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Review: Ninth House (Alex Stern Book 1) by Leigh Bardugo

May 10, 2020

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 homicides. 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.



Ninth House was an interesting read. Galaxy Stern was a provocative character. She felt muted at times and then would jump up at you throughout the story. I love how Bardugo brought to life the powerful alumni and various conspiracy theories at Yale. This discreet and hidden world of societies can wield magic and hold power in the city of New Haven. Alex's search for answers from the present and the past reveal her true nature. I found myself wanting to see more of Alex and Darlington together as a team. I yearned for more romance between the two.  I imagine we will learn more in the next book in the series. There is plenty of magic and unknowns in this story to keep a reader engaged. Leigh Bardugo writes beautifully, but at times I found myself a bit mystified by the direction of the story. I look forward to more in the Alex Stern series. Is is my first foray into a Leigh Bardugo world, I plan on reading more of her work. 

Available for purchase at

Publisher: Flatiron Books
Pub Date: October 8, 2019

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