Book Review: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Ninth House

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 3/5 stars

Publisher: Gollancz

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.


I went into this book with such high expectations. I mean, it’s Leigh Bardugo, author of my babies Six of Crow and Crooked Kingdom. I know it’s horrible to compare both series but I can’t help it. I was so looking forward to meeting and getting attached to the characters of Ninth house, just like with Six of Crows. But after reading 100+ pages, I accepted that I was not going to get anything remotely close to Six of Crows. After reading 50 more pages, I decided that I needed to re-read the book with a fresh perspective. It was only fair that way. So I gave Ninth House another shot and read it again from the beginning.

Here are are my completely unbiased thoughts;

Upon reading the first chapter, this book pretty much thrusts you into an unconventional world with unconventional people doing unconventional things. It was all very disorienting, and I often found myself losing track of the plot’s direction. One thing I have to point out is that the pacing of the book does not quite ‘pick up’ as you read. Some chapters are exciting, some aren’t. You fly through 50 pages and then slow down for the next 20. It’s not bad, but like I said, it all felt very disorienting (and frankly, a little anticlimactic). However, it was still interesting to read about the unique magic system and explore the supernatural elements in the book. And of course the, writing was gripping in true Bardugo style. The author’s wit and broodiness in writing goes so well with the occult, gory themes in the book. But I do want to stress, again, that the story is a lot to digest, and definitely isn’t one that everyone will love.

The characters, on the other hand, were fun to read about. Though I didn’t have any emotional attachment to any of them (as I would if I found them relatable in any sense), it was interesting to explore the many layers of the main character. You also learn to understand the motives of each character and slowly untangle the spiderweb of mysteries and secrets.

Overall, it was definitely an interesting read. I’ve never read anything like it, and it was a very refreshing and unique take on the genre. I’m not completely hooked, but I have a feeling that the next few books will really get to me that ending was a tad bit brutal, Leigh! I just need a little more convincing, that’s all.

If you’re planning to read this book and you’ve read her Six of Crows duology, please keep an open mind when picking up Ninth House, because they are nothing alike. Generally though, I’d still recommend the book to everyone because.. well, it’s different, and different can be really good to lots of you 🙂 Also, it’s Queen Leigh Bardugo, and everyone needs to read something by her.

If you’ve read this book, please let me know your thoughts! Otherwise, thank you so much for reading my review. I also wanted to thank Hachette Australia for sending me a free copy of Ninth House in exchange for an honest review! ❤

If you’re interested in buying Ninth House, you can click here to shop the book at Book Depository. I receive a small commission if you use the link! 🙂


  1. Tsarah August

    My overall score for Ninth House would be 3,5⭐

    I agree that the first chapters just really throw you in the middle of the situation and it feels disorienting, but I also find it to be a tad slow for a Bardugo book. The ending has me shook!


  2. Macey @ Brine and Books

    I think I might have already mentioned to you in an instagram comment about my apprehensive anticipation to read this book! I’ve read reviews very similar to yours & while I’m feeling a bit daunted by what I’ve heard, I’d still like to read it because, like you said, different can be good. For some reason, your synopsis is giving me Great Expectations vibes which I haven’t gotten when reading other reviews :’)


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