Chelsea Humphrey's Reviews > Ninth House

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
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it was amazing
bookshelves: bookstagram-made-me-do-it, audiobooks, favorites
Recommended to Chelsea by: Flatiron Books

CONGRATULATIONS-Goodreads Choice Awards Adult Fantasy Winner!

"I am a daughter of Lethe, and the wolves are at the door."

Hello friends, and good evening. Do me a favor will you? Could you all please stand up? Thank you. Now, if you're a fan of dark fantasy/horror and stories involving occult magic, please remain standing; everyone else can sit down. Remain standing if you also retain the ability to push through a read that has a slew of triggers, such as sexual assault, graphic rape of a 12 year old girl, murder, gore, death, drug abuse/overdose, possession, the forced eating of excrement to a rapist, and many more subjects. Great, now also remain standing if you are ok with reading a book where you are dropped into the middle of a world much like our own, but you have no idea what's going on and have to figure it out as you go at a slow burning pace, until all is revealed. If you're still with me, follow me to the next portion; the rest of you may be excused.

Why the dramatics, Chels? Well, to be fair, this book won't be for everyone. I'll go as far as saying that it won't be for a majority of people. Ninth House is an extremely dark and heavy read, one that is well-written and plotted, but contains many aspects that are so niche that I can't imagine a majority of Bardugo's YA fantasy fans crossing over into this realm. Many of my close, trusted friends have struggled with this book, and I highly respect their opinions and reasons for not resonating with it, and if you're looking for a wonderful, objective 3 star review to offset mine, I suggest you read Melanie's HERE.

If you're still with me, I'd like to take a moment and break down, into sections, just what ground the book covers. There will be no major spoilers, but if you want to go in blind without any sense of what the book is about, stop here.

"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. That was what Lethe had done for him. Maybe it could do that for Alex as well."

The book opens with a touch of an ending, and abruptly brings us back to what I will refer to as Present Day. We are dropped directly into Alex's daily schedule, and over the course of the first 150 pages or so, we slowly gather information on the various secret societies at Yale, how magic is involved, and snippets of Alex's past that lead her to Yale in the first place. This is the section where the book weeds out those who bought this because it's one of the most popular new releases of 2019, and those who are genuinely interested in dark ADULT fantasy. Once we get a general sense of this alternate contemporary world, we realize there are two mysteries at hand. One is the murder of a local and there appears to have been magic involved. Who killed her and for what purpose? This particular mystery does tie into the next mystery I'll be mentioning, but suffice it to say that this murder is solved and completely wrapped up in this first installment. The second mystery is the disappearance of Alex's mentor, Darlington. This mystery receives answers but will continue on into the sequel. Along the way, Alex teams up with a few human people and also Grays (spirits of the deceased that still roam the earth) to solve both mysteries, while also revealing the entirety of Alex's background and how she came to be at Yale.

I'll be honest, I had my doubts in the beginning. When I say that the pacing is slow, I mean it is S-L-O-W. The audio version of Ninth House features two of my favorite narrators, and I found that this format worked best for me in the beginning, and I enjoyed it so much that I mostly listened to the entire book rather than reading my hard copy. Once the ball gets rolling, I became fully engrossed. I can't tell you how interesting it was to read about all of these real societies with the added flair of magical abilities. Bardugo created a world that felt eerily realistic; no detail is left untouched and she used the old Stephen King method of "make it real, but change the slightest detail to make it not real," and this worked beautifully.

After a majority of the book being the slow burn, the ending is absolute bonkers in the best way! Wild, action packed, and with a few twists I did not see coming! I felt the ending was brilliant; it wasn't a cliffhanger but it did leave me ready and wanting to come back for more. I'll stop before I ramble on, but I'd like to cautiously recommend this book with gusto. If you've read it, I'd love to chat with you about it. If you decide this isn't for you, I respect that, and I can't wait for the next book we get to chat about together.
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Reading Progress

January 21, 2019 – Shelved
October 8, 2019 – Started Reading
October 11, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 108 (108 new)


message 1: by prettywhenicry (new)

prettywhenicry #thestoryofmydamnlife


message 2: by Donna (new) - added it

Donna Only constantly.


Valerie Every. Damn. Day.


