Friday, February 5, 2016

Reviews - Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix (Narrated by Faye Adele)

Newt's Emerald

Series: Standalone
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Purchased
Published: Katherine Tegen Books (2015) 
Hardcover - 304 pgs 
Audiobooks - 6hrs 23 min. 

Rating: 4.5 / 5

On her eighteenth birthday, Lady Truthful, nicknamed “Newt,” will inherit her family’s treasure: the Newington Emerald. A dazzling heart-shaped gem, the Emerald also bestows its wearer with magical powers.

When the Emerald disappears one stormy night, Newt sets off to recover it. Her plan entails dressing up as a man, mustache included, as no well-bred young lady should be seen out and about on her own. While in disguise, Newt encounters the handsome but shrewd Major Harnett, who volunteers to help find the missing Emerald under the assumption that she is a man. Once she and her unsuspecting ally are caught up in a dangerous adventure that includes an evil sorceress, Newt realizes that something else is afoot: the beating of her heart.

In Newt’s Emerald, the bestselling author of Sabriel, Garth Nix, takes a waggish approach to the forever popular Regency romance and presents a charmed world where everyone has something to hide. 

After reading Nix’s other series, The Old Kingdom Series, I expected something totally different from this story. To be completely honest at first I took this standalone fantasy much too seriously. A few chapters in I realized this was a lighter story with just a feather dusting of magic. After I realized this had a different tone, I had much more fun reading. In comparison to the Abhorsen Trilogy, this story was simple, but a low-key fantasy I still loved.

Young Lady Truthful is a plucky young heroine who grew on me through this book. While the book is short, Truthful has a full fledged adventure and really won me over.  She is spunky and is determined to be included in the search for the emerald without being an irritating or whiny character. She does faint quite a lot, but I think that is to be expected in a Regency era England.

There were so many things I saw coming, but I enjoyed it anyway. I fell in love with the characters and their eccentricities. The romance and plot are fun. I liked how the romance slowly gathered speed and, while noticeable, wasn’t the main focal point of the book. Truthful is focus on finding the emerald and helping her father much more than her own romantic interests.

Surprisingly, there was very little world building in this story. I was a little disappointed about that since I enjoy Nix’s world building so much in his other series. However, this story was more character centered and a standalone so I understand there wasn’t as much time to explain the magic and world. I still had a clear picture of this fantastical England and a good understanding of the magic. As a fan of Victorian England I appreciated the little touches Nix added to make this story historically accurate regarding fashion and trends.

While not as complete or complex as Nix’s other books, this story is just as enjoyable. The characters are fun and I was grinning like a fool over the romance. The narrator is ok. I did find her voice a bit irritating, but overall she read the story well. I would recommend the audiobook. 

Happy Reading!

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