Thursday, November 10, 2016

Book Review: Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix

Ahh...librarians. The angels of the book world. When a reader is down and doesn’t know where to look for their next reading adventure, the librarian will always be there to give some advice. Newt’s Emerald was one of those happy accidents that fell into my hands because of a librarian who took pity on me and asked if I needed some help. And then, she placed six other books in my hands before I walked out the door. *sigh* I will definitely be busy for a while.

Newt’s Emerald is a Regency era fantasy/mystery/adventure that follows Lady Truthful “Newt” Newington. When the story begins, Lady Truthful has just turned eighteen and is set to inherit her family’s greatest treasure. The rare and beautiful Emerald that has been passed down among the ladies in her family for generations. What makes it special? The Emerald gives the wearer magical powers to control the weather. Unfortunately for Lady Truthful, on the evening of her birthday party, the Emerald is stolen and she and her cousins set out to reclaim the Emerald from the thief who stole it. When she arrives in London to begin her search, Lady Truthful joins forces with Major Harnett to recover the Emerald before the thief manages to discover how to use it and wreak havoc on the country.

Newt’s Emerald has all of the elements that I love in a book. It is a mystery, takes place in Regency London, weaves magic into everyday life, and features a main character who is equally strong and flawed. If you’re looking for adventure, you are not going to be disappointed. Throughout the story there is a kidnapping, an escape from a ship at sea, espionage, our heroine dressing as a man, romance, and heartbreak. Add a dragon and maybe a tsunami and you have more than you could ask for! Oh, wait. There is a tsunami. My bad.

If I could sum up Newt’s Emerald in one word, it would be “cute.” I enjoyed the fantastical elements the author placed into the story that kept it from being just another Regency romance. However, sometimes the events in the novel seemed a little too convenient and the characters didn’t quite have the development that I was hoping for from beginning to end. For example, toward the end of the story, it is made abundantly clear to Lady Truthful that her life is in danger, and she needs to stay put. Major Harnett even places her within viewing distance of the event to satisfy her curiosity, but Lady Truthful decides to abandon the room and go chasing after someone who has the ability to kill her with just a touch. This didn’t seem realistic to me from a human standpoint.

That being said, I did enjoy Newt’s Emerald. It was a fun story that read very easily and felt like a fairy tale your grandmother would have made up at your bedside. Fantastical, yes. Slightly unbelievable, yes. But that’s what fantasies are for, yes?

Emily writes almost all of her reviews sitting at the computer bank in her local library. She enjoys people watching and loves it when people ask her what she is working on. If you haven’t been to your library in a while, take an hour, go sit in a comfy chair, and people watch. It will make for a highly entertaining afternoon!

1 comment:

  1. My hometown and the town I now live in both have unique libraries.

    My hometown library the Haskell Free Library and Opera House spans two countries (US & Canada) and serves communities on both sides of the border. The floors of the library and the opera house have a line painted demarking the border. In the opera house, the stage and first few rows of seats are in Canada, the rest of the seating is in the US.

    The town I now live in has a “temple to Athena, called St. Johnsbury Athenæum. It has both a library and art gallery.

    Stepping into either one is an act of architectural time travel whisking you back to the Victorian era.