A chilling look at what nefarious depths secret societies would go to… if they had magic.

Title: Ninth House

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Source: Raincoast Books for review

Description: 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.

Content Warning: drugs, violence, sexual assault, rape, child rape, murder

Review:

Ninth House was creative, creepy, and compelling.

I read the Six of Crows and Shadow and Bone books so when I got this in the mail I was PUMPED. Bardugo is a master at creating magical universes, so I was eager to see what she would do with our own real-life universe.

Spoiler alert: she nailed it.

Ninth House is definitely way darker than her other books. It is raw with grit and emotion and doesn’t shy away from addressing horrible trauma.

And I absolutely loved the magic.

Elaborate, intricate, ancient ceremonies to produce totally mundane things like business contracts or drugs or alter the weather to affect the stock market. If magic was real, that’s totally what would be going down.

But don’t worry, it isn’t all blasé. There’s also time travel, possession, necromancy, portals, monsters, demons, and some very murdery activities.

The characters were layered and real, but none more so than Alex. Alex has been seeing ghosts since, well, forever. And that kind of stuff messes you up. She’s seen some horrible things. Been through more than you can imagine.

She is a survivor.

Don’t let the beginning put you off – I found the first bit rather hard to get into – but it is totally worth it to keep going. I got sooo sucked in. I can’t believe I have to wait forever for the sequel!! Isn’t there some sort of spell we can cast to make it happen faster? I’ll go check with the people at Yale…