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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 best-selling master of 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.
"Garth Nix sets the standard for Fantasy." (Leigh Bardugo)
"Garth Nix is one of the best world-builders in fantasy." (Brandon Sanderson)
Ce que les auditeurs disent de The Left-Handed Booksellers of London
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enjoyable light sci-fi fantasy
nothing complex about this story, it is light hearted and enjoyable easy read from first to last page. a combination of Neil Gaiman and Ben aaronovitch writing style is about the right description of the overall style of writing in this book.
looking forward to any further books should the author consider making it a series.
Not especially clever
I usually like (or even love) books by Garth Nix. All of his Old Kingdom books and stories are exceptional. I love their atmosphere and most of their characters. Angel Mage was interesting but sadly it seems a stand-alone book. But here, the Left-Handed Booksellers of London is compared to the above mentioned titles flat and almost uninteresting. Characters are moving around a lot, there's a lot of dialogue. But I feel no real urgency in their actions. They just wander/run/drive/fly from one calamity to the next and we're riding along for the explanations and yelling and crying and...
There are good bits though, and these I loved. The scene at the mountain for example. I just wish there were more story with real meat on its bones, as opposed to the fluffy cotton candy the rest is made of. Don't get me wrong: there's action, there's blood, there's death and a lot of world-building, as the saying goes. It just lacks the spark I had hoped to jump over to me.
Compare his Old Kingdom novels, heck, take one of his short stories or novellas to Left-Handed Booksellers and you'll notice the difference. The richness, the depth, how you care for the characters. Here, I had a hard time wanting to finish the story, but I soldiered through.
Because everyone can have a bad day, I'm not angry, but I think of this book as a missed opportunity. Someone else wrote in their review, and I paraphrase, "Left-Handed Booksellers are at the low end of the Young Adult scale of books". I wish I had thought of writing that, because I tend to agree.