Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo is the second book I read for the #bestiemademe challenge that Kari and I are doing. Kari loved it, so she’s been bugging me to read it for awhile. I read this in February and finished it in early March, and I was very grateful for the recommendation because I absolutely loved this book and rated it 5 stars.
Here’s the summary from Wikipedia:
The novel follows unlikely Yale University freshman 20-year-old Galaxy “Alex” Stern, a high school drop out and homicide survivor who can see ghosts, called “grays”. Alex is mysteriously offered a full-ride to university following her trauma despite her background and lack of qualifications. She attempts to navigate her new life at the Ivy League while tasked by her benefactor with monitoring the eight Houses of the Veil, secret societies that harbor dark occult magic and power, from Lethe, the ninth house.
I had heard a lot of mixed things going into Ninth House and I have to admit that I was a little bit nervous about reading it because of those mixed reviews. However, once I got into it, I was super glad I picked it up.
Galaxy Stern was a fascinating protagonist. I really enjoyed reading about her and her adventures. She definitely didn’t fit the mold of the Ivy League university vibe of the story, but I think that’s what made it better. It was really cool that she could see ghosts, also known as greys. I also enjoyed the alternate point of view of Darlington for the few bits that we got of him. The combination of the two of them as a team in those flashbacks was a really interesting aspect of the story.
The mystery of this story was probably my favourite part. I didn’t know how it was going to play out, which is obviously the point. It kept me guessing because they kept introducing new suspects and it was really hard to tell who to trust. Even as you discovered who was responsible for the initial crime, the book still hit you with another few twists. It was great. I love a good book surprise, and I appreciate the way that Leigh Bardugo constructed this particular mystery, and the way she set the book up for a sequel.
The magic/supernatural book was an neat aspect of this book. I definitely wouldn’t expect a contemporary from an author like Leigh Bardugo, but it was fascinating to see how different the magic was from the Grishaverse books. Obviously there’s no reason for her to do the same thing twice magic system wise, but I liked how she developed the various secret societies and how Alex operated in this world. I both loved and was terrified by the portrayal of the ghosts.
On that note, I do have a tendency to be a pretty emotional reader. I cry really easily, but it’s not often that a book genuinely disturbs me. Ninth House managed to do that. There was one scene in particular that had me cringing quite a bit, which was really interesting for me as a reader.
Overall, I had a really good time reading this book, and I highly recommend it. You should definitely check it out if you haven’t already.