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Book review: Ninth House

22 Jan 2020 / 10:21 H.

By K.K. WONG

IF YOU love all things magic, then read on. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo is as magical and mystical as they come, and although I had a shaky start with it (because it jumped right into the action without so much as an introduction as to what was happening), I quickly got hooked.

Basically, there are eight societies at Yale University that have been operating from the shadows, serving the elite and shaping the course of history.

They are known Houses of the Veil, and each has its own function and rituals.

The Lethe is the Ninth House, and was formed to monitor the rites and practices of these societies that traffic in magic, divination and otherworldly discourses, with the express intent of keeping citizens and students safe from mental, physical, and spiritual harm and to foster amicable relations between the societies and the school administration.

A plan for Yale was created that included safe houses and tunnels for Lethe, built throughout the campus.

Knowledge from each of the societies created a storehouse of arcane magic for use by the deputies of Lethe.

The societies tap a new delegation of seniors every year, 16 members – eight women and eight men. Lethe taps a single new member known as Dante, a freshman, every three years.

He or she is initiated into the job by the previous Dante, who would have since graduated to become Virgil.

Daniel Darlington, the current Dante, is to pick his successor and is looking forward to the moment when he can become Virgil.

Enter Galaxy Stern, known as Alex. She is not exactly what Daniel is looking for. He doesn’t even consider Alex to be proper Yale material.

She has a sordid past, is into drugs, has a bad reputation and can be totally offensive.

But she can see Grays (aka spirits or ghosts) without having to take a vile potion.

So despite hiccups, their new lives as Virgil and Dante go on ... until the disappearance of Daniel and the murder of a young woman, which throws this carefully hidden world of privilege, power and the occult into chaos ...

The book moves at a fast pace and between flashbacks that quickly fill in the blanks, and new surprises popping up every now and then, not to mention and twists and turns of the plot that is peppered deliciously with humour, Ninth House is one book you might find hard to put down.

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