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Yale University

Lethe

The titular Ninth House, responsible for monitoring the other eight Houses of the Veil and containing their power.

    Alex Stern 
The main character of the novel; the story is primarily through her point of view. A high school dropout, she jumps at the opportunity to attend Yale, offered by the Dean because of her medium abilities.


  • Ambiguously Brown: Could be interpreted thus. The text describes Alex as having olive skin and black hair and eyes; combined with her below Disappeared Dad she could be anything from half-Mexican to half-Greek to just plain ol' white with dark features.
  • Betrayal by Inaction: How Alex views her reaction to Darlington being sucked into the portal. Darlington also notes this in his final thoughts before he disappears.
  • Can't Catch Up: Alex is sharp, quick-thinking, and has clear street smarts as a result of her past. However, despite her wit and attempt to pick all easy classes, "being intelligent" is not the same as "having the skills needed to succeed in college" (writing essays, for example, needs to be taught; Alex doesn't know how). She also happens to be at Yale. As expected, she very quickly ends up on academic probation.
  • Character Title: The series title is named after her.
  • Disappeared Dad: Her father is never seen nor mentioned and her mother never gives Alex a straight answer when she asks about him. Alex suspects she might have gotten her abilities from him.
  • Fish out of Water: Alex at Yale, initially.
  • Haunted Heroine
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: A large reason why Alex goes by a common, mundane nickname as opposed to her given name Galaxy.
  • I See Dead People: Alex’s skill.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Justified as Alex's powers are highly sought-after, which is what leads to her invitation to come to Yale. The realistic outcome happens when she does have trouble keeping up with the academic rigor and ends up on academic probation.
  • The Lancer: Serves as this to Darlington, as his Dante.
  • The Lost Lenore: Hellie to Alex
  • Magnetic Medium: Ghosts threatening Alex was the cause of most of her trauma.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Darlington's blue.
  • Sketchy Successor: Alex fears she’ll be viewed as this to Darlington. She's right.
  • Stranger in a Strange School: Alex initially in the magical secret societies of Yale. She eventually proves she belongs.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Alex’s backstory. As a child, she lived with with a strange and absent mother, experienced food insecurity, all while she could see quite frankly terrifying ghosts no one else could see. CPS is called on her. She was sexually assaulted, then bullied because of it. She escapes the bullying and ghosts by using drugs and joining up with a drug dealer, who grooms and abuses her. She finally finds a friend and confidante, Hellie, only for Hellie to overdose.
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     Daniel Arlington 
The deuteragonist of the series; parts of the story are told from his point of view. He is a senior at Yale and Alex’s mentor at Lethe. He has gone missing by the time the story kicks off and is only seen in flashbacks.


  • The Ace: The ‘Gentleman of Lethe’, Darlington could definitely be considered an expert in magic and the occult. So much so that he brewed elixirs before even joining Lethe. Additionally, he’s top-performing at Yale, and very well-respected.
  • Broken Ace: Darlington is very well-respected, well-liked, and about expert at magic and the occult. He‘s also pretty messed up due to his parents' neglect and his grandfather’s abuse.
  • Cultured Badass
  • Demon of Human Origin: Revealed to have been turned into a demon when Sandow tried to kill him.
  • Married to the Job: Lethe is his passion and focus.
  • Mentor Archetype: To Alex.
    • Mentor in Sour Armor: Initially, as Alex was assigned to him, as opposed to him having a say in picking his successor.
    • Relegated Mentor: Not by his choice, but by becoming a demon.
  • Omniglot: Speaks English, Latin, Greek, Dutch, French, Mandarin, and ‘passable’ Portuguese.
  • Parental Neglect: Both of Darlington’s parents are too self-centered to be involved in his life.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Darlington’s parents are very immature, so they dumped him on his grandfather.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Alex's red.
  • Renaissance Man: Darlington is an expert in magic, extremely polite, speaks an absurd amount of languages, and plays five instruments.
  • Tragic Monster: Revealed to have been turned into a demon when Sandow tried to kill him.

     Pamela Dawes 
A research assistant, grad student, and the Oculus for Lethe.


  • Beware the Nice Ones: While it was to protect Alex, her murdering Blake lands her firmly in this category.
  • Mission Control: Her role of Oculus to the other members of Lethe. At least until Darlington disappears.
  • Nice Girl: Underneath the awkwardness, Pamela is consistently kind and helpful to Alex.
  • No Social Skills: Pamela is extremely uncomfortable with strangers, and struggles to hold conversations.

     Dean Sandow 
The dean in charge of Lethe.


  • Dean Bitterman: Bitter after his divorce.
  • Fair-Weather Mentor: Dean Sandow takes this trope next level. He tries to murder his mentee for money just because his divorce ate up his savings.

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Houses of the Veil

The Secret Societies at Yale that leverage dark occult magic and rituals for the gain of students and alumni. They are named after Real Life Secret Societies on Yale's campus.

Yale Students

    Mercy 

One of Alex's two roommates.


  • Asian and Nerdy: Highly accomplished and academic, as you'd expect a Yale student to be.
  • Brainy Brunette: Helps Alex out with academics.
  • Rape as Drama: Sexually assaulted while under the influence of Merity, a magical drug.

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Yale Faculty

     Professor Marguerite Belbalm 
A sympathetic professor for Alex.


New Haven

    Detective Abel Turner 

A police detective and contact for Lethe.


    Bertram Boyce North 
The Bridegroom.

  • Ghost Amnesia: He doesn't remember the circumstances of his or Daisy's deaths. All he knows is he didn't do it.
  • Lost Lenore: His murdered fiance, Daisy, is this for him.
  • Unfinished Business: Why he keeps coming back to the living world.
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