A review by theespressoedition
Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo

challenging dark tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


I've been going back and forth in my mind on how to rate this book properly since I finished reading it last night.

On the one hand, I didn't love it. Truthfully, I didn't expect to. I knew enough about it ahead of time (trigger warnings and all) that I was aware it's not my normal style of book and the content might just not be my cup of tea. However, there was a part of me that really hoped I would surprise myself and wind up adoring it - primarily because I just adore Leigh.

The book is kind of icky.
And I'm not just talking about the gore or even the triggering content, but there are just moments that made me actually nauseous and I would say, "UM EW" aloud. That's not the most pleasant feeling while reading a book, I gotta be honest. And then, of course, there's the gore and the triggering content itself. I wasn't as uncomfortable with that as I anticipated, but it's definitely a huge part of the story, so there's a reason why everyone and their mom is recommending that you read the warnings ahead of time. Even Leigh herself has been ridiculously vocal about this.

On the other hand, the interview at the end of the audiobook made me appreciate the story so much more.
Leigh is a phenomenal person with an incredible mind and I respect her so much and the amount of her heart and soul that she put into the creation of this story. How so much of it is based on reality, rather than purely fiction.

The characters didn't really suck me in, though I did like that they were basically all morally gray. That always makes for an interesting story. And the ending was interesting enough that I may pick up the sequel. I'm undecided.

I'll add my voice to the trillion others who have said that this is nothing like The Grishaverse. It is not YA - nor should anyone younger than 18 read it, in my opinion. Please read the trigger warnings and know that it is very dark and won't necessarily leave you feeling hopeful when you walk away from it. But it is wonderfully written and has an interesting (albeit confusing af) story.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings