Best known for her young adult novels, Leigh Bardugo penned her first adult novel early in October 2019. Pulling from her own experiences as a student at Yale, Bardugo’s novel, Ninth House, strays on the darker side of fantasy and has left readers across the globe reeling and wanting more.
Galaxy “Alex” Stern feels like she doesn’t belong at Yale. Raised in the Los Angeles, Alex dropped out of school early and jumped into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. At 20 years old, 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. But why her? And what’s the catch? The catch is that she’s tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. 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. Still searching for answers, Alex struggles to make sense of this new world while also digging up deep secrets that could make the world of magic crumble.
This story is very intricately written, but it can be a bit hard to get into or to follow with the jumping time periods (early spring, winter, fall, summer). There are also some dark themes and scenes including drug use, rape, and other weird and gross scenes.
That being said, this story was extremely well written! The entire plot was planned out from start to finish and every detail came together at the end to lead to the climax at the end of the novel. Yet, there is enough left unfinished at the end to lead into a sequel (which is planned for publication in 2021).
Alex is a character you learn to love, but also want to knock some sense into at certain points. She is very rough around the edges, but when you learn what she’s gone through in her life, you can’t help but sympathize with her. The reader can’t help but fall in love with Alex’s mentor, Darlington, even though he is only featured in flashback chapters. Also, the weird friendship between Alex and Dawes, Lethe’s research assistant, lends to a comic relief of sorts for the story. Two completely different people who are basically forced to work together yet eventually develop a unique friendship creates such an amazing dynamic to such a dark novel.
This novel also shows how even when life knocks you down and it seems like all hope is lost, self-perseverance is all it takes to take control of a situation and your life. Alex shows how being badass and feared is sometimes the only thing you can be in a cruel world.
Upon finishing the novel, the hype that this novel generated becomes understandable and while I wasn’t obsessed with it like others were, I thought it was very well written and engaging at the end. If you aren’t a fan of darker issues or plotlines, then this may not be the novel for you; however, if you love delving deep into a secret world hidden beneath the real one, you will love the world of Yale’s secret societies. I will definitely be grabbing the sequel when it comes out to see what trouble Alex will get herself into next!
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!