Review: Newt’s Emerald, by Garth Nix

October 25, 2015 Review 0

Review: Newt’s Emerald, by Garth NixNewt's Emerald by Garth Nix
Published by HarperCollins on October 13th 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 304
Source: Edelweiss
Sexual Content: None.
Reviewed by: Kim
4 Stars

Inspired by the works of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen, Garth Nix's Newt's Emerald is a Regency romance with a fantasy twist. New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger calls it "charming; quite, quite charming." After Lady Truthful's magical Newington Emerald is stolen from her she devises a simple plan: go to London to recover the missing jewel. She quickly learns, however, that a woman cannot wander the city streets alone without damaging her reputation, and she disguises herself as a mustache-wearing man. During Truthful's dangerous journey she discovers a crook, an unsuspecting ally, and an evil sorceress—but will she find the Emerald?

With high action, loveable characters (and some quite despicable ones), and an Austen-like setting, NEWT'S EMERALD is a fun ride that is perfect for younger readers, while still having enough to interest adult readers.

It's a good thing that Truthful grew up with a gaggle of boisterous boy cousins; when her family's heirloom emerald is stolen, dressing up as a boy to scour the streets of London is as easy as donning a glamour-enchanted mustache and imitating her cousins.

I really enjoyed the low-key magic in this book; average ladies could enchant themselves with a glamour to be more attractive, some of the characters could speak with animals (but not quite control them), and certain items could cancel out all magic just by touching the skin of the caster. It was all very consistent and never once was I left frustrated that magic was or wasn't used to get out of a situation. It shows that the book was properly planned and excecuted by Nix, who has tons of experience with world-building from his Abhorsen series.

The Austen-esque setting was lovely, complete with glamorous balls, trash-talking ton, and a thrilling conclusion in the seaside town of Brighton. Nix breaks away from the strict Austen setting though by also including vicious pirates (and daring escapes!), over-the-top costume balls and shootouts in dark alleys.

I would recommend this book to younger readers with more advanced reading skills. It does take a bit of patience to get through some of the book, if only because there are lots of characters and Truthful, when she is being herself, has lots of very proper things to do. It's not as difficult as reading an Austen novel; if they can sit through a film version of Pride and Prejudice, they'll love it.

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