Title: Ninth House
Series: Alex Stern #1
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Fantasy, Dar Academia, Mystery
Published: October 8, 2019
Followed by: Untitled
My Rating 5/5
“I want to survive this world that keeps trying to destroy me.”
Ninth House is the story about a girl, Alex Stern, who can see ghosts. This extraordinary ability has been the cause of all her misfortunes leading her to a life of poverty, drugs, and shady friends. When she is the sole survivor of a multiple homicide, she wakes up in the hospital to a stranger who gives her the opportunity to be a new person, to join one of the secret magical societies of Yale as a student.
Absolutely everything in this book worked for me: the twisted world, the well thought-out rules of the magical system and its history, the painfully human characters and their pertinent flaws… but especially sweet Alex with her soft heart and rough edges, and responsible Darlington who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders.
With these two characters a love letter is written to all the people who have been abused, neglected, or have had to learn to read the world in order to survive. Alex has a deep understanding of society and how it works due to her circumstances, and although she has had to adapt to her situation to protect herself, her soft side comes out when it matters the most. Alex is what happens when you grow up in a toxic environment, but throughout the story she is somehow able to slowly find herself again and get rid of some of the extra baggage without ever forgetting the lessons she learned in life and using them to her advantage.
Alex felt something dark inside her uncoil. “You’re a flat beast,” Hellie had once said to her. “Got a little viper lurking in there, ready to strike. A rattler probably.” She’d said it with a grin, but she’d been right. All this winter weather and polite conversation had put the serpent to sleep, its heartbeat slowing as it grew lazy and still, like any cold-blooded thing.
While Alex had to become rough, Darlington’s neglected childhood taught him to be hopeful. And look for magic. He wants to right all the wrongs and protect everyone by respecting the rules. He barely knows Alex but he sees her ALL of her, the rough parts and the soft parts. I have the feeling we will learn a lot more about him.
“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. “
I absolutely loved this book. Bardugo deals with the material, which could be triggering to some, tastefully and doesn’t add events for a shock factor, she simply tells it how it is reflecting society all too well.
“Not every flower belongs in every garden.”