Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review)

Publisher: Gollancz
Page Count
: 458

**CW: rape, sexual assault, abuse, self-harm, murder, violence, vomiting, gore**

I like Leigh Bardugo as an author. I have not, in fact, read everything she has written, but just like about every human on earth, I have really enjoyed the Six of Crows duology and could easily have seen her become one of my household favourite authors. When it was announced that she had written her first adult book in a sort of dark academia setting, I was fully on board. And it’s not that this book didn’t deliver on what it advertised, it just turned out that I wasn’t really the right reader for it.

First of all, you get thrown into a world you understand very little of. Bardugo is great at creating a whole universe with magic, and rules that apply to it, that feels real and accessible, but I was just lost. I’ve never been to the Yale campus and even with a map, there were so many details I had a hard time connecting with. Aside from Gilmore Girl’s Rory, I really have no connection to it if I think about it some more. But then there are also the actual magical societies. I thought we would gradually get eased into the matter, but instead you start into the midst of it all, and believe me when I say it is a mess.

Aside from the confusing societies, it takes a while to get to know the characters and therefore really get into the story. To me, connecting with the people on the page and their journey is so important, but there were so many blanks that eventually got filled in, but it took me a good 100 pages to really get into it.
Alex Stern, the main character of the series and who’s real name is actually Galaxy, is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Her past is hard to swallow and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I understand her anger and her way of keeping people at bay, but at the same time, I felt like I was kept at bay sometimes. That’s maybe why I found golden boy Darlington (who I need back desperately and who will be the main reason I will pick up the sequel) and quiet but caring Dawes more accessible. Also, Turner was a big upside of the book for me, because he felt like the lawful good person the story needed. But I enjoyed the dynamic among all characters and the way we still got to explore how some of these relationships were formed. Where a lot of things felt like pre-established fixtures, at least this was something that felt like it was still in the making.

β€œI let you die. To save myself, I let you die. That is the danger in keeping company with survivors.”

So, there were some aspects I really enjoyed (especially the emancipation and handling of different female characters) and others I did not understand or connect to as much as I had hoped. The fact that a lot of it was presented in the shape of a paranormal crime story maybe didn’t help me personally. I understood that murder and mayhem would be involved in Ninth House, but I wasn’t quite expecting it to be so much like a detective story. Those of you who know me, know that I get a little bored with the investigation-type plots. However, I can see how a lot of readers would be the opposite of me and enjoy those the most!

In conclusion, I would say that this book is A LOT. There is blood and gore and death around every corner. I understand if it is too much to stomach for some people, especially those who are more used to YA content. If you aren’t sure, I would just take a look at what different people who’s opinion you trust are saying about it and then make up your own mind. Or go in completely blind!

“Take courage; no one is immortal”

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! Maybe this just wasn’t for me as much as other readers, but I would still continue with the series!

Have you read Ninth House? Have you read other books by Leigh Bardugo? What do you think about her first take on adult fiction?

12 thoughts on “Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review)

  1. Hi Kat!
    Great review! I really love how you described your feelings about the story, the world and the characters. I’ve been reading mixed reviews about this book, so I wasn’t too enthusiastic about reading it myself, however I still think I should give it a try one day. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is definitely a book I have to be in the right mood for and one I need to persevere with. It sucks that it took so long to form any sort of connection with the characters, but I’m glad that some of the other characters made an impact. Love the review. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved reading your review. I read this book and rated it 4.25 (weirdly specific I know). It definitely had a bigger detective and mystery feel that I was anticipating as well!! But like you, I thought Turner was a great character for this series!!
    I loved Darlington and Dawes as well and I definitely NEED to see more from them in the next book!!
    I enjoyed reading your thoughts and I agree with many of the comments you said as it took me a little while to get into the book as well but I did really enjoy it overall. Great review!! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Sophie! That really IS a specific rating for the book, but I am sure you had your reasons haha
      I am most of all glad you understood where I was coming from with my comments. I wasn’t sure I could really bring it across, because i like Leigh as an author, but this just wasn’t my favourite book compared to others written by her. So, I wanted to explain myself, but also make it clear that it had very ME reasons πŸ˜€ I am rambling on again, so I’ll finish this with another “thank you for your comment!”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have heard good and bad things but mostly people seem to be disappointed. I still plan to read it though, I have it so it means I need to get to it. I’m excited for the show though, based on her trilogy, Shadow and Bone, even tho I’ve just read the first book of said trilogy. I did love Six of Crows duology though so I mean, she seems to be a hit and miss for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved Six of Crows and her Language of Thorns anthology. I never read the Shadow and Bone Trilogy or the new books (King of Scars or whatever?), but I am pumped for the Netflix show. The cast is really great!
      I wouldn’t say I was disappointed exactly with Ninth House, it just isn’t my genre, because I really don’t enjoy crime all that much (supernatural or otherwise).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.