Title: Ninth House
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: 8 October 2019
Source: Bought Copy
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.
Ninth House is a book that crept up on me. For the first third, it was just okay, then suddenly I was hooked. The book does start fairly slowly, and it didn't have the immediate impact of Shadow and Bone, but by the time I reached the midway point, I was invested in the world and characters and keen to turn each page, to learn what would happen next. I liked Alex as a character, but my favourites were actually some of the secondary figures, such as North and Darlington, so I do hope we'll get to see more from them in book two, which I will be eagerly awaiting. I particularly enjoyed the development of Alex's interactions with North. Indeed, the portrayal of her connection with the Greys in general worked really well, and the magical world building felt natural and nicely done. This may not have the initial punch of the Grishaverse books, but it is captivating storytelling once you get into it.