I recently reread Garth Nix’s Abhorsen series – well, listened to them as audiobooks – and then I got to wondering what else he’s written, and then I checked Newt’s Emerald out of the library. Like the cover says, it’s about magic, maids, and masquerades. According to the appendix, it’s also a rework of one of Nix’s earliest novels. Which makes sense, because, well, it’s not very well written.
Newt is a newly sixteen-year-old girl set to inherit her family’s magical emerald, which will, among other things, let her control the weather. (PSA: maybe don’t let teenagers control the weather. But maybe that’s just me?)
Unfortunately, horror of horrors, the emerald is stolen on the eve of her birthday, and Newt will have to venture into the heart of steampunk / magical London to retrieve it – disguising herself as a Frenchman and navigating a series of aristocrats, pirates, and evil sorceresses in the process. It’s pretty fun, but it’s also more than a little contrived. And it also proves that Nix really can’t write a convincing love story to save his life.