Sunday, November 1, 2015

Newt's Emerald--Shelf Awareness

New review in Shelf Awareness!

YA Review: Newt's Emerald

Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, $18.99 hardcover, 304p., ages 13-up, 9780062360045)

Esteemed Australian fantasy writer Garth Nix (Sabriel and the rest of the Old Kingdom series; A Confusion of Princes) infuses a witty, engaging 19th-century Regency romance with the right touch of magic to shake up that tried and true genre.

At the 18th birthday celebration of Lady Truthful, nicknamed Newt, her father, Admiral the Viscount Newington, wishes to show off the huge, heart-shaped and magical Newington Emerald. Unfortunately, the Admiral, a weather-wizard, inadvertently conjures up a gale, and in the ensuing chaos, the priceless stone is stolen right off the dinner table. Eager to recover the heirloom, Truthful heads to London, where she thinks the thief will go to sell it, and takes up residence at the fashionable Grosvenor Square home of her great-aunt Ermintrude. A proper lady can't exactly wander about London talking to pawnbrokers, so Ermintrude casts a glamour spell to disguise Truthful as a man, specifically her French cousin Chevalier de Vienne. With her charmed mustache in place and some sorcerous powers of her own, Truthful obtains the help of the surly but handsome Major Charles Harnett, and they set out to locate the lost emerald. They soon discover that the jewel theft may have involved a malignant sorceress and several murders! The pair encounters ruffians, turncoats and spies in their dangerous pursuit. By the end, many secrets--and secret identities--are revealed, and romance is in the air.

Newt's Emerald has all the societal trappings, banter and misconceptions necessary for a satisfying period piece, and the addition of magic--along with an appealing cast of characters--makes for a truly enjoyable, action-packed romp. --Lynn Becker, host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. 

Discover: Garth Nix mixes sorcery with a Regency romance, as Lady Truthful disguises herself as a man to track down a magical heirloom stolen from her family.

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