Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

As a hard-core fan of the Grishaverse, I actually bought this book in hardback (!!) during the January sale at Waterstones. Just because. I kept seeing copies while I was in New Zealand and Australia and it was like the book was taunting me because I couldn’t actually read it! Which was rude of the book.

My super serious summary: Alex Stern thought Yale would be the chance to wipe the slate clean and get away from her past. But, of course, it comes with a price and she finds herself babysitting the magical secret societies of Yale with Darlington and Dawes. But when a girl is murdered and it seems the societies are involved, Alex is determined to find out who and why, even if she would rather concentrate on actually passing the semester and getting that clean break Yale promised.

Being brutally honest, I was disappointed in this book. The first two thirds of the book felt a little too much like work to get through. I felt like the time skips didn’t really contribute to the plot – the novel would have made as much impact if it had been in chronological order rather than jumping between Fall and Winter, especially because the jumps were a matter of weeks previously. At about the 2/3rds point, it started to get interesting (coinciding with my going up to bed to read, predicting I would be getting an early night. I ended up reading the rest of the book).

I think there were very good aspects, and the characters were good-not-great. I will read any number of awful plots if I Love the characters – my A03 tab list is evidence of that. But I didn’t really start to get any of the characters until that 2/3rd point where the plot started getting interesting. Alex Stern and Darlington are mildly interesting. My favourite was Dawes, especially from the point of sticking up for Alex in a display of solidarity.

Kudos for plot twist I didn’t really see coming.

I did like this book, overall. But I can’t overlook that I didn’t really connect for ages. It was only because I had been looking forward to this so much that I kept going. I had to keep rereading sections because another section didn’t make sense and it was quite a laborious process that was only slightly made up for by the characters. I do want to read the second book, when it comes out, because I want to see where it goes.