Monday, January 7, 2019

Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix

Newt's EmeraldNewt's Emerald by Garth Nix
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this young adult fantasy Regency romance for one reason: it was written by Garth Nix. I've decided that--prepare yourself for a shocking revelation--good writers write good books. It doesn't matter what kind of book, really. The ability to tell a story, develop characters, and paint a picture in your mind transfer to pretty much any genre. Does that mean every book by a good author is a home run? Of course not. But it does seem to be that the worst you will get from a tried-and-true author is mediocrity, and that is a good bit better than random selection.

I honestly didn't even know what the term Regency romance meant. About a third of the way into Newt's Emerald I bothered to ask my wife, and her explanation was depressing. She described the lace and fainting books I actively avoid. Yet, I had started it, and I was interested. Did it help that it had a fantasy tie-in? Sure. Did I find some of the period social depictions cheesy? Absolutely. But in and around that was an interesting story, with a simple premise--recover the stolen property--and characters I could root for.

In the end I liked this book. No, I'm not adding Jane Austen to my To Read list any time soon, but I can recommend this one to just about anyone who appreciates a good book in any genre. As I expected, Nix applied his ability to create characters we root for, in a setting that intrigues us, and then wove a plot around them all that kept things moving and gave a satisfying conclusion. Yes, good writers write good books.