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Publisher's Summary

A girl's quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England when it intrudes on the modern world. From the best-selling master of teen fantasy, Garth Nix.

In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn't get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones) are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan's search for her father begins with her mother's possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan's. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.

©2020 Garth Nix (P)2020 Listening Library

What listeners say about The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

The younger end of YA

I enjoy YA stories, provided they're dynamic, engaging and the characters are not dumbed down for a specific audience. Take the initial Abhorsen trilogy as an example. _Excellent_ story with real life issues a child, tween, teen and young adult has to deal with through the course of the adventure. The stories never felt hobbled or the characters thoughts and feelings restricted. It's very engaging throughout and relatable to all readers, no matter their age. Unfortunately The Left-Handed Booksellers of London falls short of that kind of storytelling. It has many interesting and fascinating premises, but its main characters are neutered. And dumbed down. (Bummer.) It started out strong, then quickly lost color and vividness, till I felt like I was listening to an after school special. Which is a pity. I would have loved another adventure along the lines of Sabriel. The story could have been made more dynamic if it had an excellent narrator to spice things up, but unfortunately Marisa Calin's narration is fair at best. Her male voices are not believable and her voices for the two main female characters sounded the same. But! Many of her supporting characters are crisp, distinct and enjoyable to listen to, making me wish her performance had been more consistent throughout.

4 people found this helpful

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An odd blend of various fairy-tales and RPOne

An odd blend of varied fairy-tales, Thor, Harry Potter and Ready Player One. Overall, Bizarre.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Nothing I read has been able to retain my interest lately until this one.

1 person found this helpful

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absolutely delightful

This was delightful and zipped along at a breakneck pace from beginning to end, which is how I ended up listening to an audiobook in just 3 days. From the first, I adored everything about this novel. The entire concept of the Left-Handed Booksellers, both selling books and keeping the Old World and its entities (benign and malevolent) in check. Merlin, in particular, a charming gender-fluid Left-Handed Bookseller and rogue who gives off definite Doctor Who vibes. The Tenth Doctor, maybe, or Captain Jack. His and Susan's mutual simmering attraction gets hints and nods and stolen moments here and there - my absolute favorite sort of love story. I hated to stop listening. I'm so glad I decided to stick with the audiobook, even though I wasn't keen on the narrator at first. She grew on me. This is one I'll definitely be listening to again, and perhaps I'll even go back and finish/reread the Sabriel books.

1 person found this helpful

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Very clever title

Take the concept of a lost princess searching for her father and give it a twist: make her of post-secondary age. Add a fey police force and a character like Ghibli's Wizard Howl. The characters blame children's fantasy writers like Lewis, Tolkien, Nesbit etc for making life more difficult for them. I blame Percy Jackson, Nick Gautier, and Artemis Fowl (and Holly) for giving this story a familiar feel. If the aforementioned names are unfamiliar to you, this book will seem like a clever enjoyable read instead of just being enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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A Fun Caper- if a little too well performed

In the vein of Sabriel, Garth Nix returns to old favorites: a young innocent heroine, thrust into a fantastical otherworld, where she must discover and harness her own inner power— oh and don’t forget the mysterious absent father. If not novel, the story is entertaining and enjoyable. Granted, I tend to be a sucker for magical beings inhabiting old London (Neverwhere being a favorite). With appropriate expectations, this story delivers what it promises. My only real complaint was with one aspect of the narration. Often the characters are described as being quite loud, singing out of key, or otherwise making annoying sounds. The narrator performed these sections a little too well. In particular, I didn’t relish 30 minutes of one character singing his dialogue off key, while another shouted her response, and a third droned on monotonously. If the author had written the book for audible, I think he might have subjected us to a bit less of this. The effect was a little too bracing when performed so accurately. Otherwise, a competent narrator and a fun listen.

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A clever new take on London

I quite liked this book. It was a clever new take on urban fantasy/alternate history of England. Definitely influenced by Suzanne Cooper and maybe a little bit of The Librarian. It was well written with compelling scenery and descriptions. I hope that this author will do a sequel.

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  • JH
  • 11-17-20

Wonderful

Great audible. Great story. Don’t let the description deter you. It’s way better than it sounds. I had to spend a credit and knew Garth Nix is always a good choice so I chose this one. It was great!

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Another Excellent Work by Nix

Fun, creative, and wonderfully paced with a great cast of characters. Definitely leaves you wishing it was a new series.

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Could not have been better!

Engaging from start to finish, I couldn't stop listening. The booksellers were such a cool concept, I really much enjoyed diving into this world.