I have officially joined the Leigh Bardugo’s bandwagon! Ninth House was freaking brilliant! #review


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.

The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.




6 freaking stars!

WARNING: long review ahead! Sorry guys I have much to say!

I get it now, the Leigh Bardugo bandwagon, the fandom and all!

When I read the Shadow and Bones series many years ago, my rating went from 4 stars to 3 stars by the end of it. Not a success…

I decided to take a chance on Ninth House because of the controversy about the book (there are triggers in this one like drug, violence, murder, rape …) and because I was thinking that “if everyone is so enthusiastic about that author, I must miss something so let’s try again”.


The beginning of Ninth House was … laborious.

I struggled with the concept of modern world and magic without magicians.

I am used to read books with magic either because you have faeries, either because you have supernatural beings (think Shadowhunters series), either because you have sorcerers born with abilities (think Harry Potter). Not because magic can be summoned simply by “everyone” who would be initiated and know the right words, be at the right place etc. So yes, I was lost and could not really understand the concept of the Houses.


I could not fall into it as I did not understand what I was reading! I had to read a page twice and still I did not get it. I feared this would be another failure.

It also did not help that you alternate between present and two past times with few clues in the beginning about what happened to Alex in each of these past times!


But by page 50 I began to understand that world and once I got my baring I literally could not stop anymore! I ended up reading late and doing nothing else while I knew I had to reply to comments, blog, bookstagram etc because I just wanted to stay in that story!


Why you should read that book in a few pointers:


  • Magic at YALE

First you are in a modern world at Yale prestigious campus where very rich and future leaders play at being kind of gods. You have special fraternities as you have eight Houses each owning a tomb (save one who lost its right to) that is akin to some temple I guess.

Every House specializes in a kind of magic from illusion to shapeshifting to ….

But of course, as in the past things went south and “ordinary” people got hurt you have a Ninth House, the Lethe who is kind of the headmaster, charged to make sure things are running smoothly, without too large incidents.

The trick is that the Lethe has authority upon the other houses but is also financed by the other houses.

Kind of like the State you give your taxes to.

“Lethe was responsible for keeping watch over the Houses of the Veil, but it also relied on them for funding. This was a re-up year and the societies had gone so long without an incident, there were rumblings that perhaps they shouldn’t di into their coffers to continue supporting Lethe at all.”

From that starting point you will have plenty of rituals in this book, many with gore and kind of horrific. I was really impressed by Leigh’s imagination creating this whole world of houses, akin to secret societies if you wish, imagining all these artifacts and ceremonies.


  • The high and mighty theme

Second the main theme here is kind of “the rich and powerful” can do everything they like even if it turns wrong, they’ll only have a slap to the wrist while the commoners will die or get maimed or be abused or …

Lethe must ascertain that justice is served but as in the real world, not everyone is a noble knight! Special mention here for Darlington, a true gentleman who believed in Lethe’s values and wanted to serve justice and fairness. I won’t talk about him in this review or I’ll need too many space but I am TEAM DARLINGTON all the way!

  • Galaxy (Alex) Stern and Darlington (xoxo) and all the side cast.

Third asset in this book: the characters! I love Holly Black for her morally grey characters well let’s say that Leigh Bardugo is a champion in that category too!

Our main female character, Alex Stern comes in all shades of grey. Because she’s had no luck in life and had to survive. When you learn to survive you quickly realize that good intentions and principles will only lead you so far when you are under extreme duress. Sometimes, you need to stop being the good guy and have to toughen up, just roughing people up a little if you want to get things done like solving a murder case!

Alex’s direct and unorthodox method where a huge contrast to the “hush hush” rules of the houses and the polite civility of Lethe house!

And that was gleeful to see “white trash” Alex trying to fit in the new mold because yes, she got a chance at a new life and wanted to walk the line until her true nature came back full force because when you are chased by ghosts, try to solve a murder case, lost your mentor to another dimension and witness girls being abused you resort to what you know works best: intimidation, roughness and barter in favors!

