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Ninth House (Alex Stern Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 476 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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|Book 1 of 1 in Alex Stern|
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"Ninth House is the best fantasy novel I’ve read in years, because it’s about real people. Bardugo’s imaginative reach is brilliant, and this story―full of shocks and twists―is impossible to put down." - Stephen King
"Ninth House is one of the best fantasy novels I’ve read in years. This book is brilliant, funny, raw and utterly magnificent ― it's a portal to a world you’ll never want to leave." - Lev Grossman, New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians
"Ninth House is the best thing I’ve read in a long time. There’s so much magic here that you'll begin to feel it seeping into the room around you as you read, and characters so real you ’ll practically hear their voices in your ear. Leigh Bardugo has written a book so delicious, so twisty, and so immersive I wouldn’t blame you for taking the day off to finish it." - Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners and Get in Trouble.
"Leigh Bardugo's Ninth House rocked my world. I could not get enough of sinewy, ghost-haunted Alex Stern, a heroine for the ages. With a bruised heart and bleeding knuckles, she risks death and damnation ― again and again ― for the people she cares about. I was cheering her on the whole way: from the first brilliant sentence of this book to the last. More, please, Ms. Bardugo." - Joe Hill, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2
"In this mesmerizing novel, Leigh Bardugo introduces us to Alex, a high-school dropout who gets a free ride to Yale because of a unique talent. Bardugo's New Haven is plausible and frightening, and I was one rapt reader." - Charlaine Harris, bestselling author of the True Blood series
"With an aura of both enchantment and authenticity, Bardugo's compulsively readable novel leaves a portal ajar for equally dazzling sequels." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
About the Author
- Publication Date : October 8, 2019
- File Size : 20602 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 476 pages
- Publisher : Flatiron Books (October 8, 2019)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B07LF64DZ2
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,729 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This idea she had was great, I just wish someone had told Bardugo to take another year and start editing as much as possible OUT of it. All in all, disappointed and do not recommend. Pick up any of her other books, especially the six of crows duo logy
I was confused and bored for a good bit of the first six chapters. I went on reading, thinking things would get better, but they never really did. I didn't feel anything for the characters. I didn't feel like the story was going anywhere interesting. It was so disappointing, because this was one of my most anticipated books of the year. Maybe my expectations were too high? Maybe I'm just not in the right mood for this kind of story? I don't know. What I do know is that it took me four days to read this and I never wanted to pick it up. I had to force myself.
I don't think it helps matters that the start of the book - with the info dumps and the flashbacks - felt (for me!) shaky and all over the place. I'm never confused when reading, but I found myself often pausing to go back and recheck somethings. The novel as a whole felt overly long and like a lot of setup for things to come. It didn't need to be nearly 500 pages - 300 pages would have worked just fine. I didn't care about these characters - the felt flat or like copies of people from other Bardugo works. At times, it also felt like it was being "dark" and "gritty" just to be "dark" and "gritty" or because Bardugo wanted this to be an adult novel.
I understand that I'm in the minority here and that people are loving this novel, and I'm so happy that people are enjoying it as much as they are. I'm just disappointed that I didn't enjoy this novel. I may come back to it someday, I may not. I do know that I will go on reading novels set in the Grishaverse. So, at least I'll always have that.
Top reviews from other countries
In my opinion, this book was way over-hyped and definitely not fantasy! Paranormal maybe, but not fantasy. Also read more like YA than adult.
The story uses the Colleges Secret society’s as a backdrop for intrigue with the ancient eight as there are known each specialising in a magical discipline since these are still frats and sororities filled with lots of irresponsible rich kids oversight is needed with the ninth house Lethe being responsible for upholding and investigating breaches of the rules. The enforcers of lethe are known as Dante (junior) and Virgil ( senior) with the Dante then becoming Virgil when the Virgil graduates.
The Current Dante is Alex Stern a former drug addict and survivor of abuse that was given a second chance by Lethe after being the sole survivor of a horrific crime due to her life long ability to see Gray’s or spirits and Darlington is the Virgil a serious and studious young man who is more then what he seems.
