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All booksFantasyNinth House
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House

by Leigh Bardugo

Quick take

A secret Yale society is into some spooky stuff. Like off-record surgical prophecies and real, live (dead?) ghosts.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_GraphicViolence

    Graphic violence

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SexualContent

    Sexual Content

Why I love it

Melissa Albert
Author, The Hazel Wood

I adore Leigh Bardugo’s YA books—the shippable characters (I’m a Kanej ride or die), the deeply lived-in worlds, the breakneck audacity of her plotting. All of that can be found in her adult debut, but Ninth House ticks with a different kind of heartbeat. It’s a tale of threadbare survival, a pick-up-the-jagged-pieces story that kicks off long after its hard-baked heroine’s life has already fallen apart.

Since she was a kid Alex Stern has been able to see ghosts, an awful ability that’s precluded her attempts to lead a normal life. She drifts early into a world of dangerous men, her life on the skids until she makes a devil’s deal: in exchange for a free ride to Yale, she’ll use her ghostly ability to work for Lethe House. Lethe was formed to serve as supernatural sheriff to the university’s eight secret societies—practitioners of arcane magic. But after the murder of a local girl and the possibly related disappearance of her closest Lethe colleague, Alex learns how far the societies will go to avoid policing.

In these pages Alex embarks on the journey all of us have longed for: she steps nimbly through the looking-glass, into a world of untold wonders. But the enchantments she finds have claws and teeth and puppet strings, manipulated by some very wicked hands. The sandbox Bardugo has built for herself—one of looming tombs and papery autumn skies, haunted by the searchlight eyes of the dead—feels limitless. I want to watch her build (and raze) castles in it for a hundred more books.

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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. By age twenty, in fact, 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 elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

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Get an early look from the first pages of Ninth House.

Member thoughts

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All (11357)
Love (6608)
Like (3650)
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11726 ratings
  • 56% Love
  • 31% Like
  • 9% Dislike
  • Shelton, CT

    I’m happy I’m familiar with Yale campus because it made the book that much more interesting. It’s a little drawn out but that’s needed for the complexity of what’s going on. I’d love to see a sequel

  • Norton Shores, MI

    This was a different read then what I usually pick up. I love how the story in itself was totally different then what has been written. My first leigh Bardugo book and I understand it's different but loved

  • Columbus, OH

    Dark, twisty, lots of characters and societies-this book kept me turning pages faster than I imagined. So interested to see where Alex ends up in the next book and can’t wait for more Darlington! ❤️

  • Charleston, SC

    Ninth House was SO good!! I could not put it down and can’t wait for the next installment in this series from Bardugo. It’s got suspense, history, secret societies, complicated relationship, and more!

  • Mattawan, MI

    Incredible blend of magic and mystery, the real world and “the Veil”. Spoke to larger themes happening in the world today, particularly around women’s voices, class, and privilege. Need sequel asap!

  • Berwyn, PA

    Reas this book super fast because I just couldn’t put it down, now I’ve lent it to a friend who I hope likes it just as much as I did! And the way it ended left it open for a sequel, hope it happens!

  • Grantham, NH

    Wow I loved this book. Started a little slow but I think it was necessary to build the story. It is definitely dark and won’t be for everyone but I loved the ending and can’t wait for the next book!

  • Los Angeles, CA

    It’s like a grungy Harry Potter, if they were in college at Yale, and the lead is Hermione (if she used to be addicted to drugs and can see ghosts). I absolutely loved it; can’t wait for the sequel!!

  • Wichita, KS

    I loved how this story unwound and drew me deeper into it’s world with each page. Alex is wonderful and flawed. The atmosphere is just the right mix of spooky and academic. Man. I hope there’s more.

  • Princeton, TX

    Complex— beginning was confusing but as the plot progresses, things make sense. The reader learns along with Alex, and it ends on such a cliffhanger, I STILL am waiting to find out what happens next.

  • Sicklerville, NJ

    I am just starting to pick back up reading. The beginning was a bit slow, but once the characters develope you’ll be crying and laughing along! I was hooked and devoured this.. ready for the sequel!!!

  • Baltimore, MD

    The story was very complicated. It’s quite an intense book. It was fascinating how the author wrote about secret societies and how they operate on college campuses. It made me wanna go back to College

  • Salem , OR

    Loved it! Couldn’t put it down. Loved the dark occult content mixed with factual Yale societies. The murder mystery was full of great twists and turns. Also touched on class and gender issues at Yale.

  • Saint Louis , MO

    A deep dive into the mysterious world of secret societies within the campus of Yale University. Following a new inductee’s struggle to fine her footing and maintain the balance among the societies.

  • Sacramento, CA

    A story that doesn’t hold back. You get dropped into this magical world without much explanation and learn about how it works through a series of flashbacks. Alex is a fantastic main character as well

  • Kansas City, MO

    This book had me hooked from the beginning! The world was so vivid and the stakes high. No one was who you thought they were. The ending was a bit of a cliff hanger, so I’m hoping that means a second

  • New York, NY

    Totally obsessed with Leigh Bardugo. I fly through her books like reading 400 pgs in two days is NBD. Whether it’s the Grishaverse or in this case, Yale, she does not disappoint. Looking fwd to more!

  • Duarte, CA

    From start to finish, Leigh Bardugo doesn’t disappoint. The character is flawed and amazingly badass, and her story continues...I hope in the next book. I highly recommend it if you love Grishaverse!

  • Round Rock, TX

    I chose this book with trepidation as it was long and not my usual genre but wow, I loved it!! I am so excited that there is going to be a sequel in 2021. Until then, I’m unsure about trying her YA.

  • Charlotte, NC

    This book was everything I didnt know I needed! Mystery, ghosts, a murder, and secret societies at Yale... What more could a book need? Also didn’t expect this to be a series- excited for whats next!

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