Post by Mark T. Locker.
Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix
Over the years, I have judiciously reported on pretty much every book Garth Nix has written. He is a fairly diverse writer, covering the realms of both fantasy and sci-fi, plus some stuff that falls in between. His most recent novel forges into new territory for Nix: the Regency romance. For those unfamiliar with this genre, think young ladies in silken gowns looking forward to being presented so they can finally partake of the waltz, which is too risqué for a young lady. Think lords and manors and balls. Now give all this a Garth Nix twist; pepper the ladies and gowns and carriages with magical intrigue and you’ve got Newt’s Emerald.
Lady Truthful Newington is about to turn eighteen and celebrate her grand coming out in London. In preparation for the event, her father brings out the valuable magical Newington Emerald which will be given to Truthful when she turns 24. Suddenly, thunder cracks, everything turns black, and the emerald is gone! Lady Truthful has to go to London empty-handed. However, her great aunt, who is a skilled if eccentric magician in her own right, concocts a plan to find the emerald. As a young lady, Truthful cannot go out on her own to seek it out. But some training, some trousers and an ensorcelled mustache can give her the glamour of a rather convincing young Frenchman, and suddenly Truthful is the Chevalier de Vienne who is helping look for his cousin’s stolen emerald.
Full of quick changes, cheeky humor from the great aunt, and a love interest who may or may not be what he seems, Newt’s Emerald is a fun and utterly harmless story. It’s so unlike anything else Nix has written that it takes a minute to adjust but he tells a fantastic tale whatever the setting. And to be honest, I’m a sucker for magical Victorian young adult lit.