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Summary

The instant Sunday Times and New York Times best seller, and Goodreads Choice Award winner, that Stephen King calls 'Impossible to put down'. 

Leigh Bardugo's Sunday Times and New York Times best-selling adult debut is a mesmerising tale of power, privilege and dark magic set among the Ivy League elite.

Galaxy 'Alex' Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale's freshman class. A dropout and the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved crime, Alex was hoping for a fresh start. But a free ride to one of the world's most prestigious universities was bound to come with a catch.

Alex has been tasked with monitoring the mysterious activities of Yale's secret societies - well-known haunts of the rich and powerful. Now there's a dead girl on campus and Alex seems to be the only person who won't accept the neat answer the police and campus administration have come up with for her murder.

Because Alex knows the secret societies are far more sinister and extraordinary than anyone ever imagined. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And sometimes they prey on the living....

©2019 Leigh Bardugo (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

Critic reviews

"One of the best fantasy novels I've read in years." (Lev Grossman, best-selling author)  

"[A] mesmerising novel." (Charlaine Harris, best-selling author)

"Ninth House rocked my world." (Joe Hill, best-selling author)

What listeners say about Ninth House

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    4 out of 5 stars

I wish there had been a warning

i loved this book once i got into it, but the graphic rape scene should have had some warning, it was important to the story I understand, but i think maybe a warning could have prepared me better, otherwise I reccomend it but you have to be able to stomach that kind of thing. The character Alex was very well developed.

24 people found this helpful

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Depressing

I found myself feeling completely miserable while listening to this audio book. I couldn't bring myself to finish it.

9 people found this helpful

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  • NL
  • 17-11-19

Leigh Bardugo is a queen 👑

I loved it so much! Very dark in a real life way but amazing ❤️

7 people found this helpful

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Yale, students, magic, ghosts, meh...

Like many other reviewers, I found this book to be rather 'young adult'. I've read so many fantasies set in magic schools that I'm sick to death of it, and magical college isn't much better. I found the characters irritating and somehow the character of Alex just didn't seem worldly-wise enough to have had the past that's ascribed to her. Also, there are few things more irritatingly American than American college students, in nearly all literature they seem so naive and childish compared to European students. However, it wasn't so bad that I returned it - I listened to the whole book. I had previously listened to Shadow and Bone, which is one of Leigh Bardugo's young readers' titles, and I didn't enjoy that much either, so I suppose I just don't like her style.

6 people found this helpful

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Amazing, new adult supernatural mystery!

I could easily put this as my favourite book this year and most definitely put it in my top ten books of all time.

I'll definitely be looking for more by the narrator as well as writer.

5 people found this helpful

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amazing!

Absolutely loved the world that Leigh Bardugo has created, I can't wait to be back with Alex!
Fabulous narration from both narrators too which really added to the experience.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jo
  • 10-01-20

Glad I stuck with it.

This is not great literature. You can tell this is the authors first adult fiction book. It very much comes across as a young adult fiction written with adult themes. I nearly gave up on it and it took a good few hours before I got into it. In places the story is slow and the characters are a bit cringe but overall I enjoyed it. I would listen to a sequel.

3 people found this helpful

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A Challenge

The premise of the story is interesting, but unfortunately this book is written in such a way that it gets bogged down in unnecessary narrative and exposition to the detriment of the overall story. The pacing is really badly affected by the relentless tangents of narrative and often you get through a chapter and you've forgotten what's happening in the 'here and now' of the story.
There are a lot of info dumps that weirdly don't explain much about the different societies; it's quite pretentious and explained almost conversationally, like the author presumes you already know this information. Furthermore, the characters aren't very likeable. By Bardugo's own admission Alex is an anti-hero, but there is little that inspires you to root for her. Similarly with Darlington - he's not present for most of the book and when he is he's a smug and entitled rich boy, and not much more.
I'm going to try to persevere with this as I don't like giving up on books, but it's going to be a challenge!

*TRIGGER WARNING*
I feel the child rape was unnecessary to the story. I'm loathe to criticise Bardugo for gratuity because male authors do the same and it feels hypocritical to single her out for it. However, it does feel like it's there for shock value rather than anything else. If Bardugo needed to show that the Greys can physically touch Alex she could have gone for an infinite number of scenarios, none of which involved child rape.

2 people found this helpful

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Completely absorbing book

Loved the story. It's a really clever mixture of reality and make belive which creates a really compelling story. The characters are strong and the story goes at a decent pace so I was always dying to get back on and hear the next part. The only slight niggle is the narration is very earnest, so some of the funnier lines lost a bit of their impact. Looking forward to the sequel though.

1 person found this helpful

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Addictive

I don't write reviews for many audiobooks, but I enjoyed this so much.
So gripping and hard to put down. I'm actually a bit sad I've finished it.
Great characters and a really rich 'world', lots going on and a fair few unexpected turns

1 person found this helpful

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  • Toby Walker
  • 21-10-19

This book destroyed me!


I loved this book so much!
my favourite quote is still one from Darlington "There is probably a metaphor in all this Stern...I'll figure it out when I'm sober."
I loved every second and the narrors were amazing!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-05-21

A dark, twisty thriller that doesn't disappoint

Beautifully narrated & wonderfully written. I can't wait for the sequel to come out.

