I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix
Published by Gollancz on September 22, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Young Adult
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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.
I was super excited to read The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix as he is one of my favourite authors. As soon as I got approved for this book I sat down to read as I thought that I would be in for a treat. Instead I seriously struggled with this book.
Guys, I am so disappointed. Nix is one of my favourite authors and I had to DNF one of his books! The elements were all there, an intriguing story, a mystery that needed to be solved and a dash of fantasy. But after four weeks of trying to read this book and only getting 40% through I knew it was time to stop. And when I did I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
So why didn’t I like this book? That is a question I have been asking myself. It had all the elements. But it just did not pull me in. I was interested but there was something that was holding me back.
For me the telling was just flat and jumbled. It almost felt like there was confusion over how this story was going to be told. This was especially evident when Susan the main character became confused and instead of explaining the situation there and then, got told that it would be explained later. So then, like Susan, I ended up being confused over what had just happened. And then I was further confused because we moved on.
Sadly The Left-Handed Booksellers of London was not for me. I honestly can see the potential and if you are a fan then this may be a book for you. But as a newbie to Garth Nix go read Sabriel. Unfortunately this book did feel like a pulling teeth out situation.