Ninth House

May 8, 2021

by Leigh Bardugo

In this book we follow Alex who’s been chosen to join a secret society at Yale because of her ability to see Grays, the spirits of the dead. She has a very troubled past and … well, that’s about as much as I can really remember without spoiling the whole plot in the intro to this review. 

I don’t know what I was expecting going into this book, but the build-up for this book, the hints and details we got as this was being written, the marketing of the book, it all focused on these secret orders at Yale, yet this book was not about that, at all. Sure it takes place at 

Yale, and the orders are present, and perhaps part of the plot, but it’s not about them. 

To be honest, I’m not even sure what the book is about. There’s not really any plot here, there a mystery surrounding the strange behaviors of the Grays, and a murdered woman. Yet this isn’t really a murder mystery, while at the same time, it is. We also have the mystery of one of the POV characters having gone missing, and the details of this event is slowly being given to the reader throughout the book. 

So, here’s the thing. The book is good, there are plenty of things to like about it. The murder mystery is decent and quite interesting at times. The way the mystery about the missing character unravels is also interesting, and the end gathers all the threads in a pretty decent way that feels quite satisfying. It’s all the unnecessary stuff in-between that makes this such a hard read. 

The book is approximately 120 pages too long, and you could easily cut at least 25% of the book without losing anything at all. It’s so incredibly slow that it was a fight to get through it, and by the 75% mark I was ready to give up because nothing was happening, nothing that felt important at least. 

It feels like everything is very shallow, and there are so much information, so many threads and so much details that it feels like nothing is real. And the way we only scratch the surface also makes it hard to care about anything, and it also makes it feel like all the issues that the books deals with are just there for shock value. 

I mean, Leigh Bardugo can write a book, she’s shown that many times before, and this is well written, but it also feels like she tried too hard here. Tried too hard to sound adult that it ended up being too wordy, too fancy, too everything. It should have been shaved down, more focused and it should have dug deeper into the things that mattered rather than wasting flowery words on unnecessary things. 

Definitely not a book for me, and I’m disappointed about that because I thought this would be something I’d love. And I wanted to love it, which is why I pushed through it, but I feel cheated because this book was not what the premise promised me it would be. 

Wrap Up

Ninth House

  • 6/10
    Overall
  • 5/10
    Plot
  • 5.5/10
    Characters
  • 6.5/10
    Writing
  • 7/10
    Ending

Pros

  • Interesting premise
  • Good mystery
  • Satisfying ending

Cons

  • Extremely slow
  • A bit one dimensional
  • Too wordy

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