#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:

 

44063371. sy475 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.

My Review:

‘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 …

UK … https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07NVPTTSZ/

US … https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NVPTTSZ/

 

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Marcia Meara

I’m late to arrive, Harmony, but not because I didn’t want to find time to stop by, believe me. Not only do I enjoy checking out your blog and reviews, but Leigh Bardugo is one of MY auto-buy authors, too. She’s wonderful, and I have this book on my Kindle. I’m looking forward to reading it even more, now. Thanks for a great review, and man, oh man, do we have to talk books SOON!! 😄

Toni Pike

A superb review, Harmony – I love secret sect stories. Toni x

Carol Taylor

This sounds like an intriguing read..Secret societies and a slow burn I like I don’t like it when I get the plot in the first few chapters as I lose interest…:) x

Michael

Thank you, Harmony for this lovely review, on a very interesting story. I am also loving secret societies, at least here in the landline living in one of these. Lol A great thrilling book, i will put on my TBR. Have a beautiful week, and please stay save! Michael

Roberta Eaton Cheadle

This sounds intriguing, Harmony. The subject matter is certainly dark.

DGKaye

Riveting review Harmony, thanks for the recommend. Definitely adding to my big fat TBR lol 🙂 x

Gwen M Plano

Great review, Harmony. I’m intrigued by secret societies and just might follow up on this one. Thank you for sharing the review with readers.

sally cronin

Thanks for the review Harmony and will add the book to my next Amazon run…hugsx

Jan Sikes

Intriguing, Harmony. I will be checking out this and other books by this author. Thanks for sharing!

Harmony Kent

You’re welcome, Jan. I think you’d like this one 🙂

acflory

I love Leigh Bardugo’s work. Just wish the ebooks were cheaper, but I guess the publishing house sets the price now. Will keep an eye out for this one.

Joan Hall

I’ve heard of Yale’s secret societies. Sounds like an interesting read.

Mae Clair

I normally like books with secret societies but I think this one is a little too dark for me. Great review though, Harmony. Glad you enjoyed the book so much.

Staci Troilo

I’m a sucker for secret societies. This sounds like a good one. Thanks for sharing.

CS Boyack

I do like secret societies.

Priscilla Bettis

I like slow burns. I like the quotes you pulled out, too. “Don’t start lying yet . . . pace yourself,” haha. Good review!

D.L. Finn

Great review, Harmony. This one does sound intriguing.