Ninth House has been read! Well, it was read back in June…this review is quite late. Later than it usually is but that’s because I’ve been non-stop on classes ever since graduating high school in May. Anyways, I’m here to talk about what I remember from it!
📖 Dark academia
TL;DR: Alex Rush has always been able to see ghosts but when she gets pulled into the dark magical world of Yale’s secret societies, she’s forced to use her unique abilities to solve a murder. Age Rating: 15 and up. There are dark things in here.
By all accounts, Ninth House should have been a slam-dunk, home-run, touchdown-return-on-a-punt*. It follows a girl able to see ghosts, and gets accepted to Yale on the basis that she’d help Yale’s secret societies with their magical shenanigans. Unfortunately, said secret societies are doing some secret things that aren’t exactly sanctioned, and it’s up to Alex to uncover the mysteries. That is, if she isn’t killed first.
*bet i almost fooled you into thinking i know sports until that last one huh
this book was just not it.
Like, I read The Atlas Six! It’s dark academia with unlikeable characters (most of whom I also love), vague plots, and pretentious writing! Yet, it was somehow still more enjoyable than Ninth House. The book is separated into flashbacks from when Alex first arrived, and is teamed up with Darlington (I think his name is actually Daniel Arlington but HIS NAME IS DARLINGTON OKAY) to when she is alone on Yale’s campus trying to figure out things by herself.
I don’t know man, this was just a boring book. Alex can see ghosts! Horrible yet exciting things happen! There’s the occult, secret societies, demons, homework…all terrible yet interesting stuff*. However, Leigh Bardugo somehow wrote this book in a way that made it all seem basic and boring and normal. Alex never trusted or talked to anyone in the future which made for a bit of a boring book dialogue-wise. Darlington had some personality but I genuinely don’t know how much I care about him.
*okay maybe i lied on the last bit. but alex never actually does her homework so i don’t actually know if it’s interesting or not
A good example of how weirdly this book was written is that people posted a lot of trigger warnings for the graphic content in this book, because there is a lot of it! But whenever something horrifying happened, it just…didn’t hit. It felt like narration from an outside force. It’s not that it was gratuitous for no reason, it’s that the book was written in such an emotionally lacking way that nothing felt heavy or dark like it was supposed to.
So while I’m over here being emotionally disconnected from the writing, Alex is being intellectually disconnected from her brain. She takes 3 years to talk to someone, and then another 2.5 to trust someone, and then another 5 years to figure out the villain! She never does her homework and she never goes to class. I liked watching her interact with the ghosts until she kicked them out after talking to them for about 10 seconds. It’s so frustrating for the only interesting part of the book to be completely sidelined by the main character because she doesn’t trust anyone.
Anyways, the vibes were fun and it’s not like the plot or the writing was terrible. I just couldn’t care less about 90% of what was happening. The only thing that kept me going were the ghosts and possible chemistry between Alex and Darlington.
So that’s it! Will I read the sequel? I don’t know! I kind of just want to reread Six of Crows now! Anyways, you can order a copy, add it to Goodreads and add it to Storygraph! Tell me: how do you feel about this book?
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