“You’re a flat beast. Got a little viper lurking in there, ready to strike. A rattler probably.”

The contrast between commoner Alex and her mentor, the polished handsome white knight Darlington was utterly delightful!


Alex has lived through trauma many times and they’ll be revealed throughout that story.

She is the least shiny and polished female lead that you could find as she was an addict, did everything that it usually entails to get her drug and dropped out of school long before finishing high school. She even robbed her beloved ones as she had to survive.

When she is given the opportunity to have a full ride at YALE she will seize it with both hands, frantically trying to swim and follow. She has no real manners. 

But even if she is shady, she has her heart in the right place.

And she refuses to stay silent and abandon a case when a poor girl has been murdered if het guts tell her there is something more.

That’s what I admire about her: her determination. Her loyalty to her friends and fierce protectiveness were also something to praise!

And of course, I loved the big reveal about Alex but I won’t spoil your fun!


You have mystery, murder, magic, action, betrayal, horror, morally grey and complex characters with a dash of gentleman mentor on top. And let’s not forget the building of a crew throughout the story.

What are you waiting for?

Oh and a cliffy of course and I really need the next book now!!!!!

Have you read this book or any Leigh Bardugo’s books?

Thanks for reading.


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24 Replies to “I have officially joined the Leigh Bardugo’s bandwagon! Ninth House was freaking brilliant! #review”

  1. emmareadstoomuch says: Reply

    YESSSS!!! this book was so??? fantastic??? not sure how i’m supposed to wait so long for the sequel when i already miss darlington. alex too, but darlington… <3 great review!

  2. oh gosh so glad this was brilliant!! Really looking forward to checking it out!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      And knowing you sometimes despise popular books I will cross my fingers LOL

  3. Yay, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed Bardugo’s latest. I can’t wait to read it!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Yes I’ve seen that you bought it with your birthday money Suzanne!

  4. Love this! I have Ninth House but haven’t read the next 2 books after Shadow and Bone….do I need to to understand this book?!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Not at all!!!! This is a completely different universe Caro so just go for it promise!

      1. Yay! Thank you!

  5. I fall into the ‘she’s OK camp’ as far as this author goes. Shadow and Bone was OK, but nothing groundbreaking. And if I remember right, the finale was a letdown for me. But when I saw the polarizing reviews for this, I thought ‘oh. There’s a Leigh Bardugo book I’ll probably love.’ LOL I can’t wait to get to this one.

    So glad you LOVED it so much! 🙂

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well it’s been like that with me Angie Elle! The other series everyone is gushing about was just meh for me but this story…this story!!!

  6. I can’t wait to get to this book! And if you haven’t read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, push them to the top of that TBR, Sophie.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Ok ok promise!!! 😉

  7. Bazinga! How can I not read this now. What a fabulous review, Sophie!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you so much Laura! And as you love horror or spooky stories I think it would be your jam 😉

  8. I’m so excited you enjoyed this! I’ve been hearing some mixed things about it which is why I’m a little nervous about starting it, but you’ve put some of those worries to rest. Thank you!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      oh Mogsy I hope you won’t be disappointed! As I said the Grishaverse was so so for me but this one worked brilliantly!

  9. It sounds like you fell hard for this book, and this author … but I don’t think that even with all the hype I’ll be reading this one anytime soon. Just not my thing, but glad you enjoyed it, in the end.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well Alexandra you might be surprised at what is your jam or not LOL

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply


  10. Em @ The Geeky Jock says: Reply

    It’s on my shelf!!!! 😀 So glad to hear you enjoyed it!!!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Happy reading EM!!!!

  11. You’re right, Sophie, the blogosphere is alight with posts and reviews about this book. I might have to wait for more books to be written through as I hate cliffhangers. 😉

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      hahaha I get you Flora!

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