It feels so weird to have finished reading Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo because I’ve been waiting for it since the moment it was announced as simply an adult book set at Yale. I went to Yale, in case I haven’t mentioned that, so reading this book was a really really cool experience for me. I graduated in 2018 after spending four years in New Haven and reading this book felt like going back even if I wasn’t involved in dark occult magic or ghost hunting on campus. Hell, I wasn’t even in a society but I recognized the soul of this book and really enjoyed it. I don’t even normally find myself drawn to occulty magic books, and I haven’t read anything else by Leigh Bardugo, but this book was definitely a 5-star read for me.
Alex (short of Galaxy) Stern gets an offer she can’t refuse after being the only survivor of a drug-infused homicide in California. A full-ride to Yale. All she’s got to do is join Lethe, a sort of secret society in charge of keeping all the other secret societies in check–you know, keep them from ritual murders, etc. Yeah, this book goes to some dark places both personal (TW for rape) as well as the spooky (ghosts, blood, violence, gore, demons, etc) but it is so well done. Especially as someone that knows the backdrop of this story, I loved the little details Bardugo (who is also an alumnus) included, like the renaming of the Schwarzman Center, mentions of Jodie Foster, inclusion of local places, et cetera.
When a girl from town ends up murdered on a Thursday night (ritual night) Alex starts taking a closer look at what’s going on in the socities–there’s illicit drugs, ghost conjurings, more murders, school personnel with too much to lose, and a healthy dose of white boys with too much time on their hands. Did I mention a missing boy who is supposed to be Alex’s guide? Oh, and a surly cop. I’m obsessed.
I can’t wait to read the next book in this series! I’m not sure HOW many we’ll be getting, and I don’t know that it’s been confirmed, but I would hope at least four since this one covers the majority of Alex’s first year at Yale. But with that cliffhanger, I doubt we’re going to wait a whole summer to do that ritual….