Magic Madness: We Read Ninth House

Artwork by Tomoko B. 

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo is the fall blockbuster title to read…

It’s that magical time of year again when the weather actually does seem to finally be changing here in Austin and we’re looking to curl up with a page-turner that will keep us up at night.  Your BookPeople booksellers were graciously sent an advanced reading copy of Leigh Bardugo’s latest novel (this one intended for older audiences than her usual masterpieces)—and those ARCs made the rounds! One after another we devoured Ninth House and passed it to the next reader on our list—and we’re sure that you will want to as well. We’re especially excited to see Bardugo next Tuesday, Oct.15th!

The story of an ex-drug addict who is granted an opportunity to start fresh at one of our country’s most prestigious school in exchange for her rather unique talents, Ninth House has given Yale’s secret societies a magical twist and stations our protagonist-with-a-tortured-past in the place of watchdog for the occult “Tombs”⁠—as both protector and punisher.

Here’s what our booksellers are saying!

Bardugo7-2Tomoko B., Art Director

“Dark and lavish with vivid detail…while any comparison to “adult Harry Potter” pretty much ends at “magic school,” this book is a bit like if you dropped a Gryffindor with a deeply traumatized past into an all-Slytherin college. Ambition and power leach from every uncanny crevice in this visceral indictment of institutions that equip the rich and powerful with the tools to remain free of consequence⁠—but the latest “Shepherd” of Yale’s secret, mystical societies⁠ is Bardugo’s avenging arbiter of unflinching (and highly satisfying) justice. I can’t wait to talk about this book with everyone!”

Ellen G., Book Fair Manager

“I’ve read all of Bardugo’s YA books, and they are some of my favorites because of their strengths: excellent storytelling, engaging and intriguing characters, and spot-on world-building—Ninth House is no exception. For any teens who come looking for this book, here is what they need to know: it’s darker than what they’ve read by the same author—it’s more violent, more real. Scenes of abuse can be a trigger, and this book contains instances of abuse and violence. They will love the main character—her strength, survival, and scars. They will love the intricate story full of red herrings, twists & turns. They will stay up late reading!”

Bardugo1Collyn B., Bookseller

“Bardugo’s best dark jewel—Alex Stern is the anti-hero I never knew I needed. The gloves are off and shit’s about to go down!”

Will B., Part-Time Bookseller

“So, magic is real–real and dangerous. And no simple words or gestures—things must be sacrificed for the magic that these folks do: swing elections, bottle inspiration, boggle the mind—but it all has costs. When Alex Stern stumbles onto the seemingly occult murder of a girl that could have easily been herself, she finds herself moving deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the Eight Tombs of Yale. For fans of Leigh Bardugo and anyone looking for another The Magicians or a much darker version Harry Potter.”

Bardugo9Molly M., Inventory Manager

“A fun page-turner and the first adult offering from one of our great mythmakers…I loved most Bardugo’s use of Alex’s anger to not only unlock latent abilities but to help her connect to her (formidable, resourceful, justice-seeking) true self. Ghosts! Murder! History! Late-night flashlight reading at its finest.”

Bardugo6Rachel R., Bookseller (who got a pic of the book with the Gutenberg Bible!)

“Let’s be honest: I am the *exact* audience for this book…my favorite books are “esoteric academic becomes unwitting action hero,” and Ninth House evokes all the best parts of this genre while bringing something completely new and refreshing. Jokes in Latin! Clues based on classical literature! Secret societies that are morally ambiguous! But Bardugo cleverly invites us into this word of academic intrigue through the point of view of a woman who—at least on the surface—isn’t a part of this elite culture. This is a book deeply interested in who belongs and who doesn’t—and who decides. Think The Magicians meets A Discovery of Witches meets Veronica Mars.”

Bardugo2Lilli F., Bookseller

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo took me entirely by storm. It was intense, gritty, and absolutely everything you could want to read during a cool, mysterious Fall night. It’s chock-full of murder, action, betrayal, and, of course, MAGIC that seeps into every line. The world and characters that Bardugo weaves are so believable that by the end of the novel, I was ready to pack my bag, buy a Yale sweatshirt and hike up to New Haven to glimpse of the otherworldly magic ‘this town’ exudes.”

Bardugo3Lojo, Floor Manager

“Leigh Bardugo’s first dip into adult fantasy has been worth the wait because the woman can write! She’s skilled in creating characters that feel real and that you care for deeply—despite the bonkers things happening in their lives. The phrase “binge-reading” was created for work like Bardugo’s because it is impossible to do anything else with your life when you’ve got a new book of hers in your hands!”

Bardugo8Thomas W., Assistant Manager

Ninth House absolutely does not give a fuck what you think is considered “proper”. Or to be more accurate, main character Alex Stern doesn’t give a fuck what the privileged elite of Yale who care all-too-much at times. Early on, Alex is offered a chance to hide the tattoos sleeves she got as a young addict in L.A. and she jumps at the ability to blend in more. But (no spoilers, promise!) when Stern goes to confront the villain she realizes that she shouldn’t blend in and decides to be unapologetically herself by returning her tattoos and letting that part of her past become part of her identity again. I cannot recommend Ninth House enough, not just for the amazing story and dark take on Ivy League life but also for the in-your-face attitude that every page is steeped in.”

Have we convinced you? Then don’t miss our exciting author event with Leigh Bardugo at Central Presbyterian Church on October 15th at 7PM. She’ll speak about the book (no spoilers though!) and sign Ninth House—follow this link to get your ticket! Or, if you can’t make it to the event, see if you can snag a signed copy here!

The banner image for today’s blog post was created by Tomoko B., BookPeople’s Art Director. You can see more of her work on Instagram: @7omoko.

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