh putting out an adult novel, but was still skeptical because you never know how these things will turn out. I instantly fell in love with this book! The ending though… talk about a cliffhanger.

Leigh says in an interview at the end of the audiobook that the title for the sequel is in the final chapter of the book. Make a note that I am calling it here. My guess is (as I also posted on Twitter): The Dead Shall be Raised. There you go book fam. Spread it unofficially around and make sure you tell them The Cat Lady (aka Rellaviir) told you first! Watch me be super wrong and it’s just one stupid word!

Anyways, go read this book!

tl;dr

Ninth House is all about the occult doings of the secret societies at Yale. Queen Leigh Bardugo delivers everything we love about her in a dark and gritty adult novel, and does so seamlessly and flawlessly (like only Queen Leigh can.) Be prepared for ghosts and some weird stuff at Yale with a perfect main character!

About the Author:

Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over three million copies sold worldwide, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, The Language of Thorns, and King of Scars—with more to come. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including The Best of Tor.com and the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer and the forthcoming Ninth House.
Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Southern California, and graduated from Yale University. These days she lives and writes in Los Angeles. 

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