My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have always wondered how authors find it so easy to create an alternate fantasy world and make it so believable that closing the final page creates a massive fall to the earth and eyes blinking we gape, Huh, where in the world are we? The last fantasy book that made me wish for that alter world is of course Harry Potter and that too only the first one in the series. But now after reading Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House I understand the hullabaloo generated over her books and the humongous uproar it created in the literary world. I’m still reeling from the intense reading of the Ninth House that I have half a mind to just forget all the other pending books in my TBR and just binge read every work published by this author.
Reading the first chapter, honestly, I was confounded. I just couldn’t make head or tail of the story that began, it felt reading from the middle, you know the feeling when we begin a book in a series in the middle like 2nd or 3rd one and perceive a sense of something missing, the characters talk about something that we are totally unaware of, exactly that, and I did go back to Goodreads to check if it really was book #1. It was only when I reached the 3rd chapter that the story of Galaxy Stern and Daniel Arlington as Dante and Virgil starts making sense and the progression of the story begins from the missing Darlington to a murder in the Yale in New Haven and then alternates to the events preceding it.
The ghosts called as greys, the gluma, the hell-monsters, the borderlands, the ancient houses and the new houses each of them with their own magical practices, the Lethe house that monitors all the activities, each and every aspect of the book was a fascinating journey to undertake. The characters are all quite interesting and I loved Pamela Dawes as Occulus, someone who comes across as a meek and shy person, who develops into one of the most important characters in the story.
Fair warning to all though, there are some scenes that may be disturbing to readers, like drugs abuse, rape, forced shit-eating punishment, extreme violence which have all been depicted quite graphically that makes it tough to erase it from the mind.
Despite all that, Ninth House is an absolutely riveting read that had me literally glued to its pages and I don’t have the patience to wait for book #2, to know about Darlington’s rescue efforts by Alex and Dawes.
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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.