Title: The Left-Handed Booksellers of London
Author: Garth Nix
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Page Count: 408
My rating: 3 stars
About the book:
A girl’s quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England when it intrudes on the modern world. From the bestselling master of teen fantasy, Garth Nix.
In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.
Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.
Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.
Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix is a young adult historical fantasy standalone novel. The story in this one is set in 1983 making it historical but is a alternate version of history in the city of London.
Susan Arkshaw has been working to track down just who her father is not having ever known the man. Susan has made it to London and found a man, Frank Thringley, she thinks may know something when that man is struck down into a cloud of dust before her very eyes. This is when Susan is pulled into a whole world of magic she never knew existed.
Being someone who normally loves to find an action packed adventure while reading I was surprised to find I didn’t end up enjoying this one more as it was one long adventure story. However, the book seemed to get off to a very slow start, one in which it felt as if dropped right into the middle of something. I think that for me if this one had a smoother start I would have been pulled in quicker but instead once the story flowed at a better rate I was just kind of so-so on the characters and adventure making this one just an ok read.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Garth Nix has worked as a bookseller, book sales representative, publicist, editor, marketing consultant and literary agent. He also spent five years as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve. A full-time writer since 2001, more than five million copies of his books have been sold around the world and his work has been translated into 40 languages. Garth’s books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly (US), The Bookseller(UK), The Australian and The Sunday Times (UK). He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and two children.
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