Ninth House novel Summary and Theme

 Ninth House Novel Summary and Theme

Galaxy Stern, nicknamed Alex, is a young woman of mixed heritage living in California with her free-spirited mother. She sees and interacts with ghosts, which leads her to drug addiction as a means of escape. By 15, she has dropped out of school and is living with her drug dealer boyfriend and her best friend, Hellie. At an out of control party, Hellie dies from overdose after several men rape her. Traumatized and grieving, Alex lets her best friend’s ghost take over her body and, together, they kill all those responsible. Afterwards, Alex is hospitalized and arrested, but her ability to see ghosts brings her to the attention of Yale’s Lethe House, one of the secret societies dealing with magic; Dean Sandow offers her a new life and a free ride.

Lethe is the 10th society, laid out to supervise all the others. Its individuals should go about as shepherds, ensuring that everybody is leading their customs securely and no understudies or personnel are impacted by sorcery. The individual responsible for regulating the customs is customarily an upperclassman who holds the title of Virgil and who prepares a first-year understudy, or Dante, to assume up their position.

At the point when Alex shows up to Yale, Virgil is Daniel Arlington, or Darlington, a neighborhood young fellow from a devastated group of previous industrialists, who has lived alone at a summary house not a long way from grounds since his granddad's demise quite a while back. Darlington is known as the "noble man of Lethe" due to his immaculate habits and upstanding person. His whole life he has been entranced with sorcery and the mysterious and has fostered a romanticized vision of death and the extraordinary. Darlington's errand is to prepare Alex to have his spot, however he is not ready for a road savvy and disgusting young lady of blended legacy without even a GED. After a rough beginning, nonetheless, Darlington and Alex figure out how to cooperate and, step by step, come to see each other better.

Following a couple of months, a standard check turns out badly and Darlington vanishes. Dignitary Sandow accepts an entry has turned out badly and readies a service to bring the young fellow back at the following new moon. In any case, the custom appears to come up short and what shows up rather is a hellbeast, which the dignitary effectively ousts.

Meanwhile, Alex is responsible for ensuring every general public plays out its ceremonies in a protected way. Nonetheless, she is overpowered by her homework and frequently arrives behind schedule to occasions. One night, during a guess custom for anticipating the securities exchanges through vivisection, Alex sees that the phantoms, or Grays, are acting in a bizarre way. That very evening, a nearby young lady named Tara is killed not a long way from the Yale exercise center. Alex researches the case, as the dead lady helps her firmly to remember her companion Hellie.

The examination seriously endangers Alex when somebody attempts to kill her. A neighborhood phantom, the Groom, who purportedly killed his money and afterward himself over 100 years back, helps her out and they hammer out an agreement. As a trade-off for his finding Tara's soul on the opposite side, Alex will research the Spouse's case — the phantom accepts that another person killed him and his life partner Daisy.

Ultimately, Alex figures out that Tara's homicide is the consequence of Senior member Sandow's requirement for cash after his separation. One of the social orders lost its central command some time back and wants another one. Accepting that the power nexuses on which every one of the Houses stand occurred after the passings of a few young ladies, Dignitary Sandow organized to kill Tara on an unfilled plot of land. In any case, the homicide didn't prevail with regards to making a position of force.

At the point when Alex defies Senior member Sandow at the President's home, another teacher, Marguerite Belbalm, goes along with them and uncovers that she is, as a matter of fact, Daisy, and that the nexuses are the consequence of her eating up the spirits of the dead young ladies. She kills the senior member and endeavors to eat up Alex, however Alex approaches the dead for help, liberating the spirits the teacher had retained. The more established lady crumbles.

A couple of days after the fact, at the dignitary's burial service, Alex imparts to other two young ladies engaged with Lethe that a hellbeast sent by Senior member Sandow consumed Darlington, who figured out how to endure the experience and is presently in Damnation in the pretense of a man of his word evil spirit. Them three intend to bring him back.

The book opens with notices of blood, setting a shocking state of mind. The main passage presents hero System Harsh, or Alex for short, who is stayed in a mystery room called the Box on the Yale grounds in late-winter. The Pen is a space on the second floor of a business fabricating that has been charmed not to let smells from its different organizations enter the mystery room.

