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.
What to say about Ninth House? I absolutely loved this. I don’t understand why so many people didn’t like it. Many said the beginning was slow and boring, but II completely disagree. I was invested in the story almost immediately. I think for me, I can relate to Alex because of our shared history of substance abuse. So, that makes me connect with her in a way many people probably don’t.
I absolutely adored the setting and atmosphere of Ninth House. I grew up a few hours away from Connecticut, I could totally feel the biting winter cold and the old, historical feel of the town. I thought it was so well done, and obviously done by someone who had lived in the area. I know Bardugo went to Yale and clearly spent tons of time researching.
I really enjoyed the societies. They were dark and magical and infuriating. I think this story is told by Alex, an outsider, gave the whole story an interesting perspective. She wasn’t just another rich kid being a Yale legacy. She was working for her place there. I also thought it was great that Alex worried about her classes, her non-society friends, and things outside of her ‘job’ there.
Darlington, my dear Darlington. I spent most of the book wondering what happened to him and then being pissed when I found out. I liked that we got to see him teaching Alex all of the Lethe ways. I liked that we got his backstory too and learn that he’s more than the persona he presents to the world.
Let’s talk about the darker elements of this book. There have been many conversations about the content warnings provided. I don’t really find myself having too much trouble reading about horrible things very often, and this was no different. I actually got to a certain part of the book and remembered one of the content warnings. Then I thought about all the other ones I knew of and actually thought to myself “oh, I already passed the kid eating shit and didn’t really even think about.” I know this is not the case with everyone, but I thought all of the darker aspects of the story were well written, well thought out, and were not included just for any sort of shock value. I though Bardugo handled them all very well.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I didn’t know it was going to be a series, so I am HYPED for the next book. I cannot wait to see where these characters are going to go. I had so much fun reading this one and I highly recommend it for those that enjoy darker books.
“Mors irrumat omnia. Death fucks us all.”
“All you children playing with fire, looking surprised when the house burns down”
“Peace was like any high. It couldn’t last. It was an illusion, something that could be interrupted in a moment and lost forever.”
“That was what magic did. It revealed the heart of who you’d been before life took away your belief in the possible. It gave back the world all lonely children longed for.”
“Alex didn’t have money. But she did have power. She’d been afraid of it, afraid of staring directly at that blood-soaked night. Afraid she’d feel regret or shame, of saying goodbye to Hellie all over again. But when she’d finally looked? Let herself remember? Well, maybe there was something broken and shriveled in her, because she felt only a deep calm in knowing what she was capable of.”
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.