I love holidays. It’s a chance to put put feet up and relax a bit and read. More so this Christmas break because my part of Sydney found itself in semi-lockdown. When faced with dodgy weather and nowhere to go, its a perfect opportunity to hit that pile of unread books that’s been growing beside my bed.
Just by chance, the three books on the top of to read list were all written by Australians, and they were awesome. If the rest of 2021’s offerings are like this I may never get any work done!
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix
I am not sure I’ve ever reviewed any of Garth Nix’s books here, which is odd because he’s one of my favourite authors. One of his series I enjoyed the most was The Keys to the Kingdom, where he managed to twist life as we know it just slightly, pulling us into strange and unusual world lying just beneath the surface of our own.
When I read the blurb of The Left-Handed Booksellers of London I could not put the book down, literally, and I hadn’t even gone into the bookshop to get anything for me! Who can blame me though. A story with; booksellers and bookshops (tick), London(one of my favourite cities) and supernatural beings (tick again). Top that off with a writer who has already shown he can create amazing characters and worlds—well that was it.
I started the book, and that was that, pretty much for the rest of the day. To say I got lost in Garth Nix’s alternative eighties London wouldn’t be too far from the truth. I went on an amazing journey with my new wannabe best friends Susan, an art student looking for her father who gets caught up in something weird when Merlin (yes Merlin but not that one) appears in her life. Merlin is a suavely dressed left-handed bookseller, not to be confused with the right-handed ones, and he is chasing down leads to find out happened to his mother in his spare time. Susan is told she should forget she even knows about booksellers, only she can’t, because now she knows about them, some weird things are happening and she seems to be at the centre of it.
I would recommend this book for well everyone. It’s one you want to tell everyone about and you wish they’d all read it so you can all talk about it. In reality though, anyone who loves a bit of a supernatural read will love this book.
The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kauffman and Meagan Spooner
When I saw The Other Side of the Sky on the shelf at the bookstore (yes, I was still Christmas shopping and shouldn’t even have been looking), I didn’t have to read the blurb, I just bought it. When I finished reading Amie Kaufaman and Megan Spooners Starbound Trilogy I felt like I lost really good friend. When I saw they had started a new one, I felt like I had found one.
The Other Side of the Sky is, in essence, a science fantasy love story about Nimh who is from the surface world, and North who is from the sky world. If it were that simple, it would still be a great love story.
Add into the mix the fact that Nimh is a living goddess who is supposed to be saving her people, but doesn’t know how, and North is a Prince who fell from the sky when trying to prove himself to his family, then it gets even better. Their complex relationship is at the centre of this story, and they are supported by a cast of characters who provide plenty of surprises and twists as North tries to find his way home and Nimh tries to save her people. Now it’s engrossing.
Set in a world of myth, mystery and magic, where Nimh and North become entwined in prophecy and plagued by the past, they don’t know who to trust, or whether they can even trust each other.
I admit, I started this in the morning and only broke for food and coffee. That evening I put it down and cursed. Now I have to wait for the next book to find out what happens. If you enjoy a science fantasy love story, you will love this. If you just enjoy a good love story, or you love a good mystery, you should give it a try.
Into the Mists by Serene Conneeley
My final holiday book was Into the Mists, and it was a complete change of pace. I loaded this onto my kindle because I loved Serene Conneeley’s Swan Maiden book, and I was intrigued because this story sounded so completely different. I was surprised to find it wasn’t.
Both books deal with girls grieving for lost parents, and who are coming to terms with having to carry on; albeit one is a child and one is a teenager who moves across the other side of the world to love with a grandmother she only just found out existed.
This is Serene Conneeley’s first book, and it doesn’t have the lightness of touch I had come to expect in her writing, but the storyline and the characters more than made up for it.
In small town England, far from home, Charlie is transported into a very different world from Sydney, one where people are more in tune with nature and the mystical elements of life, including her grandmother who runs a natural healing centre.
Learning to love herself and life again while dealing with; loosing her parents, moving country, getting to know her grandmother, and finding her future is not what she wants now, Charlie’s story is one of growth and resilience.
I found Into the Mists a gentle and inspiring read. After I finished it, I read some of the goodread reviews and appreciate this book is not for everyone. If you want a book with Harry Potter style magic, this isn’t for you. If you want a fast paced book full of twists and turns, this isn’t for you. If you want to read a coming of age story with main character connecting with her past, entwined with old style elemental magic, then you will enjoy this.