First Impression Friday: “Ninth House” by Leigh Bardugo

This is another library book that I’ve been waiting on for a long time.

From GoodReads:

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.

Ninth House (Alex Stern #1)

I’m three chapters into this book and I’m still not quite sure what’s going on. The first chapter throws you right into the action with very little explanation, and the second chapter backs up the story a bit and gives us some backstory (but not enough), and then the third chapter is right back into the present.

Yale is populated by secret societies who do unspeakable things to humans (in the first chapter, Alex is attending a ritual in a forgotten operating theater where some poor unsuspecting man’s organs are rearranged and stock prices are quoted to those around the surgeon, for example). It all comes back to there being eight houses of these societies, each of which is built on a “Nexus” of magic. (My head is spinning just trying to keep up with everything.)

I’m not sure where this book is going, but the fact that the book is literally called Ninth House makes me think that the murder we see in Chapter Three is tied to that ninth house, and Alex is in for a long and rough ride.

I’ve read Bardugo’s Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom books, and I’ve read her fairy tale collection, but I’ve got no expectations on this book except for the fact that it’s going to take me deep into the underbelly of one of the world’s most respected universities, and I’m hoping that it doesn’t get too gory.

And as always, keep reading.

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