I am a sucker for books that take aim a privilege, even in such a fantastical way. Our main character, Alex, is an underdog lifted out of a drug den in California and transplanted into the hallowed halls of Yale so of course the bad guys are the privileged white dudes (and occasional lady). Even if they aren’t the specific overall bad buy, they’re all exposed to like really super suck in some way or another. Reading this book came with a nice side of schadenfreude.
Ninth House takes place at modern-day Yale where Skull & Bones isn’t just a real secret society, but there are seven others and they all deal in different types of magic plus one extra that basically makes sure the main eight don’t get too wild and expose them. Alex, our hero, has the unique ability to see ghosts without any kind of supernatural aid, which is why the societies get her a seat and a full scholarship as long as she works with them. Yale is also kind of a fascinating place to set this because a lot of the driver is the town/gown divide, for which New Haven is infamous, with Alex pretty firmly on the side of town. A town girl shows up dead in a way that Alex is pretty sure is society-connected but with her mentor MIA and literally zero other allies, she’s basically on her own to solve it. It’s a multi-level who dun it, now with magic.
So it’s a little like Magic for Liars, in some ways, and overall it’s a good ride. It’s a little jarring to see a familiar author go from edgy YA to edgy without the YA bowling gutters, but that’s not a bad thing. I think I’m really going to like this series.