Galaxy “Alex” Stern has been given a free ride to Yale, despite a shady past and nonexistent high school grades. Why? Because she can see ghosts, and one of Yale’s secret societies has use of her unique gift. If that’s not enough to get you interested, how about this: in the first 20 pages, the society Skull and Bones has already opened up a living man’s body to perform a ritual designed to pick winning stocks. That’s just a taste of the incredible creativity that awaits readers as Alex investigates the strange goings-on of the secret societies, searching for answers to a suspicious murder.
Leigh Bardugo’s writing style shifts perspective with ease, moving between two main characters whose fates are intertwined. But what sets this book apart is the incredible creativity. Each secret society in Yale practices a form of magic, with consequences that go beyond the campus. It’s difficult to come up with something new in the fantasy genre, but Bardugo’s twisted imagination succeeds so well that this book is impossible to put down.
The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. Flatiron Books, October 2019.
About the reviewer: Ken Brosky teaches English, plays guitar, and works in his woodshop when he’s not busy writing. He is short stories have been published in The Portland Review, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, among others. He’s currently represented by agent Sandra Sawicka, and they’re working on a mystery novel.