#BookReview: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo @LBardugo
Hi everyone. Today, I have a book review for you from an author who has become one of my auto-buy writers, Leigh Bardugo.
About the Book:
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.
‘By the time Alex managed to get the blood out of her good wool coat, it was too warm to wear it.’
From this gripping opening line, we see that the main character, Alex (Galaxy) is holed up within a warded building known as ‘The Hutch’. She’s hurt–badly–and from here, we then jump back in time to her arrival at Yale.
Slowly, the plot unfurls by hopping between present and past and unveils all that’s hidden.
I’ll be honest, this is a difficult book in so many ways but well worth persevering with. And it’s not for the faint-hearted. The narrative addresses issues of rape, dark magic, murders, and manipulation, as well as drug use.
The pacing is slow for much of the first 3/4 of the book–incredibly so–but more like a long, drawn out burn. I had to keep going. I could not stop. And I had to find out what was going on. I found the main character intriguing, and I rooted for her in a deep and abiding kind of way. She’ll stay with me for a while. She was so utterly relatable and so very strong.
A few lines that stood out for me:
‘But he’d let himself think of her as someone who had made all of the wrong choices and stumbled down the wrong path. It hadn’t occurred to him that she was being chased.’
‘Don’t start lying yet. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover and you’ll want to pace yourself.’
‘She felt strange, wide open and exposed, a house with all its doors thrown open.’
After the long, slow burn the final 25% of the read blows you away. It is wild and fast and absolutely gripping. And satisfying. It ties up all the threads.
I believe this will be one of those books that readers either feel luke-warm about or they will rave about it. For me, it rates a solid and enthusiastic five stars. And after this read, and her Grishaverse Series, Leigh Bardugo has become one of my auto-buy writers.
NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.
5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.
I’d love to hear what you think of this review. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
For anyone interested, here are the Amazon links …