Alex is genuinely harmed and stowing away from something. To take a break she peruses whatever is within reach, including the handout Recommended Prerequisites for Lethe Competitors. From her insights, obviously Lethe is a House — one of Yale's mysterious social orders managing sorcery. In the wake of perusing the record and discovering some marginalia, she reviews a horrible memory — blood on the rug and somebody's white bones standing out.

After her flashback, Alex feels unwell and goes to the restroom to take a zolpidem pill. While there, she checks out at herself in the mirror: She is wounded and her tank top is "stained yellow with discharge" (3). There is a tainted chomp twisted in her side. The intelligent piece of her psyche is worried about her demolishing state of being, yet she feels excessively wrecked to make a difference. All things being equal, she pushes on her injury and blacks out structure the aggravation.

The last paragraph explains that Alex is experiencing the result of the events that took place several months prior “on a night in the full dark of winter” when someone named Tara Hutchins died (4). 

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Ninth House Character Analysis


Alex is the protagonist of the novel. She grew up Los Angeles, California. Her grandmother is Jewish Ladino and her father is Hispanic. As a child, she was plump, but as an adult, Alex is thin and wiry, with long black hair and tattoos covering her arms. She has the ability to see Greys, or ghosts, which causes her terrible problems as a child and teenager. Alex has no friends and is bullied at school. Eventually, she discovers that taking drugs dulls her supernatural affinity, and spirals into addiction. When her mother Mira tries to force 15-year-old Alex into a rehab center, Alex runs away from home.

Alex moves in with Len, her drug dealer and boyfriend. Len expects her to sell and deliver drugs and to prostitute herself for his benefit. There is no indication in the text that Alex loves or even likes Len, but she has no other place to go to and being homeless is not an option. Most of Alex’s feelings revolve around her best friend Hellie; their physical closeness hints at romantic desire.

After Alex takes deadly supernatural revenge for Hellie’s rape and death, Yale’s Lethe society recruits her to become its new Dante—a freshman who apprentices to becomes the head of supernatural policing on campus. Despite Alex’s lack of academic credentials, her enormous power is too attractive for the society to resist.    


Alex feels solidarity with other young women, and her actions are typically in service of protecting women who have been hurt, like Daisy, Mercy, and Hellie. 


Darlington is a senior at Yale who comes from a now impoverished family of former New Haven industrialists who used to own a successful rubber boot factory. Darlington was brought up in a big, old mansion by his strict paternal grandfather and a housekeeper; his parents are too busy traveling and enjoying their glamorous life in the city. After his grandfather’s death, Darlington refuses to give up the mansion, spending the last two years of high school living completely alone on his own and struggling to sustain himself.

His upbringing and teenage experiences have shaped Darlington into a self-sufficient, studious, and courteous young man, earning him the moniker the “Gentleman of Lethe” (172). He has always been fascinated with the supernatural and almost dies in his first attempt to brew an elixir that would allow him to see ghosts, desperate to reach into the world beyond. As the narrator puts it, “he’d run out of things to believe in. Magic was all he had left” (231). Darlington romanticizes the supernatural and is at first jealous of Alex’s innate ability. Her lack of reverence for both Lethe and the supernatural—things he considers to be special—appalls him.

Initially, Darlington serves as a guide and mentor—the Virgil—to Alex’s novice Dante. However, when he is trapped in Hell, their roles are reversed, and Alex intends to become his savior. 


Pamela holds the title of Oculus for the Lethe society. She is a graduate student working on her dissertation on the connections between Mayan mythology and Tarot cards. Pamela likes her life to be quiet and orderly. Like Darlington, she feels reverence for Lethe and the supernatural.  

At the beginning of the novel, Pamela and Alex do not get along. However, after an unapologetic rapist attacks Alex using illegal mind control magic, Pamela reveals her inner strength when she kills the attacker and then stands up to a disbelieving Dean Sandow. Like Alex, Pamela has a strong sense of right and wrong; she is ready to go to great lengths to achieve justice. 


