I’ve been trying to figure out how to review this book for a while now. Do I talk about each short story separately, can I rate them individually? While it pleases my analytical mind to do so, I decided against doing that because this collection is offered in a bound book and therefore should be treated as such. But in doing so, because of the diversity in terms of narrative, stories and characters, I can’t do my normal in-depth review.
So instead I’ll talk about the collection as a whole.
Garth Nix has always had a special place in my heart. Not only is he an Australian author, but he’s also one of the few men who can write convincing teen girls. Although I haven’t read his other offerings, I have read the Abhorsen/Old Kingdom trilogy a few times, and have utterly adored it since my childhood.
Nix has a way of writing that is simple but at the same time magical. He draws you in and leaves you breathless with descriptions, voice, and characters. This collection proves that his expansive imagination is as vivid as it is broad. He mixes traditional story elements with original elements and brings a new back story that makes his world building utterly believable. He also has submitted several fanfic stories which at first I thought was a bit weird but he must have permission to do so, so who am I to complain? They only serve to highlight what this master storyteller is capable of doing.
The glimpses into some of his other works were also intriguing, although I’m still not sure if I want to read those books – purely because I’m a YA reader who prefers female leads and I know the others are middle grade and/or male leads. It’s just a personal taste thing.
Overall if you can get over the surprise of just how big this book is and realise it’s chock-full of familiar and unfamiliar elements, and if you can bring yourself to trust Nix to hold your hand throughout this collection (as I strongly recommend you do), you’re in for a treat.