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The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

Written by: Garth Nix
Narrated by: Marisa Calin
Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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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
  • Alex Sumner
  • 2020-10-04

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • the black rabbit
  • 2020-09-27

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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  • Susan B. Witkowski
  • 2020-10-24

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.

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  • Bruce
  • 2020-10-23

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.