Ella Terry, junior editor, is the JagWire’s lead book critic. Over the coming year, she will be highlighting books that may not be typically read in classroom settings but which students may enjoy.

Leigh Bardugo, beloved YA writer of books like Six of Crows, has released her first adult novel. Ninth House is vastly different from the fictional fantasy universe created in Bardugo’s prior novels, instead dealing with a colder, darker magic. Set on the campus of Yale, the book revolves around Galaxy, or Alex, Stern. An atypical Yale student, Alex was offered a second chance in a hospital, after being the only survivor of a multiple homicide. On the campus there are eight secret societies, and Lethe, the ninth house, supervises them. Upon her arrival in New Haven, Alex is immersed in the dark, twisted world of magic. 

I went into this book with high expectations, being a fan of Bardugo’s young adult novels. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. Bardugo’s prose is beautiful, however, it is the only thing that stands out for the first half of the book. Nothing interesting happened and it seemed to drag on forever.  The second half of the book picked up speed and I was much more interested in what was happening, I only wish that the rest of the book had done the same. Overall the premise of the book was very original, but I wouldn’t be able to explain what happened if someone asked me which isn’t a good sign. The dynamics and roles of different characters were very confusing as was the ending, despite it being very entertaining. Bardugo’s wordplay and creative worldbuilding stands out in this novel, but her delivery falls a little short when it comes to the plot and character creation. 

Content warning for Ninth House: contains sexual assault, drug use


About Ella Terry

Ella is a senior and the editor-in-chief of The JagWire. In her free time, Ella is likely reading or becoming emotionally invested in a fictional world. She loves all things cats, baking, and Parks & Rec.