Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Alex Stern #1
Format: Arc provided by Raincoast Books
Release date: October 8th
Top 3 Genres: Adult, Thriller, Magical Realism
My rating: Set it on fire/If you have nothing else to read/you need to read it/Run and buy it.
To buy the book: CA • US • FR• Bookdep
Add to: Goodreads
Hello bookdragons! Today I wanted to share with you my thoughts on one of the most anticipated releases of this year, a book coming out TOMORROW… Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo! Darker, bloodier and more twisted than her young adult series but so compelling! (Though please, check the trigger warnings before reading it!)
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 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 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.
Meet your new anti-hero: Galaxy Stern
Galaxy -Alex- Stern is not what you would call the typical hero: she barely studied, tried drugs, sex, doesn’t care that much about others… and she sees ghosts! And that is what lead her here, to Yale and it’s secret societies. The Ninth Houses performing dangerous acts of magic on a weekly basis. Because magic attracts ghosts and power, and all these students need some shepherding! And that is what Alex is supposed to be, a guardian and protector, preventing any accident during the ceremonies of the secret houses.
Of course, it is not that simple, and through the book, we will see timelines intertwine, following Alex trying to solve a murder that could be related to the Societies, while also discovering what lead her to Yale, her very very dark (and sad) past and how her training took an unexpected turn when her mentor, Darrington went missing. Slowly, we will reconnect all the dots, learn more about this alternate reality that Bardugo created.
As always, we can count on her to build something beautiful, so enticing and complex you get lost in it and finish the book just wanting MORE. It is true, it took me around 100 pages to really get in the story (I was a bit lost first by the change a style from what I usually read because I need to say it plainly, this book is hard. It’s painful and bloody and not a light read at all. But it is also so good!), but once I was in, I was in! Bardugo’s writing really does magic for me, and even if this book was more graphic and violent than my usual!
In a few words
Do not read this book expecting a light and pleasant read, or even YA. It is violent, gruesome and explores a lot of rough topics, from rape to murder and trauma. But the world-building is rich and brilliant, as well as how the story itself unravels. You just have to be sure you are ready for what comes with it!
See you for a cup,
TW: drug use, murder, death, gore, PTSD, blood, self-harm, (child) rape, sexual assault