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  • Moxie
  • 02-05-21

Three and a half stars, rounded down.

Mostly, I enjoyed this book. Only less than I expected to based on the rave reviews. A lot was made of the fact that this wasn't a YA novel, including by the author herself, however I felt most of the book that it was a YA novel with an overlay of some sexual violence and a lot of use of the word "f***" so it wasn't quite adult feeling in the sense of it being a mature novel, also given that the protagonist is indeed a teenager, so something didn't add up for me.

Other things I failed to connect with were the police as the good guys (fantasy indeed) and the attempt to critique the unbelievable privilege inherent to most of the people and surroundings. Much like the flat effect of straight people writing LGBT relationships, Bardugo is writing about her own privileged background, and she seems to think that to contrast with it one must be a drug addict of unclear ethnicity and paternity from the slums. And use the word Town a few times.

Along the same lines, there is a well dressed Black cop but everyone else is white, all of them straight. This lack of diversity is much like Bardugo's early work, which is what led her to create the weird hybrid TV series, so that might have been something she learned to do better? The MC has a Ladino speaking Jewish grandmother, but an Ashkenazi last name, and no personal connection to this ethnicity. Much is made of the fact that she might look a little Mexican if she over-tans, but that is about as diverse as it gets, and all invested into the one character who is an outsider anyway, so while it is an interesting aspect of the character it doesn't really make the story very diverse.

Finally, I pretty much saw the ending coming from miles away. Not the particulars, but definitely the whodunit.

I did like the MC, whom Bardugo calls "thorny" in the bonus interview, which again, only shows what a soft background she herself is from. I found her smart and tough and liked her sense of humor. I also liked the representation of friendship between women.

The pacing was good, and the big reveal at the end was pretty original however some of the imagery used was pretty unoriginal including for example the banquet, which seen through a mirror all the participants are old and falling apart and eating rotten food or something like that. It's been done a lot, and there are several elements like that throughout.

Nitpicks: I might have just missed where this was clarified, but the MC seems to have been 15 years old during the events leading up to her coming to Yale as a freshman (and not 15). The male narrator couldn't say New Haven correctly, and while Fortgang is a talented narrator, her accents were terrible, and she probably should have just skipped them.

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  • Yvonne den Besten
  • 25-12-19

One of my faves of the year

“That was what magic did. It revealed the heart of who you'd been before life took away your belief in the possible. It gave back the world all lonely children longed for.”

4.5 Stars

I'm am going to borrow a phrase from John Green "There is something to recommend a story that ends" and say "There is something to recommend a story that starts at the beginning" especially when there's a magic system you don't know, all these characters you don't know and you basically have no clue what's going on!'

“What do you want?" Belbalm had asked her. Safety, comfort, to feel unafraid. I want to live to grow old, Alex thought as she pulled the curtains closed. I want to sit on my porch and drink foul-smelling tea and yell at passersby. I want to survive this world that keeps trying to destroy me.”

In this book we meet Alex Stern, who really has no business being at Yale, since she didn't graduate highschool, but she has this gift- or curse - where she can see ghosts, and she is made a deal that she can't refuse - a free ride at Yale, a chance for a normal life, if she helps to police the secret societies, and makes sure that they don't use their magic for ill gains - and then, a dead girl turns up, and nobody seems to bothered about solving the case.

This about jumps around between autumn, where we see Alex acclimating at Yale and her new responsibilities, and meeting her guide, but pretty soon in, we see something go terribly wrong. And you see the fall-out from that in the Winter chapters.

There's just so much going on in this book, it kept me wrong-footed constantly, and kept my interest rapt.

Alex isn't a very likable character maybe, but this book is such an ode to surviving and getting the job done, by whatever means necessary, I actually loved her by the end. It's also about privilege,m and about the kind of people that get away with things, and the kind that don't
I think it's a very universal feeling to want to carve out your own little section of the world, of life where people just let you be, and accept you, as you are, and this book spoke to that feeling so much for me

I really liked the friendship that blossomed in this book, and I also liked our other POV character Darlington,

The way the magic was handled and described was also very cool to me. I just really loved this book. Though, this won't be the book for everyone, if you can't take gore. Not for you. If you can't handle the main character's fuck you- attitude, Not for you. If you can't handle involved stories with a large emphasis on magic, not for you!

I think the only real critism I have is that we could have been eased into the story more gently

I think the individual narrators were great picks who fit their POV character very well

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  • lewis godsell
  • 08-11-19

Wow, what a good book!

For me this book went from interesting to riveting to couldn't stop listening.well written with a very strong main character in Alex. Although she's not always morally upright i found that i was hoping for her to succeed. A couple of her scenes with her friend Hellie were very moving.
The plot moves along very well and there are some surprising twists i thought were very effective. The supernatural elements and the murder mystery aspects worked very well together. Narration is very good.
I'd highly recommend this book and am eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

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  • Broxgirl
  • 22-10-19

Was not in English!

For some reason this is not the English version. Would have been nice to mention it beforehand

1 person found this helpful