Book Review: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

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Rating: 5 out of 5.


This is one of those books that I’ve been meaning to get to on my TBR for a very long time. I finally did and I was not one bit disappointed. As a fan of Bardugo as well as a fan of historical representation in literature, I was very pleased with how the history of New Haven and the old money colleges was presented in this one.

I had a very different expectation of this one though that I want to explore for a moment. With all the hype over this book, I had no idea really that it was about the supernatural. The little bit I had read about this book before digging into it, I thought it was a murder mystery thriller. So I was pleasantly surprised to realize the depth of supernatural in this one.

Alex Stern is a college student with an interesting life. She has been able to see ghosts, known as Grey’s, her entire life. But until reaching college and joining the Lethe Society as a trainee in their organization, she didn’t realize how real they were to others.

That was what magic did. It revealed the heart of who you’d been before life took away your belief in the possible.

Ninth House, Leigh Bardugo

The Lethe Society is an organization supposed to be the shepherds for monitoring and reeling in the magic of the major houses of the veil on campus. Those are the various organizations within the colleges that partake in very strong and potentially dangerous magic. Then a young girl from the nearby town is found murdered on campus, Alex’s mentor has disappeared and she’s putting all the pieces together in her own way.

The development of Alex’s character from scared young woman to confident and embracing of her powers, was a real joy to watch unfold. She transforms incredibly throughout this story and I loved every second of watching her bloom and blossom into someone she was proud of.



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.


Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Ninth House and the creator of the Grishaverse (now a Netflix original series) which spans the Shadow and Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology, the King of Scars duology—and much more. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple anthologies including The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy. She lives in Los Angeles and is an associate fellow of Pauli Murray College at Yale University.

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