Chelsea Humphrey Valerie wrote: "Every. Damn. Day."

Donna wrote: "Only constantly."

bury_a_friend wrote: "#thestoryofmydamnlife"

I mean, I know that it's still the beginning of 2019, but where is October friends? I should also note I haven't even started King of Scars yet...


message 5: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus So frequently that I request library books by the hundredweight. Then they sit unread until I can't renew them again. It's a sickness!


Chelsea Humphrey Richard wrote: "So frequently that I request library books by the hundredweight. Then they sit unread until I can't renew them again. It's a sickness!"

I, too, have this sickness. :) But I remind myself, at least with the library I'm not spending money?


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Heh. That's my self-talk too. Several librarians have Frowned Mightily at me for using so much of the library's time and resources...I reminded the one who verbalized it that budgets live and die by usage stats and I'm a HUGE improver of those.

She shut up about it.


Chelsea Humphrey Richard wrote: "Heh. That's my self-talk too. Several librarians have Frowned Mightily at me for using so much of the library's time and resources...I reminded the one who verbalized it that budgets live and die b..."

I couldn’t agree more! My aunt is a librarian and she said she would much rather people check out hundreds of books they never get around to than never utilizing them. Sometimes it’s even about more than reading the book, IMO.


message 9: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Chelsea wrote: "I couldn’t agree more! My aunt is a librarian and she said she would much rather people check out hundreds of books they never get around to than never utilizing them. Sometimes it’s even about more than reading the book, IMO."

I'd love to have a few more circulation folks with her attitude. Please try to remember to let her know she has a fan in New York.

*smooch* Be well and training-accident-free today.


Chelsea Humphrey Richard wrote: "Chelsea wrote: "I couldn’t agree more! My aunt is a librarian and she said she would much rather people check out hundreds of books they never get around to than never utilizing them. Sometimes it’..."

🤣🤗 same to you!


message 11: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda in Utopia Chandler is THE mood! :) loving this...


Chelsea Humphrey Linda wrote: "Chandler is THE mood! :) loving this..."

Right? And now the wait is pushed back a week. :(


Cardan Greenbriar exactly! i went last month on a book haul, collected around 30 books for this autumn and ended up seeing this. my mood is so grim now
*_*


Chelsea Humphrey Prince Charming Doesn't Exist wrote: "exactly! i went last month on a book haul, collected around 30 books for this autumn and ended up seeing this. my mood is so grim now
*_*"


Preach!!!


Tucker  (TuckerTheReader) It sucks. But getting ARCs always makes it better! Have you reached out to Flatiron? If that doesn't work, reach out to Macmillan audio. They'll probably send you an audio file. That's how I read it


Chelsea Humphrey Tucker wrote: "It sucks. But getting ARCs always makes it better! Have you reached out to Flatiron? If that doesn't work, reach out to Macmillan audio. They'll probably send you an audio file. That's how I read it"

Oh it's ok sweetie! I purposefully wanted to wait on this one, as I have a special edition coming from the UK. :) Sometimes I still like the delayed gratification for highly anticipated books. <3


message 17: by Lady_Am (new) - added it

Lady_Am OMG! This is so me! The waiting in anticipation kills me. Lol!


Chelsea Humphrey Lady_Am wrote: "OMG! This is so me! The waiting in anticipation kills me. Lol!"

<3


message 19: by Dean (new) - added it

Dean Chelsea that's me too..
Dean;))


Chelsea Humphrey Dean wrote: "Chelsea that's me too..
Dean;))"


Should we start a support group? ;)


message 21: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Yep. Haha


message 22: by TMR (new) - rated it 2 stars

TMR It has happened. Believe me. I’d had to wait for almost a whole year before Pride came out.


Chelsea Humphrey Javelyn wrote: "It has happened. Believe me. I’d had to wait for almost a whole year before Pride came out."

Cynthia wrote: "Yep. Haha"

The struggle is real!


Terence M (Restored Disposition ;) I think I am a remarkably lucky old man! I have read listened to my first ever 'fantasy' books this year, three of them(!), and I have never heard of Leigh Bardugo, so I have absolutely no idea what I am missing out on! However, I have added this author to my newly created list: "Fantasy authors I might like" because I hate the thought that I might be missing out - FOMO in today's 'speak'😎


Terence M (Restored Disposition ;) In case there is one person left on Goodreads who hasn't heard of "FOMO", it means 'Fear Of Missing Out'!