The true antagonist of the novel, Professor Marguerite Belbalm, turns out to be the ghost of 19th century young woman who has taken over the souls and bodies of other young women in order to extend her life and gain magical power. In her first life as Daisy Fanning Whitlock, she had the same supernatural power as Alex—the ability to interact with ghosts. Daisy escaped an unwanted marriage by pushing a ghost into her fiancĂ©, the man who became the ghostly Bridegroom. When her identity and murderous nature is revealed, Belbalm explains that people with the ability to see and influence ghosts are Wheelwalkers; they can create portals into other realms without extensive rituals.

Belbalm would have been the perfect mentor for Alex—an idea Belbalm dangles in front of Alex to gain her trust. Alex looks up to Professor Belbalm as the epitome of a successful and independent woman who does not rely on any man. However, as it turns out, the professor is a serial killer who has been grooming Alex as her next victim. 


Sandow, “a small, tidy man with the trim build of a jogger and silvery brows that steepled at the center of his forehead” (186), is the dean of one of the Yale colleges, a very prestigious position. He is also a Lethe alum who fashioned new rituals as a student in the 1970s. After returning to Yale as an associate professor, he has served as the liaison between Lethe and the university president. He is recently divorced from his wife whom he “nursed through two bouts of cancer” (424).

On the surface, the dean seems like a fatherly figure, but he turns out to be a murderous villain. To pay off the divorce and alimony costs, Sandow promises to find the St. Elmo’s society a clubhouse on a new source of magic power called a nexus. Believing that nexuses form after young women are murdered, he kills a young woman named Tara, sends a hellbeast after Alex and Darlington to keep them off his trail, and engineers several attacks on Alex. His confession at the novel’s end shows that he is just as selfish and uncaring as most of the other men depicted in the book.

Ninth House Themes


The theme of privilege and responsibility shapes the novel’s world.

Many characters in the clever show no comprehension of the results of their activities, too gullible or excessively self centered to feel liable for their way of behaving. The youngsters at Yale can bear to act severely without being rebuffed for their wrongdoings — Blake assaults a more youthful person for sport, and the students. In the mean time, in L.A., Len and his street pharmacist companions are additionally without any awareness of others' expectations towards more youthful ladies in their circle. Len damages to Hellie for his own progression in his criminal association. The principal contrast among Len and Blake is honor. The college safeguards Blake on account of his athletic abilities, while Len needs to find his own all the more remarkable defenders in the higher-positioning figures of his medication managing ring.

Alex is the main person who has direct insight of the two universes: destitution and chronic drug use, and riches and honor. Her encounters permit her a reasonable view and comprehension of the inadequacies of Yale, taken cover behind its lavish design and style. Alex holds her feeling of obligation in her new life at Yale, seeing what is fair and just and battling for the proper thing. It is Alex's awareness of certain expectations towards Hellie and Tara, two unfortunate ladies without associations, that prompts her unwinding the well established debasement riddling Lethe.


Friendship and loyalty trigger the major events in the novel. Furious at losing her best friend Hellie, Alex allows her ghost to possess and commit multiple murders—a spectacular display of supernatural powers that catches the attention of Yale’s Lethe society. Exacting vengeance for her roommate Mercy’s rape leads Alex to battle the murderous Blake. Pamela’s friendship with Alex motivates Pamela to defend Alex and cause Blake’s death.

Romantic love is mostly absent in the novel, which features a chain of failed love stories, including Alex’s parents and Alex’s connection with Len and Hellie. The only explicit example is the Bridegroom’s love for Daisy, but this is just a romanticized illusion: He had not known his fiancĂ©e at all and, consequently, his love for her could not have been real. Alex’s feelings for Darlington could be the one exception, but since their emotions remain unarticulated, we can only speculate about their future. 


Enslavement in the original comes in many structures. Alex's chronic drug use is a method for packing down her enchanted powers. Her mom Mira draws a lined up among fixation and her adoration for Alex's dad (402). The mystery social orders' customs feed ethically dark requirements through rehashed hindering demonstrations. Tara and her beau utilize the illegal substances they develop to get away from the limits of their impasse lives genuinely. At last, Darlington's most memorable effort to mix an elixir in spite of the peril recommends that he is dependent on enchantment.

The way that enslavement can take various structures and isn't restricted to one specific social class questions the disgrace related with destitution and medications. The way that the general public individuals fiddling with the powerful are rich and taught doesn't make them unrivaled. As a matter of fact, the more remarkable a fiend is, the more harm they cause to everyone around them.


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