The star of the show is the world building Bardugo does a wonderful job of introducing magic into semi familiar surroundings so for the example the bones men perform divination ceremonies involving animals and people in order to predict the stock market, Manuscript specialise in glamour and illusion and seduction and have Hollywood cornered and the societies by and large are what they are in real life a haven for the rich and privileged a chance to network a life long special club they aren’t criminal organisations or the illuminati and a lot of the worst damage they do Is due to entitlement rather then actual malice, in between the mysteries and magical goings on the author has a lot to say about the Classism and sexism that is is inherent in the Greek system especially one in a environment where entitlement and privilege are taken for granted and that’s even before Magic is added into the mix.
The story is told between two different timelines and revolves around 3 basic mysteries a disappearance, a murder and Alex’s past the story is anchored by the characters relationships with Darlington and Alex being the real highlight I liked Alex’s room mates and some of the side characters such as Dawes but it was I felt late in the story before they became more then cardboard cut outs, the one weakness of the story why it wasn’t a five star is a common complaint it’s hard to do a good mystery alongside a fantasy where magic is a viable tool simply because the reader doesn’t know the rules or what’s possible it makes it very hard to get that ha, ha ! Moment. However there’s enough going on and the writing is of a high enough calibre that you would get over that.
I highly recommend the ninth house for those new to the author and those already familiar be warned this is an adult novel that covers some pretty tough subjects such as drug addiction, sexual assault and consent in a surprisingly harrowing way at times Alex has had a horrific teenage years and while nothing too graphic was described there was enough said and more implied that some readers might find disturbing while I called this a urban fantasy crossed with mystery you could make a strong argument that it could be called a horror mystery.
However all topics were treated with respect the writing was superlative, the world building was engrossing the characters, at least the main ones , were 3 dimensional and sympathetic if flawed, this was a superior first book I look forward to the second one.
Leigh Bardugo’s debut adult novel, Ninth House, is beyond anything I expected. It’s a magical and intellectual tour de force; a powerhouse of plot and prose, suspense and suspicion, murder, magic, and madness. I came to it thinking it was a standalone, but it’s actually the first in a series, and I’m so relieved at that because I am hungry for more. I believe the sequel is slated for 2021, and honestly that can’t get here soon enough.
2019 will, for me, be the year of amazing books. I’ve read some fantastic novels this year, and I thought I had my Book of the Year already picked out. Now, I’m not so sure. Ninth House is mind-blowing and I’m still wrapping my head around it.
I first came to Leigh Bardugo through her YA series, the GrishaVerse, in which she’s written multiple novels and short stories. Ninth House is her first adult novel, and her writing here is an immense cut above her YA fare, honestly. It’s bold and brutal and striking, yet lyrical and magical. She’s really stretching her writing chops with this book, and it shows: her imagination and ability to plot and characterise is amazing.
Ninth House follows Galaxy (Alex) Stern, a former drug user and high school dropout, in her freshman year at Yale. How did she get into Yale? Through the sponsorship of a mysterious society called Lethe — the titular Ninth Nouse — which is tasked with monitoring the magical workings of Yale’s secret societies and their members. Alex is recruited from her hospital bed, the sole survivor of a gruesome multiple murder scene, by Dean Sandow, who offers her a chance at a different life. Different, of course, can mean many things…
One night, a murder on campus gets Alex’s attention. The victim isn’t a student from Yale, but her horrific demise isn’t something Alex can ignore. Her instincts say there’s more to the case than what the cops claim — an abusive boyfriend gone too far — but finding the evidence isn’t as smooth or easy as it initially appears. Woven into this storyline is the mysterious disappearance of Alex’s Lethe House mentor, Darlington, some months before; a disappearance that has sent shockwaves through the House and its surviving members, including Alex who is very much left thinking on her feet when it comes to dealing with the various societies’ extra-curricular activities.
The societies are powered by tombs, which are nexus of occult power built up over the years of students dealing in magic and the occult. These are the high-powered and elite, both past and future: Wall Street bankers, Hollywood stars, politicians, and other members of high society are students or alumni, and many of these still fund their societies, both financially and otherwise. The occult magic that is wielded by these societies can do more than change GPAs or ensure exam success; some are prognostications which provide glimpses of the future, some change a person’s appearance, whilst others guarantee social standings and wealth. This is the place power is born, cultivated, and unleashed upon the world.
