Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Trigger Warning: Rape, Assault
Alex Stern is not the kind of student Yale generally welcomes…if welcomes is even the word. Rescued from a hospital bed, the former junkie is living a new life as one of the guardian enforcers of the secret societies. It’s a fresh start. A new life. But Alex is flailing and everything is going to hell. Literally.
I’ll be honest, this was absolutely not what I was expecting. I’ve read everything Bardugo has written that’s been published (minus any short stories) and was expecting something intricate, dark and entrancing with lush worldbuilding that would sweep me up and plop me into the setting.
This…wasn’t exactly that?
The worldbuilding is, well, it is. The descriptions of places feel like they needed another round of edits to include the people who’ve never been to Yale before, and the onslaught of thisishowitis whamwhamwham of information never stops to let you sit and have everything slowly sink in, which is mainly due to the very nonlinear storyline. Plus the middle gets sloggy and I just wanted to smack Alex over and over and over, along with anyone else who is like ooooooh this girl is dangerous. This girl is flying by the seat of her pants.
However, I started getting sucked into the storyline and wanting to know more of what was happening even as the twists and turns became even more twisty and turny. Even though the big reveal at the end was a double whammy of mustache twirling and the ending left more questions than answers.
So why the four stars if my review has been nothing but complaining (lol have you ever read one of my review before? All I do is complain)?
Because it’s entrancing. It’s dark. And I did feel for the characters.
Well. Not particularly Alex or any member of the societies.
But I did care for poor, naive Darlington and sweet, introverted Dawes. And big, dunderheaded North. And innocent, caring Mercy and Lauren.
Okay I did feel for Alex. She had a lot of shitty things happen to her and that’s 100% why she was the way she was (even if she’s 100% a disaster). And I completely understood her ever-present desire that this time, maybe this time, if I try harder, if I do this, if I hide myself, if I bury who I am and act like they expect, if I get my fresh start, that it’ll be better. That I can fit in. But disasters can never mingle with society. It just doesn’t work.
It never works for disasters.
That’s why they’re disasters.
Literally everyone else in the book can eat shit and die.