Monday, September 21, 2020

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London


The Left-Handed Booksellers of London is a new urban fantasy/crossworlds mashup by Garth Nix. Due out 22nd Sept 2020 from HarperCollins Children's imprint, it's 416 pages (hardcover) and will be available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

Probably 80% of what I read and review is speculative fiction and murder mysteries. Of the SF/fantasy, urban fantasy is my favorite. Give me hobgoblins in Edinburgh, talking rats in the subway, genii locorum (yes, I had 7 years of formal Latin, sorry), or semi-mythical librarians/booksellers/archivists, and it's like catnip. This is that...lots and lots of that. I started reading and was delighted, quickly enraptured, and then spellbound. I stayed up way too late reading.

The plotting and nuts-and-bolts construction are well engineered and all the moving parts work. The dialogue is well done and doesn't devolve into pure annoying sarcastic snark at any point. There's a fair bit of violence and gore, but it's not egregious or overly graphic. I would put it around the PG-13 level. The language is somewhat rough (again, used in context). There is no sexual content.   

There will absolutely be comparisons to Miéville's Un Lun Dun, and Aaronvitch's Rivers of London, and Gaiman's Neverwhere, but while I can say that fans of those esteemed worthies will find a lot to love here, Nix brings his own (inimitable) distinct narrative and it's original and enjoyable and fresh. It's not explicitly foreshadowed, but I hope this will be a long and very prolific series. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next.

I really really enjoyed this one. Four stars, a strong series (I hope) start.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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