Thursday, March 16, 2023

ARC Review: The Sinister Booksellers of Bath by Garth Nix

The Sinister Booksellers of Bath

Garth Nix
Series: Left-Handed Booksellers of London (Book 2)
Publication: HarperTeen (March 21, 2023)

Description: Return to the enchanting world of The Left-Handed Booksellers of London in this sequel by Garth Nix, bestselling master of teen fantasy, where once again a team of booksellers must fight to keep dangerous magic under cover before the stuff of legends destroys our world.

There is often trouble of a mythical sort in Bath. The booksellers who police the Old World keep a careful watch there, particularly on the entity that inhabits the ancient hot spring.

This time trouble comes from the discovery of a sorcerous map, leading left-handed bookseller Merlin into great danger, requiring a desperate rescue attempt from his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, and art student Susan Arkshaw, who is still struggling to deal with her own recently discovered magical heritage.

The map takes the trio to a place separated from this world, maintained by deadly sorcery and guarded by monstrous living statues. But this is only the beginning. To unravel the secrets of a murderous Ancient Sovereign, the booksellers must investigate centuries of disappearances and deaths. If they do not stop her, she will soon kill again. And this time, her target is not an ordinary mortal.

My Thoughts: This story begins with a magical map discovered in one of the bookshops in Bath which leads to Merlin getting sucked into a pocket world. To get him back, his sister Vivien has to recruit art student Susan Arkshaw to use her newly discovered magical powers to get him back. 

They are successful but draw the attention of the magical being who created the map and who has a plan to live forever. Sacrificing Susan will make those plans a reality. The booksellers have until midwinter to find and stop this plan.

The story is filled with great worldbuilding and lots and lots of different magical beings. Susan has been trying to keep her distance because she very much wants to live an ordinary human life. But that is looking less and less likely to be possible if she keeps being a target. 

The story is packed with adventures enough to keep anyone turning the pages. Susan's struggle and how she comes to terms with it adds a lot of depth to the story too. 

Fantasy fans will enjoy this engaging story.

Favorite Quote:
"We cannot risk another demi-mortal usurping or abrogating her powers," continued Una, speaking more loudly. "It is no different than a judicial hanging. Gwyre and Frances have murdered twenty-six people."

"Apart from the minor detail that there'll be no trial beforehand and we got rid of the death penalty in 1969," said Greene.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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