Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Rating – 4 out of 5

In Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, Galaxy “Alex” Stern is a survivor. She survived a traumatic childhood, the hauntings of the dead, the murder of her best friend, and now is surviving her freshman year at Yale. As a part of House Leathe, the ninth house, Stern is the protector of the magic that the other eight houses use. With her mentor disappearing, and the magic activity around campus intensifying, Stern is looking for answers and as always, her own survival.

TW: This book deals with trauma, sexual and physical assault of adults and minors, and hard drug use. If any of these topics are hard for you, proceed with caution

Favorite Quote

“All you children playing with fire, looking surprised when the house burns down” ― Leigh Bardugo, Ninth House


When I picked up Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, I was expecting a darker tale than her usual magical heists like in Six of Crows. The subject matter of this book went much darker than I thought it would, as the trigger warning above suggests. Some of the scenes were hard to read, even for someone who has never had experiences like that. I want to make it perfectly clear that while Bardugo did treat these topics with respect, it was still shocking and brutal to me at times in a way that much of her other work had not prepared me for. 

Read my reviews of Leigh Bardugo’s other books here.

This book painted a more conspiracy theory view of how magic and the occult might function in the “real world”. The people wielding it are using it for their own gain and power and keeping it out of view to maintain that power. I liked the general premise that these houses were connected to some of the world’s most powerful and were using an Ivy League school like Yale as the front for their activities.

I liked the main character of Galaxy Stern as well. In further books about this character, I hope we see more of her development as I felt like most of this book was spent giving us the backstory. I felt deeply for Galaxy and all that she had been through. Hopefully in further books that we see her blossom into the powerful person and survivor that she is.

I recommend this book if you like gritty murder mysteries which dabble in the occult.

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