I swear I heard about this book on NPR, and I swear it was Mary Louise Kelly talking about it. I can like hear her voice talking about it, but I can’t seem to verify that, so take my memory with a grain of salt. I just remember hearing about it on the radio (and I really only listen to NPR), and then immediately buying the kindle book from Amazon. It legitimately took me over three years to finally read it. I have no idea why though. Once I started, I was sooo into it.
This book is about the eight secret societies of Yale, and the fictional ninth house which keeps them all in line. There are actually secret societies at Yale, but in Ninth House they’re all magical. Wolf’s Head members are shapeshifters, Skull and Bones prognosticates about the market by rooting around in a live person’s organs, Book and Snake specializes in necromancy, and Aurelian uses word binding and divination through language. Lethe (the ninth house) is like the magical gatekeeper. They watch over the rituals to make sure no ghosts or other creatures get out and wreak havoc on Yale.
Galaxy aka Alex is the main character. She’s a former drug addict and high school dropout who can see ghosts (called greys in this series). It’s something she felt was a curse for her life up to this point, but Yale sees it as a powerful and useful talent. This review doesn’t even begin to set up this book properly, but I also don’t want to spoil anything. There are lots of bad things that happen, but I personally fell in love with the characters and couldn’t wait to see what happened next.
I read a bunch of books in between, but I thought I’d put these two reviews together.
I fell in love with the darkly magical Yale that Alex discovered in the first book of this series. I’m pretty sure that as soon as I finished Ninth House I went to Amazon and bought the kindle version of Hell Bent. I know I called this darkly magical, and I feel like that’s an apt description of the world in which these books occur. There is murder and lots of mayhem, and Lethe is supposed to sort it all out and make sure the blowback on Yale is minimal. Somehow Hell Bent is even darker than Ninth House. The stakes are higher, the risks are riskier, and the baddies are worse.
Alex and Dawes have a singular goal – rescue Darlington from hell. Unfortunately, nobody wants to help them, or even allow them to do it. They spend their free time between actual class and homework and observing rituals for the other houses to figure out how they’re supposed to get into hell and most importantly get back out. And then of course there are some mysterious deaths to contend with.
We also learn a heck of a lot more about Alex’s past and how it keeps creeping closer to her present. An old enemy is back in the picture and threatening her and her family. That’s just an added complication on top of all the other crap she’s sorting through. I loved the descriptions of the bad guys and the locations in this book. They were good enough that I could picture each part of the book, but not so bogged down in detail that I got bored. I think I might have to venture into other Leigh Bardugo books to keep me satisfied!