Ninth House

Ninth House

Book - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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.
Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, [2019]
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781250313072
Branch Call Number: FIC BARDUGO 2019
Characteristics: 458 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: 9th house


From Library Staff

Recruited to Yale’s House of Lethe to monitor the magical doings of the school’s powerful secret societies, Galaxy “Alex” Stern’s rare ability to see ghosts gives her unique insight into the seemingly random murder of a young student.

Fantasy - short list

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
flightofabluebird Jan 05, 2021

Definitely took some time to get into, but with all the twists and turns you just can't see the ending coming. Also set up perfectly for a second novel, so prepare for a cliffhanger.

Dec 14, 2020

couldn't get into it.

Nov 06, 2020

I enjoyed the novel, although the end is not as brilliant as the rest. It becomes too fantastical for my taste.

Sep 04, 2020

I loved this book and can't wait for another as I believe the author said there will be a sequel.

The first 100 pages were so hard to get through but I am happy I kept going. The story got really good and it was enjoyable

I was so, so ready to be head-over-heels in love with this one. Although now that I've reached the end, I've given it 4 stars, I definitely did not achieve those levels of obsession, and I'm...not sad, not mad...just...a little disappointed, I guess.

Alex Stern can see ghosts. Ever since she was little, she's had the power, and now, as a member of Lethe, the Ninth House at Yale responsible for overseeing the dangerous deeds of the other eight, her ability has opened the door to a new life for her. But that life is more tenuous than she wants to admit, and after a girl is murdered, Alex is thrust into the midst of a mystery with connections to Lethe's past - and to whatever will become of Alex's future.

The premise of this book is so wildly delightful. A dark, desperate villain MC who can see ghosts and who is willing to do anything to maintain her newfound status is basically crack to me - this is what I want in my novels. GIVE ME DARKNESS OR GIVE ME DEATH. But in practice, I had some issues with this one, which were exacerbated even more by the fact that it's written by Leigh Bardugo, my Goth WRITER QUEEN.

First of all, the pace is absolutely glacial at the start. There are so many details given about the houses, and because I didn't have context, I felt like I didn't absorb anything. Things were happening, sure, but trying to place them within this new world and care about them when I knew nothing about any of it was a real challenge. Leigh does tend to have that slow start, but this one felt excessively so, probably because of those details. I could so very easily put the book down and not think about it, and then I'd struggle to pick it back up after a break.

My main gripe with this one is that it's written like an adult novel. Which, I mean, that's exactly what it is; Leigh isn't writing this for her YA readers. I get it. I do. But I really wanted to see a maturation of her style that allowed those of us who live for her Grishaverse to easily sink our teeth into this one. And by the end, man oh man, I couldn't put the book down - but it's all those minute details, those intensely ponderous flashbacks to childhood, that make this feel like an adult book. By the end, as I said, I was into it. But in the beginning, I was so sad that I felt like I couldn't lose myself in this world like I could in her other novels.

Beyond those critiques, though, the story that Leigh has penned is masterful, full of twists and turns and revelations that I didn't see coming. I ended up really enjoying Alex as a character, and the side characters were just as well-rounded and interesting. Turner and Dawes make for an interesting pair, especially in combination with Alex and Darlington. The moral grey area that they all live in to varying degrees makes everything unpredictable and (usually) exciting. I just wish I didn't feel so distanced from all of it at the start, and then I might have liked it more.

May 09, 2020

I gave this book a solid 5/5 because I love a good mystery/paranormal story and this book checked all the boxes. I have already started calling all ghosts greys now and I am already looking forward to re-reading this book so I can make tabs of all the death sayings!

Galaxy Stern better known as Alex Stern is not your typical female heroine either. Most people seem to not like her or they shy away from her because she is strange, different. Seriously, this girl weirdly reminds me of me except for the drug use. She has tattoos all over her body and she see's the world in a different way than anyone else, not only just the living but the dead too. She is not a push over but not overly self righteous either.

Through a series of events she winds up at Yale as a sort of knight, protector of the innocent but really she is just trying to stay afloate with her classes and her duties to Lethe House. At Yale she meets Daniel Arlington better known as Darlington and this brings me to explaining why I loved how this book was written. It was a present day telling through the eyes of Alex and a past telling through the eyes of Darlington. The stroy brings you through a worl wind of emotions, through trauma and pain, joy and resiliance. It is so enjoyable to read and the suspense was exhilarating!

**Disclaimer: There are senstitive topics in this book so if you are someone who cannot read about sexual trauma please do not pick this book up. It is not for you.

I actually buddy read this book with a friend of mine who does not read very often and we both agreed that this book is extemely engaging and covers topics most want to leave alone. I took it slower than I normally would have because I was buddy reading it and we discussed once a week about a certain group of chapters but it was hard to slow myself down.

The only negative (so minor) comment I have it at the beginning of the book, I felt it was 8 chapters of info dumping that was kind of dull. BUT after reading it I understand the need to get certain things about the world out there. It was just a lot to take in all at once and I know I forgot a lot of it while I went deeper into the story. In stating this little nugget, I still think the book is fabulous! I just want everyone to give it to chapter 9 at LEAST, because then, it will knock your socks off!

Greene_CaitlinW May 01, 2020

Someone has to babysit the secret and sinister societies at Yale and it might as well be Galaxy, a young woman in serious need of a second chance.

Apr 09, 2020

I rated this 4 stars. I cannot add much to the good reviews. This was my first Bardugo, and maybe I will read some of her YA. I enjoyed the fact that it was a murder mystery. It's not YA and as some of the goodreads reviewers have noted it has possible triggers for rape, drugs. Alex, the hero, is not the most likable, but that is what made the story interesting for me. She's pretty broken to begin with, in part because of her innate magical gift (or curse). I've skimmed through the bad reviews (or <3 stars) and can see how some preconceptions might hamper the initial read. However, I found the fact that the setting was at Yale interesting despite not being sure if I liked Alex or not.

The book is marked #1 in the Alex Stern series, and that was my only disappointment was that even though the book nicely tied up most of the loose threads, we were left with one big one. Of course there is plenty of room to build backstory into Alex in the sequels.

ArapahoeTiegan Mar 10, 2020

I am a huge fan of Leigh Bardugo, and I was really excited to see her moving a bit into adult fiction. I appreciated the world building of these secret societies at a University - which is usually a well-known non-secret in society. However, these secret societies have a twist - they deal with a little bit of magic. I loved the Dante's Inferno reference between Dante and Virgil being a part of a group that monitors the activities of the secret societies so they don't get out of hand. I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the story, but am hopeful for a bit more from book 2, now that the stage has been set.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 02, 2020

"The house seemed to be humming, buzzing its anxiety. A stranger is here. A killer is here. The lights crackled and flared, the static from the stereo rising.

'Calm down,' Alex told the house as she pounded down the hallway, back to the stairs. 'You're too old for this s%&#.'"

PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 02, 2020

"'But tonight Manuscript will siphon off all the desire and abandon of the holiday to power their rites for the rest of the year.'
'Partying is that powerful?'
'Anderson Cooper is actually five foot four inches tall, weighs two bills, and talks with a knee-deep Long Island accent.'"

PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 02, 2020

"He didn't know how precious a normal life could be, how easy it was to drift away from average. You started sleeping until noon, skipped one class, one day of school, lost one job, then another, forgot the way that normal people did things. You lost the language of ordinary life. And then, without meaning to, you crossed into a country from which you couldn't return. You lived in a state where the ground always seemed to be slipping from beneath your feet, with no way back to someplace solid."


Add Age Suitability
Dec 18, 2019

krishnahemminger thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SPL

To Top