The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
I've often talked about how the Six of Crows series is one of my top 5 favourites, and Leigh Bardugo continues to be an author that I adore. So of course I was excited to pick up her newest book, an adult contemporary novel that takes place at Yale University. Alex Stern is definitely a different character than Bardugo has created in the past, and her story is completely different than what I anticipated.
Such a Great Setting
There's so many conspiracy theories around the secret societies of Yale University, and although I don't know much about them, I loved the magical abilities that Bardugo has attributed to them. Each of the Ancient Eight houses has a specific magical skill that the Houses have worked and developed over decades. As Alex learns about them, so do we, which makes the journey both magical and scary, as it quickly becomes clear how dangerous and manipulative these magics can be. I also really want to visit New Haven to see the city that Bardugo has done such a good job describing - the many faces of the city sound so compelling!
Interesting Storytelling Style
With a non-linear storytelling style and multiple perspectives, this was a really interesting read. While Alex is unraveling the mystery of a young woman's death and how some of the Houses might be involved, readers are trying to piece together what the beginning of the semester meant for Alex and where Darlington has gone. I really enjoyed getting Darlington's perspective because it gives readers more history about Yale and its houses, as well as letting us see Alex from a different perspective. I had a hard time completely connecting with Alex at the beginning of the book, so Darlington's view of her helped to get a fuller understanding of her. Overall, I thought the non-linear plot line was a great way to tell this story!
A Bit Long...
While I enjoyed the writing style, I did find that there were moments of The Ninth House that really dragged on, which forced me to push through so I could continue the story. Part of this is how long it takes Alex to be honest about her past. While the build was good, there comes a point where "I'm not going to think about it" gets a bit frustrating to read -- I just want to know what happened! The Ninth House is a fairly long book and there were some moments that probably could have been condensed to keep the story moving more smoothly.
Overall, I really loved this book and I can't wait for the sequel to come out! I'm really hoping to see something develop between Darlington and Alex, but that might just be me (I really don't know where Bardugo is going with their relationship). I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who has enjoyed other books by Leigh Bardugo, who likes non-linear storytelling, or someone who just wants a contemporary fantasy novel that's fairly perfect for this time of year!
FINAL RATING: 4/5
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Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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2020 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has read 20 books toward her goal of 85 books.
2019 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has read 5 books toward her goal of 90 books.
2018 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has completed her goal of reading 80 books in 2018!
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