Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Book Review: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Published: October 8, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Mystery

Pages: 459

Synopsis: 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.

Thoughts: I'll be honest, I didn't really like this book when I first started reading it. I found Alex, the main character, somewhat unlikable, and had a hard time digging in to the story and caring about what was happening. That changed probably halfway through when more was revealed about her backstory and what happened to Darlington, another major character, and she didn't seem quite as selfish. Granted, she has good reason to be selfish, but it's sometimes hard to root for a character like that.

At that halfway point, the mystery starts kicking into high gear as well, so that is likely another reason I got more into it. Who doesn't like a good mystery? This one revolves around accepting that the various "secret" societies at Yale are actually dealing in magic, and not fun Harry Potter magic, but some pretty shady stuff that can result in people getting dead.

I have loved all of Leigh Bardugo's books in the past pretty much from the get go, so it was a little surprising to me that it took me so long to get into this one. That said, am I in for the next book in the series? I think so, particularly since it looks like it will involve a search for a character I dare any reader not to like. I wonder if it will also delve more into why Alex has a certain power, and what it means. Hopefully so, because while some of that was sort of explained in this book, it certainly could use some more digging.

Now, would I recommend this book to others? Hmm. If you like Bardugo's other books, have an interest in Yale and its societies, and like a main character who isn't super likable in your books, then sure. If you need to be gripped from the first page? Maybe not.

Rating: 3.5/5

What I'm Reading Next:  Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

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