The Ninth House had been recommended to me by so many people and received so many awards, I finally decided to take the plunge. I ended up coming away feeling it was smart and well-written, but ultimately not for me.

The premise was interesting, mixing ghosts and magic with more traditional themes of trauma, mental illness, and abuse. Make no mistake, this is an adult book, and not for the faint-of-heart. Alex, the protagonist, is a rape survivor, and her close friends are carrying similar baggage. The book is set in and around Yale University, or rather a grimy, sordid alternate Yale, where drug trafficking and bloodletting rituals are both very common.

The world was interesting and well-detailed, though not quite enough to fully pull me in. This may in part be due to the fact that the plot is poorly paced, getting bogged down and overly-descriptive, especially in the middle part of the book.

Unfortunately, my main issue was actually not with the plot itself, but with the characters. I just simply could not relate to any of them, especially Alex, who I found to be incredibly unlikeable. It’s frustrating, because once I was no longer engaged with the characters, then it became increasingly difficult to stay engaged with the plot – I found I didn’t really care whether the murderer was found or not, or, to be honest, whether Alex would survive the whole ordeal (Sorry, Alex!).

Still, despite not holding my interest, I can see why it would appeal to others, and a TV series is in the works, so maybe when that comes out it will be worth giving it another try.