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Ninth House

by Leigh Bardugo

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Alex Stern (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,5891781,823 (4.06)85
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. In fact, by age twenty, 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 prestigious universities on a full ride. What's the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale's secret societies. Their eight windowless "tombs" are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street's biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.… (more)
  1. 10
    Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (Aquila)
    Aquila: Pairing these because they both are about magic hidden in secret societies on old college campuses, I like what Tracey Deonn does with that a lot more.
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» See also 85 mentions

English (174)  Dutch (1)  All languages (175)
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)
It was ok, I just really didn't like the writing style. Not for me. ( )
  Donderowicz | Mar 12, 2024 |
This was... not great? I didn't hate it, but I didn't like any particular part of it either. I do have a lot of complaints, though.

- Boring, repetitive plotting. Lots of sneaking into different buildings by using different magical items that ALL DO THE SAME THING. Though the tricks changed regularly (at least in theory - wow she's using a magical compulsion powder this time instead of that other compulsion coin!), it still got old way too early into the book.

- I don't think we ever got a compelling reason for why the main character cared about solving this murder, why she goes so out of her way for it. My best guess is that it's just because she's a rebel or whatever, but still I never got to feel her rebelliousness. Not a lot of feelings in this book, in general, despite the amount of trauma being inflicted.

- Shock value writing. Not my thing in general, especially not in a case like this. It started feeling like overkill, like the book was tipping over into a horror-comedy, Zombieland-style (it sounds horrible, but I had to giggle a bit when I realized we were really going to do a "ghost rape," like can you get any more ridiculous). The sheer amount of sexual assault in this book is astounding, and most of it wasn't treated with any particular respect or realism. How am I supposed to root for this blooming romance when its catalyst was a magical aphrodisiac date rape drug? Similarly, how am I supposed to take the ending seriously when there are that many double and triple-takes? ( )
  boopingaround | Mar 6, 2024 |
i keep seeing reviews talking about how they liked the second half of this book better than the first and i have to respectfully DISAGREE (not that i didn't like the second half of course) bc the first few chapters of this had me HOOKED. i love sitting somewhere between a vague understanding of what magic exists/is possible in this world and having the curtains fully pulled back to reveal demons and fairies etc. so the slow wade in the beginning was my personal sweet spot and i could've existed there forever. opening with a bloody prognostication for stock info? horny society parties that fuck with your mind? idk that was IT for me. this story was the perfect kickoff for fall and so much FUNNIER than i expected. leigh does a really good job with dialogue that is hilarious and feels natural. i do see where people are coming from when they say some things just felt too convenient in the story, but i was having so much fun it barely made a difference for me ( )
  bisexuality | Mar 3, 2024 |
--->The shortest review:
I regret standing in line at BookExpo this year trying to get an advance copy of this book. After reading this, I'm glad I didn't - now I don't have a book on my hands that I have to get rid of. Bless my local library.

--->The short review:
By far the most disappointing release of the year for me. "Ninth House" doesn't know what kind of book it is and stumbles through a hackneyed supernatural quasi-mystery plot that is at once both incredibly dry and needlessly convoluted. Even the plot themes that addressed privilege and class structures fell short and felt more like "look at me, I'm WOKE" lip-service than an actual discussion and/or critique on relevant topics.
I won't be reading the sequel, and honestly? This book is giving me hesitation about picking up other Bardugo titles, despite having utterly adored her Six of Crows duology.

--->The longer review via bulletpoints: (contains spoilers and mention of rape)
(Also it's kind of a mess because I don't care to write a smoother one ¯_(ツ)_/¯ )

* There were a couple of okay points. First, Bardugo TRIES to take a look at the abuse of privilege, particularly the rich Yale students who run the Houses of the Veil. There is a LOT of shady and downright disgusting behavior happening here, and the main character Alex becomes increasingly aware of it and calls it out at times. Her big argument is that these Houses shouldn't be using their power like this and cannot run around unchecked, yet Alex herself uses her powers in awful ways and also runs around unchecked (this is speaking broadly: there are a couple exceptions). I see where Alex is working to fight for justice (such as retaliation towards Blake for raping Mercy), and on one level I get it- Alex is fighting fire with fire and trying to (kind of ?) correct things. But on another level, all I see is two groups of people (the Houses/Yale and Alex) running around, hurling horrible magic at each other, and letting others deal with the consequences. It's all just one giant blur of everyone being up their own asses.

* This plot spirals out of control and pulls on various subplots, creating an inconsistent narrative. I had such a difficult time following the huge array of houses, people and names, timelines, buildings, years, etc. It also tries to cover so many topics, but everything just ends up being spread very thin? Again, it's a lot of quips about women/privilege/law/etc, but never offers up a deeper look at these things. Things are thrown in and then never addressed again, or vice versa. For example: the final reveal about "the Honey-eater"?!?!?! WHERE did that come from?? I literally never cared about this character, AND I don't know what "Honey-eater" is supposed to mean? It felt random and uninspired, much like other various points.

* Speaking of which: I saw no point for the ghost rape scene in the bathroom. I'm not going to say a ton on it, just that it didn't aid to the development of the overall plot. It felt again like Bardugo trying to prove she could write "adult" content, but it came off as voyeuristic and unnecessary.

* The magic system makes little sense. I once went to a writing class taught by Holly Black, and she said something about creating magic systems that really stuck with me: "When anything is possible, nothing is." The magic in "Ninth House" is malleable and subjective to whatever Bardugo wants to happen. For example, at one point we are told that healing magic isn't stable/reliable because common people practice it (like doctors). Yet a few pages later after Alex is beaten nearly to death and had broken ribs and internal bleeding, she can just climb into a magic gold tub and be healed in a couple hours? When one rule about magic is established, it is later broken or changed in order to move the plot along.

* Not really a fault but just annoying: his book is Yale porn. I got so sick of getting dates about when a part of Yale was built, or what these eighteen random Yale buildings look like, or how flippin' prestigious Yale is... also, did I mention this book is set at Yale? Don't worry, you'll be force fed this fact in the first half of the novel.

*I just in general was never inspired to care about these characters. None of them. Even Alex, who we're probably supposed to root for, was uninteresting. We get it: she's used drugs (which she was somehow magically cured of?), she had tattoos, she's from California - Alex borderline says the fateful "I'm not like other girls line" when she remarks how every girl at Yale dresses alike. Although it's never blatantly stated, Alex oozes with that Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way-energy (if you know, you know ( )
  deborahee | Feb 23, 2024 |
Minu jaoks ei läinud see raamat kuni lõpuni käima, erinevait Grisha maailma lugudest. Asusin suure hooga kallale - Bardugo loovestmisoskus ja tänapäevane kolledžikeskond, eks ole, mis saab valesti minna? -, aga siis käis vedru maha ja vunki enam üles ei saanudki. Ei olnud halb, aga selline ... mehh. ( )
  sashery | Jan 29, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Leigh Bardugoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Axtell, Michael DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fortgang, LaurenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graphic CompressorCover imagesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayes, KeithCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Picacio, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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By the time Alex managed to get the blood out of her good wool coat, it was too warm to wear it.
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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. In fact, by age twenty, 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 prestigious universities on a full ride. What's the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale's secret societies. Their eight windowless "tombs" are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street's biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.

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