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The Left-Handed Booksellers of London
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The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

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5312835,027 (3.84)44
Medlem:mikaylag
Titel:The Left-Handed Booksellers of London
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The Left-Handed Booksellers of London av Garth Nix

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Readers follows the journey of Susan Arkshaw, an 18-year old country raised girl, about to begin art school in London. She has come early to search for a father she's never known, with a mother, who has been vague about him. While visiting Uncle Frank, a notorious gangster, she sees him killed by a silver pin, and is immersed in the dangers of the world of magic. Susan is drawn to the handsome Merlin St. Jacques (a left handed bookseller) and his twin sister, Vivien (a right handed bookseller), who help maintain order in London, with the help of a special police detachment. Garth Nix draws readers into this world, as Susan seems to be targeted for death without knowing why. She is dragged off by urchins to a land beyond time, only to be rescued through advice from Merlin and her own powers of observation. Susan also helps uncover treachery in the ranks of booksellers before a final showdown with the Ancient Ones as she discovers the truth about her father and herself. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
I love books ABOUT books. I also love Garth Nix's writing, so of course, the combination of the two caught my eye.

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London held up to most of my expectations. Nix wasted no time launching us into the plot. Susan, our protagonist, finds herself in the midst of the action just pages in, although the why takes a bit longer to unravel.

This story is fun, fast-paced, and big on fantasy creatures, action. It also has a likable cast of characters, including the quirky, over the top, and (possibly) gender-fluid Merlin (I was never quite certain) and Merlin's more level-headed, strong sister Vivien. This book has everything! For starters, there are gun-slinging, sword-swinging left-handed booksellers and magical and clever right-handed booksellers. All in all, this book has a whole cast of fascinating characters.

This is a very plot-driven novel with excellent world-building. The characters jump rapidly from one dangerous situation into another. In the first half of the novel, bit by bit and danger by danger, the world of the booksellers is revealed to Susan. Including, of course, how the layers of the different worlds interact.

While this looks to be classified as Teens and YA, it easily crosses over into adult reading. (In all honestly, I couldn't tell from the reading whether it was YA or not!) Nix wraps up everything neatly in the end, tying together both Merlin's questions about his mother's death and Susan's search for her father. This looks to be a stand-alone novel, but I still hope to see more of Susan, Merlin, and Vivien in the bookseller's world.

While I loved these characters, I would have liked more character development, particularly for Merlin and Vivien (backstories and the story of their mother). There's so much action that I'm not seeing Nix's usual detail to his characters. I suppose that's why I'd love to see more books about Susan and the booksellers!

I thoroughly enjoyed The Left-Handed Booksellers of London. It was a fast-paced, engaging, and delightful light fantasy read, perfect for YA readers of all ages. I'm giving this 4.5 stars (rounding up to five for Goodreads and bookseller reviews.) ( )
  jenncaffeinated | Jul 4, 2021 |
Susan Arkshaw always wanted to track down her father. She had a list of possible male contacts from her very spacy mother whom she always suspected of taking too many drugs in her youth.

When she traveled to London to meet the first and most likely candidate, she found herself in a dangerous situation and was rescued by the attractive Merlin St. Jacques.

Merlin is one of the ‘left-handed booksellers of London’ – known for being the action and adventure branch of a magical family.

It’s not an easy journey to discover her true father. There is danger and death, betrayals, many plot twists and turns and a satisfying bit of romance. It appears that Susan herself has very ancient magic in her genes.

Light summer YA read. I couldn’t resist the description of book sellers and magic, but it took until I was halfway through the book for me to become invested in the story. ( )
  streamsong | Jul 4, 2021 |
Susan Arkshaw has turned 18 and headed to London to try to find her father. Her mother is a little spacy and doesn't give Susan much info to help in the search so she is left with just a postcard from a "friend" of her father's. Before Susan can gather more information she is confronted by a young man who informs her of danger and helps her escape to where she is introduced to the Left-handed Booksellers who will protect her on her search.

Several items in this book bothered me. First, even though it is science fiction, I felt that it was a bit too graphic and frightening in some areas for the younger readers (It frightened me in spots!) and second, it was hard to follow in some areas. I felt that it could have stood a little more editing.

Disappointing for a fan of Garth Nix. ( )
  cyderry | Jun 3, 2021 |
In a 1983 that is perhaps slightly different from the one we remember, Susan Arkshaw turns 18 on May 1, and shortly thereafter goes to London. In three months, she'll be starting art school. In the meantime, she wants to find her father, whom she has never met and about whom her mother has told her almost nothing, including not telling her even his first name.

She does have some clues, though, including a few items that may have belonged to her father, and the name and address of one potential candidate--"Uncle" Frank Tingley, who sent her cards at Christmas for years. When she reaches his home, though, she finds that "Uncle" Frank does not seem at all a likely possibility, and moreover seems to be a rather creepy person she'd rather not be associated with. As she's preparing to sneak out of the house, a very attractive young man comes in, and sticks Frank with a pin, which causes him to disintegrate into dust--which is not the kind of creepy Susan had been worried about.

Soon the young man, who says his name is Merlin, is leading her on an escape from beings who came in after Frank disintegrated. Their pursuers are a dark cloud and a huge, bug-like creature, and their escape route is only superficially more natural. When what might be a park ranger shoots at Susan, not Merlin, Merlin decides she needs to meet some unlikely people.

Merlin St. Jacques is one of the left-handed booksellers of London, part of a large, extended clan that includes the right-handed booksellers of London. These booksellers are engaged in more than just selling books; they are protecting the world from supernatural destabilization.

It appears one of the ancient Sovereigns, the powers most capable of destabilizing things, and some of whom are actively malevolent, is taking an unusual and worrying interest in Susan

What follows is terror, adventure, betrayal, magical places and experiences, and disturbing revelations about Susan's background, as well as intrigue among the booksellers. Meanwhile, there's no question that Susan and Merlin are finding each other interesting. Yet they are rather distracted by other things, and Susan is not at all sure that Merlin would sustain anything other than a very short-term relationship.

On the other hand, the fact that Merlin is considering changing from male to female in the indeterminate future, and in the meantime seems to enjoy wearing dresses and suits in about equal measure, doesn't appear to strike either Susan or anyone else as a possible obstacle to a romantic relationship between them.

It's fun, it's interesting, the characters are great, and it really kept me listening the whole time.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook. ( )
  LisCarey | May 16, 2021 |
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To Anna, Thomas and Edward;

my parents, Henry and Katharine Nix;

my brothers Simon and Jonathan and their families;

and to all my family and friends.
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It was 5:42 a.m. on May Day, 1983, in the west of England, and a sliver of the sun had edged above the ridge.
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