Ninth House (Alex Stern #1) (Mass Market)

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This is book number 1 in the Alex Stern series.

Staff Reviews

Leigh Bardugo’s adult fantasy debut launches us into the twisted tales of the Ivy League Elite in an impossible to put down, completely gripping story that unravels the secrets that lie just beneath the surface of the wealthy and privileged citizens of New Haven. 

Meet Galaxy, Alex, Stern, who at just twenty years old has lived a million lifetimes. From dropping out of high school at a young age, to a life of drugs and minimum wage jobs to pay the bills, she is also the sole survivor of a brutal massacre. As if that wasn’t enough for the young girl, she has also gone her whole life being able to see ghosts. Convinced that her life has gone in the completely wrong direction, Alex is faced with little choice, until she is greeted at her hospital bed by the Dean of Yale who is offering her a chance to turn it all around. At Yale, Alex is thrust into the hidden world of Yale’s secret societies, acting as a member of the Lethe House, an advisory board of sorts charged with ensuring each of the Eight Houses of the Veil acts within their means. However, as Alex’s time at Yale progresses, she learns that the lives of those in Lethe and the Eight Houses are further and further away from what she was expecting- and something sinister is lurking just beneath the surface. 

I truly cannot speak highly enough of the world-building done by Bardugo in this novel. The exposition is so subtle, yet so clear, it almost feels as if the story is a work of fiction, not a work of fantasy. As if we truly live alongside ghosts and college students performing magical rituals to predict the rise and fall of the stock market. Furthermore, each character is so well developed and so multidimensional that I got as much from the story from Alex as I did from her companions Dawes and Darlington, even the ghosts that only Alex herself can see. The Ninth House kept me hooked from cover to cover and I hope it does the same for you. Until then, I’ll be counting down the days until the second installment is released (hopefully) in 2022.

— Olivia White

October 2019 Indie Next List

“Queen Leigh’s first foray into adult fantasy is a sensational success! One of the best fantasy books I’ve read in a long while, Ninth House contains Yale secret societies, ghosts, magic, morally gray characters, and murder. Bardugo balances dual timelines with intricate precision, and the history and world-building of her fantastical New Haven is superb. I couldn’t put this book down; I had to know what was going to happen next. I savored every moment reading this novel, and I am jealous of readers who get to experience it for the first time!”
— Isabella Ogbolumani, Page 1 Books, Evanston, IL

Winter 2020 Reading Group Indie Next List

“This stunning book in the tradition of The Secret History and The Magicians is about a girl who can see ghosts, and who gets a full scholarship to Yale in the aftermath of a horrible tragedy. Bardugo’s first adult entry has a cast of characters you won’t soon forget, and great social commentary about class. Great for fans of her other work who have aged up, or fans of gritty adult fantasy.”
— Vickie Roberts, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA


Ninth House is the mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo, a tale of power, privilege, dark magic, and murder set among the Ivy League elite.

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. In fact, by age twenty, 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 prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless “tombs” are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street’s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.

About the Author

Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and the creator of the Grishaverse (now a Netflix original series) which spans the Shadow and Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology, The Language of Thorns, and King of Scars—with more to come. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Ninth House (Goodreads Choice Winner for Best Fantasy 2019), which is being developed for television by Amazon Studios. She lives in Los Angeles.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250798008
ISBN-10: 1250798000
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: June 29th, 2021
Pages: 608
Language: English
Series: Alex Stern