Thursday, May 21, 2020

Book Review | Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House is a horror/fantasy by Leigh Bardugo.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

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.

Why Did I Read Ninth House?

Ninth House was a preorder based on it being an adult horror from Leigh Bardugo. I tried to stay pretty blind about the plot since I was already sold based on genre/author.

The Strengths

At the apex of fantasy and horror sits Ninth House. Let's face it, any time scifi, fantasy, thrillers, etc. intersect with horror, I'm at my happiest, but combining magic and horror is awesome and I'm here for it!

Ghosts are my favorite horror element, and Ninth House deals with ghosts in a way that really hits the mark for me in a way that I never see portrayed in literature. There's a lot going on in Ninth House, and the aspects involving the grays (ghosts!) were my favorite.

The Weaknesses

The timeline was a little bit of a struggle for me. Having finished Ninth House, I think the timeline structure was necessary, but there were times I had to think about where we were and what was happening. It took me a while to settle into the timeline changes, and I'd be lying if I said that struggle didn't continue to creep back up.

After reading reviews of Ninth House, I was worried about the pacing. I was so happy to be buddy reading this with Tracy because I expected Ninth House to be a really slow burn or possibly even a slog through the first half. I didn't find this to be the case at all! As I mentioned there is a lot going in Ninth House. There are so many elements being introduced and built upon, I do think there is a big progression that happens. I love when a book continues to build and reveal until it turns into something awesome. This may not be a preference for everyone, but my advice if your tastes are similar to mine is "keep with it!" In the end, I loved it all.

Final Thoughts

I loved Ninth House. It was my first book to read by Leigh Bardugo. I have a couple of books from her other series that I'm really looking forward to getting started on. Tracy tells me Ninth House is going to have a sequel so I will be anxiously awaiting that one!

content warning:

5/5 stars


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  1. I can't wait to read this! I was hoping to read it this month but I'm not sure if that's going to happen. But lovely review, I do love slow burn books so I think this is going to work great for me 😁

  2. This one does sound good! I love college settings, especially when there are secret societies involved. And I love the way you're reviewing books these days. Very fun. :)

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Lark! This is a format I've used occasionally over the years, but I'm embracing it right now. I think I will continue to use it.

  3. I enjoyed this one! It was a bit slow to take off for me, and very dark for Bardugo, but I thought it was a great change of pace from her YA and it's probably my favorite book by her so far :)

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  4. I'm glad you ended up liking it. I love the cover for it.

  5. I'm so glad that you liked this one so much. I bought it when it was released but haven't picked it up yet. I actually heard it's supposed to be a fairly long series. Great review.

    1. It took me all this time to pick it up, too. Thankfully I was able to buddy read it with Tracy because it might still be sitting on my shelf.

  6. I've yet to read anything by Bardugo and was considering this but didn't realise it was more horror than any other genre. (Horror isn't really my thing.)

    You've helped me answer the question of whether I should give this a try! Great review. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    1. It's fantasy, too, but yes, it has some horrific stuff in it.


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