Chelsea Humphrey Terence M wrote: "In case there is one person left on Goodreads who hasn't heard of "FOMO", it means 'Fear Of Missing Out'!"

Terence M wrote: "I think I am a remarkably lucky old man! I have read listened to my first ever 'fantasy' books this year, three of them(!), and I have never heard of Leigh Bardugo, so I have absolutely no idea wha..."


Ah I love that, Terence!!


Terence M (Restored Disposition ;) Chelsea wrote: "Ah I love that, Terence!! ..."

🤩🤩😉


Chelsea Humphrey Terence M wrote: "Chelsea wrote: "Ah I love that, Terence!! ..."

🤩🤩😉"


Enjoy!


message 29: by Ellie (new)

Ellie All the time!!


Chelsea Humphrey Ellie wrote: "All the time!!"

😭😭😭


Aoife - Bookish_Babbling Happy reading hun, hope your physical books arrive soon!


Chelsea Humphrey Aoife wrote: "Happy reading hun, hope your physical books arrive soon!"

Thank you, love!


message 33: by Katie (new) - added it

Katie So true!!! It's torture!


 Reading Reindeer Mine came at Midnight on Kindle (that sounds like a horror novel title or a song title), as did my Kindle copy of Before the Devil Fell, plus my 3 BOMC arrived today. I need about 15 heads, all reading different books.:)


Chelsea Humphrey Autumn Is Azathoth wrote: "Mine came at Midnight on Kindle (that sounds like a horror novel title or a song title), as did my Kindle copy of Before the Devil Fell, plus my 3 BOMC arrived today. I need about 15 heads, all rea..."

This is honestly so relatable. <3


message 36: by Mike (new)

Mike I don't feel like I have nothing to read but boy, that innerbookaddict has a nose for release dates and constantly distracts me from initial plans. I did pick this up today though as I couldn't resist Bardugo's foray into adult fantasy.


Chelsea Humphrey Mike wrote: "I don't feel like I have nothing to read but boy, that innerbookaddict has a nose for release dates and constantly distracts me from initial plans. I did pick this up today though as I couldn't res..."

I so relate to this. I have a desire to read all the books I own, but I also have a strong desire to buy all the books that I do not own. HAHA


Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill I need this book!!!! Yesss 🙌 This is me too!!


Chelsea Humphrey Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill wrote: "I need this book!!!! Yesss 🙌 This is me too!!"

<3


Aoife - Bookish_Babbling Chelsea wrote: "I so relate to this. I have a desire to read all the books I own, but I also have a strong desire to buy all the books that I do not own. HAHA"

#MOOD


Chelsea Humphrey Aoife wrote: "Chelsea wrote: "I so relate to this. I have a desire to read all the books I own, but I also have a strong desire to buy all the books that I do not own. HAHA"

#MOOD"


<3


message 42: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole Wow! So glad to see the 5 stars, I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews and was debating not even picking it up


Sarah Eastridge 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤 let the book hangover commence!


Chelsea Humphrey Nicole wrote: "Wow! So glad to see the 5 stars, I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews and was debating not even picking it up"

It's 100% not for everyone. Very dark with lots of mature, graphic themes. But it was exactly what I needed at the moment. <3


Chelsea Humphrey Sarah wrote: "🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤 let the book hangover commence!"

Girl PREACH. How will we live until the next one comes out?


Steph's Book Ramblings Glad to hear this is so good! I just ordered my copy 2 days ago and cannot wait for it to get here! Thanks!


Chelsea Humphrey Steph's Book Ramblings wrote: "Glad to hear this is so good! I just ordered my copy 2 days ago and cannot wait for it to get here! Thanks!"

I can't wait to hear what you think!! <3


message 48: by TMR (new) - rated it 2 stars

TMR Me!


message 49: by Joluz (new)

Joluz What seriously I'm surprised


Chelsea Humphrey Joluz wrote: "What seriously I'm surprised"

Javelyn wrote: "Me!"

It definitely won't be for everyone. In fact, I may be in the minority with how much I adored this, but hopefully will be able to explain better in my full review!


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