Such magics are dangerous though, and can have drastic consequences, including blackouts and unexplained deaths. They all come at a cost — something which Alex is just discovering.
Alex, of course, has her own history — what brought her to drugs in the first place, her family life, her friendships, and why she alone survived a murder spree. Most of all, why would she, of anyone, be of value to Lethe? For Alex harbours both a secret and a dangerous gift — which will help to identify the victim, the conspiracies, and the magics underpinning what looks like a love crime gone bad.
Ninth House is complex and absorbing, and reading it is like drinking incredibly fine, incredibly potent, incredibly dark, alcohol. The story and prose are intoxicating. The setting is so vivid that I actually felt like I was attending Yale. There is a map in the hardback edition which was helpful at times, but on the whole I could sense the buildings and locations, observe the brickwork and streets.
Alex is an extremely complex character; deeply flawed yet noble, wiry yet strong. She goes through a lot in this book, physically and mentally, and in terms of character growth. The other characters — Darlington, Dawes, the Bridegroom, Mercy, Lauren, and others — are all well-drawn and really do get under your skin, for good and bad reasons (Blake, I’mma looking at you). They’re well-balanced, with positive and negative traits, and you can discern so much about their various personas by way of a throwaway line or comment, or one of Alex’s shrewd observations. I particularly liked Darlington and his wit.
It took me a moment to realise that, within each society, members have codenames to cover their identities. For instance, Alex is Dante. Darlington is Virgil, and so on. I liked how these were themed according to the leanings of each house — Wolf’s Head being a particular favourite — but it took me a while to put each codename to each character, where I had both available to me. Not all of them were disclosed, which I also appreciated — secrets are secrets, after all.
The pace never lets up in this novel, and it feels like a rush of blood to the head. There’s always something happening, or a sinister sense of something about to happen. The story alternates between the present events revolving around the murder and two past timelines — one of Alex’s former life, and one centred around Darlington and what happens (or doesn’t, depending on how you view it). This changing between timelines is handled beautifully and doesn’t ever feel disjointed or problematic; in fact, it’s so absorbing that, by the time the novel returns to the events of the prologue, it took me a moment to pick that back up, and that’s good.
If you have a background in witchery or the occult, there’s lots of symbolism throughout the novel — specific herbs, plants, rituals, which will cause you to sit up and take notice. If you don’t have such a background, that’s okay, because knowing about these elements won’t detract from the story at all. They’re just an added layer for anyone who does have such a background. Regardless, if you like fantasy, crime, the supernatural, and/or just love a damn good story, this is it. Ninth House is brilliant and will leave you thinking about it for days afterwards. It’s also perfect for Halloween…
I bought Ninth House and didn’t receive an advanced copy from the publisher. All thoughts and comments are my own and in no way reflect the opinion of the publisher or author. I received no reimbursement (financial or otherwise) for this review.
‘The Nineth House' follows a young Galaxy (Alex) Stern through her first year at Yale. She's been plucked from a dismal life with no prospects, and given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study at a prestigious university AND be part of a secret magic society (I mean, who wouldn't do that?).
The narrative is set in a few different timelines, and from two perspectives (Alex and Darlington). I particularly enjoyed this because I really thought Darlington was a bit of an arse to start with, but as I read his backstory I really connected with him.
Alex won me over pretty quickly, and her rash, crude personality really shone through!
What I particularly love about this book is the fact that you can really immerse yourself in the magic. However, the darkest part of this story has nothing to do with magic and secret societies; it's the harsh realities that some women are faced with.
This is definitely a book to savour and not devour!
It's a 5/5 for me!
"Mors irrumat omnia."
She feels very real because this is a real situation for many young women, so it helps ground the magical elements of the story. The plot keeps you hooked right to the end. But I did think the reveal of the true villain (no spoilers) was too hurried and too near the end. Though interesting. It certainly wasn't what you were expecting. So all in all, I'll be reading the next one and in the mean time have bought her previous book Six of Crows :-)