ninth house by leigh bardugo

Hello everyone! Long time no see. πŸ™‚

Just a quick little update on my life before we get into the bookish content. πŸ˜› First off, I have finished my junior year of undergrad! One year left, and then on to my PhD. Eek. In even more exciting news, I GOT MARRIED!! Just over a week ago, I officially chained myself to another (spoken figuratively). Very exciting stuff. We have an apartment that we’re gradually making into an actual living space, so that’s pretty cool. Also, a possible dog in the future??

Anyways. Enough about my life. What about the reading?? As per usual, college has sucked the will to read right out of my life. However, since school is out right now and my summer research job doesn’t start until next week, I’ve had some free time!

I know I’m pretty late to the game (ahem, 3 years late), but I finally got around to reading Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo! And OH. MY. GOSH. I absolutely adored it. I listened to the sixteen hour audiobook in two days (while knitting, of course) and I’m so obsessed.

It was something that I wanted to read back in its prime, but never actually got around to. Plus, you know, I hate when stuff is surrounded by too much hype. Well I was looking for an audiobook, and lo and behold it was available at my library.

Backstory aside, let’s talk about the actual book!

(p.s. In my olden years, I’m still trying to figure out how to work the updated WordPress. If anyone knows how to get the line across a post as a way to break things up, I would be ever so grateful. Thanks.)

Okay, so initial thoughts on the book itself. I LOVE how Leigh Bardugo paints Alex as a realistic person. Like, she has sweat stains that people notice, has to wear other people’s sweats that don’t fit because she was fighting a monster and is now covered in blood, the smell of sweat is every-present. Like guys, it was REALISTIC. And I much appreciate that.

I also really appreciated how Alex wasn’t one of those superstar models that we often get in young adult lit (not as much in new adult, which is what this book is). Alex is unattractive. It’s pointed out, but not in a way that’s a plot point. It’s just a fact. She has greasy hair, pallid skin, etc. I really liked it. It made Alex oh so much more human. REALISM FOR THE WIN. WHOOP.

As for the actual aesthetic of the book, that is where it really drew me in and didn’t let go. Even from just looking at the cover, you can tell that it’s gonna be a dark academia book. And it was. I knew that going in, but oh my goodness it was literally what my Frankenstein-obsessed heart needed. Recently, dark academia has been my favorite aesthetic, especially as I aim to be a chemistry professor at a cobblestoned university. I’ve been to indie coffee shops and walked by brick buildings all in an attempt to reach the dream that this book was. So, if you’re looking for dark academia in a modern world, you’ve found it.

As for the actual plot itself, it was very engaging. It was told from two separate perspectives, Alex and Darlington. Alex got a lot more page time, and we also got her narration from past and present. Darlington’s, however, was only from the past and that was very intentional. But I really love when books split the narration between “now” and “then.” It is one of my favorite ways to write, and it is also very reminiscent of VE Schwab’s Villains series.

It is a modern book, taking place at Yale. There are ghosts that live in the world and secret societies and demons. Alex is the only one who can see these ghosts without drugging herself up, and that makes her very heavily desired by the societies. Without going into much detail and spoilers, I loved this aspect. Her ability was very desired, but she was not. Her naiviety with the world of the dead got abused, but she also used the system.

Speaking of using, Alex is an ex-drug addict. This book is new adult, so there was some graphic stuff when depicting violence and Alex’s background. Lots of duragatories and strong cursing used. (My husband would walk into the room while I was reading it and was the perfect example of the emoji “😳”) Alex’s past, especially. There was one scene in particular from her “flashbacks” that sexually was graphic (not necessarily in the details, but the idea of it). So, just keep that in mind. But honestly, I thought that it was very fitting for the book. It fit with Alex’s life and the less-than-savory topic of societies and ghosts and murder.

My biggest annoyance with the book was all the names that were thrown around, both characters and societies. Part of this came from the fact that I was listening to an audiobook (which was read by two phenomenal readers — I highly recommend), but I swear there were moments where I had never heard a name before and then they were never mentioned again.

Anyways. Any other Ninth House or dark academia fans? I am DESPARATELY waiting for January when the sequel comes out!!! But what’s been going on? I’ve missed chatting with you all in my absence ❀

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