Ninth House is a bit of a step away from my usual ‘romantasy’ fodder, and I think that’s probably why I let it slip by back when I was reading Leigh Bardugo’s other novels. When I saw that Hell Bent was being released, however, and saw some of those special editions starting to spring up I thought I would do the sensible thing and actually read, at least some of one of the books before ordering a whole set of special ones. So unlike me, I know.
I found it a little hard to get into the story at first, though the mystery surrounding everything was definitely compelling. I think it just required so much more brain power than I normally need and January isn’t a particularly ‘brainy’ time of year for me. I wondered for a little while if it was just a little too un-relatable for me, set at Yale which I have no knowledge about, and maybe it just a bit too academic for me too. But, it didn’t take me long to start to get into it more.
Bardugo has structured her narrative really cleverly to draw you in gradually. She reveals little droplets of information, jumping back and forth between two different periods of time during Alex’s first year at Yale, and first year working for Lethe. We learn about Lethe and their role keeping Yale's other secret societies in line, alongside Alex and her mentor Darlington. The different kinds of magic the societies use, is revealed at just the right pace to not be overwhelming, and woven into the mystery that Alex is unravelling so as to have relevance.
By the midpoint I was totally hooked. I don’t know how she did it but Bardugo has made me care about some of the characters more than she had any right too. There was a moment, and I’ll keep it spoiler free, that I almost walked away from it. I don’t trust Bardugo. Not after Crooked Kingdom. But I persevered and I’m hoping (I need to read Hell Bent to be sure) that it’ll all be ok this time.
I’ve already dived into Hell Bent, and can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. I would definitely recommend giving this duo a shot, especially if your a fan of dark academia or paranormal mystery stories.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️✨
Book 1 in an incomplete trilogy
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Dark Academia | Paranormal | Mystery | Horror | Ghosts | Magic | Secret Societies