Ninth House (2019) – Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy Stern isn’t like other people. She can see ghosts, and Yale has recruited her for the fabled Ninth House, Lethe. They watch over the other Eight Houses on campus, houses which delve into areas of magic that aren’t taught in regular classes.

Galaxy, Alex for short, was recruited by the Dean, and is paired with a mentor to help keep the peace, see over rituals, and keep the rich kids in line (and they do some truly horrible things to one another, and those they see as lesser). And she gets a free ride at Yale (mostly).

But she’s about to get in over her head when her mentor, Darlington vanishes, a town girl with criminal connections to some of the houses ends up brutally murdered, and no one seems to want Alex investigating or around at all.

A mystery novel (hopefully the first in a series) infused with magic and horror The Ninth House is able to walk the fine line of horror, mystery and toss in some truly funny lines that demonstrates the author’s and Alex’s sense of humor.

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There’s a lot going on in this book, as Alex tries to find her way not only through the mystery, but through the discovery of who she is, the secrets she keeps, and those she discovers.

Bardugo has created a tangible reality in the pages of this book, by grounding the character and the story in a real place, and giving her real problems to go along with the supernatural ones, it was incredibly easy to fall into the world that had been created for the reader.

And of course, as there were fewer pages ahead than behind, I found myself regretting coming to the ending. I loved how the character grew over the course of the novel, as well as the way the story played out. The answers are there, planted from the beginning, but it’s just how you look at them, the perspective that is slowly unveiled that allows you to see how it fits together.

Bardgo has created a very cool vision of the supernatural and afterlife, and how it stays with us, affects us.

There are some truly horrific moments that play out in this book, and consequently in my mind, as this was one of those prized books that the words aren’t even seen as I read them anymore. They are translated to images that play out in the theater of my mind as an experience. And it was a great ride.

I realize that this book has only been out since October of 2019, and I am well aware that they take time to create, write, edit, all of that. But please, I need another one now!

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If you haven’t read this one, and like mystery, horror, or fantasy, check this one out.

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