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Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

Hell Bent

Repeat author

Leigh Bardugo is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include Ninth House and Six of Crows.

by Leigh Bardugo

Quick take

In this epic follow-up to Ninth House, Alex Stern thinks one can just casually go to hell and bring friends back . . .

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_2ndSeries

    Second in series

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Academic


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unsettling



Find a gateway to the underworld. Steal a soul out of hell. A simple plan, except people who make this particular journey rarely come back. But Galaxy “Alex” Stern is determined to break Darlington out of purgatory―even if it costs her a future at Lethe and at Yale.

Forbidden from attempting a rescue, Alex and Dawes can’t call on the Ninth House for help, so they assemble a team of dubious allies to save the gentleman of Lethe. Together, they will have to navigate a maze of arcane texts and bizarre artifacts to uncover the societies’ most closely guarded secrets, and break every rule doing it. But when faculty members begin to die off, Alex knows these aren’t just accidents. Something deadly is at work in New Haven, and if she is going to survive, she’ll have to reckon with the monsters of her past and a darkness built into the university’s very walls.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Hell Bent.

Why I love it

I always head into the new year with a taste for something bracing—a gin gimlet over hot buttered rum, a swim in a cold pool over a lounge in a fuzzy blanket. In other words, an antidote to all things merry and bright. Enter Hell Bent: decidedly unmerry, dark as a devil’s deal, and exactly what I want to sink into this January.

When we last saw Leigh Bardugo’s hard-as-coffin-nails antiheroine Alex Stern, in supernatural barn burner Ninth House, she was reeling from the loss of mentor Darlington, recently banished to literal Hell. In this impeccably titled sequel, Alex is determined to drag him out. She’s entering her second year at Yale, where she’s enrolled at the leisure of Lethe House, oversight body of Yale’s magic-wielding secret societies. Recruited for her ability to see ghosts, Alex is charged with managing the societies’ rituals and navigating their bureaucrats—all while keeping her hunt for a Hell door under wraps. Meanwhile, the wolves of her past keep calling, most pressingly a dangerous drug lord who sees her as a weapon to exploit.

Hell Bent is a taut, complexly plotted headrush, stocked full of complicated monsters, entitled academics, and grifters big-time and small. Its world is an intoxicating mashup of pitch-dark academia and the kind of urban fantasy that has blood under all twenty of its nails. In Alex Stern, Bardugo has created a heroine you’ll trust to have your back on a journey into Hell—and the kind of survivor you can count on to lead you out again.

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Member ratings (11,159)

  • Laura K.

    Austin, TX

    LOVED this. I couldn’t stop reading Ninth House, but I don’t know if I’d say I enjoyed it. This one, hopping back into this world instead of learning it + evolution of the characters, was thrilling.

  • Harlee K.

    Springfield, MO

    I absolutely couldn’t wait for Hell Bent to come out and it did not disappoint. I finally got to find out where Darlington went! The ending was so amazing and I can’t wait to see how the story evolves

  • Kelsey M.

    Beach Haven, NJ

    I loved the first book and have been waiting for YEARS (sorry, Leigh) for this one. The author did not disappoint and I ran through this book. There’s violence and drug use, but it’s great nonetheless

  • Sara C.

    Brooklyn , NY

    Waited so long for part 2 and it did not disappoint. I have been looking for an adult version of Harry Potter and this series fulfills that need. It’s so fun and original. Can’t wait for the next one.

  • Kayla A.

    Greenville, NC

     I’m obsessed with this series! Cliffhanger after cliffhanger, and I am still hooked! I cannot wait to read the next based on the ending of this one. Such well thought out characters and storyline.