Summary from Goodreads:
The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo
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.
Nipped out the last few pages last night before Book Club.
Ninth House is a compulsively readable fantasy novel that smashes together The Secret History, the Rivers of London series, and a whodunnit. I’ve read reviews comparing Alex to Lisbeth Salander, however, she strikes me as more in the vein of Thursday Next, but less principled. The first 100 pages felt a little boggy to me with the back-and-forth between time periods and narrators and backstory but about midpoint the plot really kicked into high gear. I really liked Bardugo’s not-subtle commentary about the systems of power, magical and otherwise, relied on by these societies at Yale (and elsewhere, since alums keep coming back to have the “tombs” help them achieve success) and how everything functions to prop them up even to the point of covering up rape and murder.
I will give a trigger warning for descriptions of rape and sexual abuse (not incredibly graphic or used to give another character motivation but they do happen on the page) and drug use.
Dear FTC: I read an advance galley provided by the publisher for the discussion leader at my store.