Book Title: Left Handed Booksellers of London
Author: Garth Nix
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Goodreads, Amazon UK
Plot: 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.
What did I think?
Reading The Left-Handed Booksellers of London was probably some of the most fun I had throughout 2020. It didn't turn into one my favourite books, but it let me escape the real world and fly away into an alternative London.
This book is good, light-hearted fun with plenty of humour, and likeable protagonists. It's easy entertainment, basically written for a year where everything is so terrible all you want to do is give gifts to your animal neighbours living on an island inside your Switch.
Don't expect a lot of depth from the story, or well-developed characters, although the world-building is great, and I really enjoyed the premise of left-handed and right-handed booksellers. (The left-handed ones fight, while the right-handed ones think.)
Susan, the protagonist, never really grows into a fully fleshed out character, and I never felt like I really got to know her, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment.
This is only my second Garth Nix novel. and I didn't get along with Angel Mage despite being intrigued by the premise. So, really, I should say this is my first Garth Nix novel. Sabriel is waiting on my shelf, and I'm quite excited to pick it up after having read this.