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.
I love Bardugo’s other books with a passion, I push them on anyone I meet who also likes to read, even if they read in a different genre. This book was one I just had to get my hands on and since it is adult I wanted even more dark turns and twists as well as some adult themes.
The beginning of this book is really difficult to get through. There is a lot and I do mean a lot of information that you have no idea about when you are first reading. There are so many houses to learn about, different magic powers, people, alumni, rules of the ninth house and the characters are rather underdeveloped. It took a long time for me to start caring about what was happening in each scene and the background information on the characters felt very weak and drawn out for the sake of creating mysterious characters.
As far as the plot goes this one is mostly a gothic darker mystery story with ghosts thrown in for good measure. The mystery of the book doesn’t even seem to be the sticking point when we still have Alex traipsing around for the whole book trying to figure out how to use what little magic ninth house offers. Honestly, it felt like we spent the entire book, except the last 100 pages, having no idea what on earth was going on. It also felt that Bardugo sometimes did things just because she could, because it was an adult book. Just because it is an adult book doesn’t mean we need to over complicate the magic and include child rape, a shit eating twenty year old, and some random sexual advances done under the influence of drugs. These things did not really fit in with the story they were just sort of placed in for simple shock value.
Overall, the last 100 pages of this novel is where everything really shines but you have to read 350 pages of confusing, weighed down language, and random shock moments to get there. Honestly as the story was ending I was saying, this right here, this is where the story should have started! So maybe the second novel will be better but I had high hopes for this Bardugo book, she is a favorite author, but this one completely misses the mark.