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SFF Author: Garth Nix

Garth Nix children's fantasy author(1963- )
Garth Nix has worked as a bookseller, book sales representative, publicist, editor, marketing consultant and literary agent. He also spent five years as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve. A full-time writer since 2001, more than five million copies of his books have been sold around the world and his work has been translated into 38 languages. Garth’s books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly (US), The Bookseller(UK), The Australian and The Sunday Times (UK). He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and two children. Learn more at Garth Nix’s website.



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Sabriel: Intoxicating reading

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sabriel is one of the best fantasy books out there, full stop. Although not up to the deep literary analysis of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings or Pullman’s His Dark Materials, it is a realistic, fantastical, intriguing and thought-provoking novel that’s right up there with the best of them. Garth Nix creates a dark, almost Gothic world that echoes with age and believability that is intoxicating to explore: the magically-imbued Old Kingdom that lies across the Wall from the more scientific-orientated Ancelstierre,


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Lirael: A rich, mysterious fantasy world

Lirael by Garth Nix

Lirael is the sequel to Garth Nix‘s best selling book Sabriel, and the second of his Old Kingdom trilogy. Set fourteen years after the events of Sabriel, this book surrounds the actions of two main characters. Prince Sameth is the capable, but rather inexperienced son of Touchstone and Sabriel, overshadowed by his elder sister and disheartened by the fact that he is the next Abhorsen — the necromancer chosen to put to rest undead legions with the help of seven magical bells.


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Abhorsen: Explosive ending

Abhorsen by Garth Nix

Abhorsen is the final book of Garth Nix‘s Old Kingdom trilogy, which could basically translate into the second half of Lirael (the first installment Sabriel stands on its own, but its follow-up Lirael needs Abhorsen in order for the story to be completed). In the final chapter of Lirael, our four travelers Lirael, Sameth, Mogget and the Disreputable Dog have found sanctuary (albeit temporarily) at the Abhorsen’s House where further revelations concerning Lirael and Sam’s connection are discovered.


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Clariel: A rewarding (though not perfect) return to the Old Kingdom

Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen by Garth Nix

It’s been over ten years since Garth Nix released a book set in the world of the Old Kingdom, where an ancestral line produces individuals who take on the mantle of the Abhorsen, the necromancer responsible for keeping the dead beyond the Gates where they belong.

Set six hundred years before the events of Sabriel, Clariel is a young woman with dreams of becoming a forester, preferring solitude to anything the city can offer. Unfortunately her mother is one of the most sought after goldsmiths in the world,


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Across the Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories

Across the Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories by Garth Nix

Most fans will find that the most exciting feature of this Garth Nix collection is undoubtedly the short story “Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case,” set in the world of the Old Kingdom (the setting of the Old Kingdom trilogy; Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen) and acting as a type of coda for the character of Nicolas Sayre, left damaged and traumatized in the last book.


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To Hold the Bridge: An inventive and engaging collection of short-stories

To Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix

This is not the first time Garth Nix (or at least his publisher) has released an anthology like this one: a short story collection that heavily emphasizes the inclusion of a brand new tale set within the Old Kingdom (the setting of his most famous works: Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen and the recent Clariel) but which also contains an eclectic assortment of unrelated stories.

The last anthology was called Across the Wall,


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Shade’s Children: Like a really well-made B movie

Shade’s Children by Garth Nix

Garth Nix published Shade’s Children in 1997. Shade’s Children is a complete book, not part of a series. It reads like a really well-made B movie. It isn’t terribly deep, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, just provides a decent action adventure.

In the near future, a cataclysmic “Change” made everyone over the age of fourteen disappear. The children have been captured and live very short lives in Dorms. On their fourteenth birthdays, the Overlords who now rule earth come and take them away to become part of the Meat Factory;


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The FIREBIRDS Anthologies: Excellent short fiction for young adults

The FIREBIRDS anthologies edited by Sharyn November

Firebirds is the first of the three FIREBIRD anthologies edited by Sharyn November. Some people don’t like short stories, especially in anthologies where you are reading several different authors. I, however, almost always have a volume of short stories on my bedside table. Even if I manage to get no other reading done during a hectic day, it is a way for me to finish a whole story in 15-20 minutes. In an age where many authors seem incapable of writing anything other than multi-novel epics,


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Mister Monday: Danger, intrigue, invention, surprises

Mister Monday by Garth Nix

Be a Player, Not a Pawn.

Garth Nix’s Mister Monday begins a brand new children’s fantasy epic: The Keys to the Kingdom. This Australian author is fast-becoming one of the biggest names in fantasy with his reinvention of the genre and his intricate, fascinating plots. Unlike other such authors, who place their heroes in a medieval realm of magical swords, horse-back riding and dragons, Nix follows the example of writers such as Philip Pullman,


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Drowned Wednesday: Nix brings fresh new ideas to the fantasy genre

Drowned Wednesday by Garth Nix

By now the formula to the Keys to the Kingdom series is in place — taking place over a week-long period (with each book chronicling a day) young Arthur Penhaligon travels into the mystical realm of “the House” in order to find seven pieces of a torn Will. This Will was destroyed by the personified Days of the Week (or the ‘Morrow Days’), each of whom embody one of the seven deadly sins. Arthur has already defeated Mister Monday’s sloth and Grim Tuesday’s greed, and now comes up against Drowned Wednesday’s terrible gluttony.


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Sir Thursday: Challenging and thought-provoking reading

Sir Thursday by Garth Nix

By now the basic premise of Garth Nix’s seven-part The Keys to the Kingdom series is well established. Arthur Penhaligon has been thrown into an extraordinary world: the epicenter of the universe, known as “the House”. Ruled by the treacherous Morrow Days (named after the days of the week and each personifying one of the seven deadly sins: Mister Monday/sloth; Grim Tuesday/greed; Drowned Wednesday/gluttony and now Sir Thursday who appears to be pride), Arthur has been given the task of reassembling the missing pieces of the Will that will strip these characters of their power and return it to the Rightful Heir — himself!


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Lady Friday: Plot is getting formulaic, but it’s still enjoyable

Lady Friday by Garth Nix

At the epicenter of the universe is the House, a sort of celestial bureaucracy that is responsible for recording everything that happens in the Secondary Realms (the world as we know it). It is the Architect who is responsible for creating all this, with a range of guidelines and rules in place for keeping order in each world.

Named after the days of the week and personifying the seven deadly sins, the trustees took over the House when the Architect disappeared, disregarding the instructions she left behind in the form of the Will.


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Superior Saturday: The pieces are in place for the final battle

Superior Saturday by Garth Nix

The longest week of Arthur Penhaligon’s life is drawing to a close in this, the penultimate installment in Garth Nix’s The Keys to the Kingdom seven book series. Although he has managed to win five Keys from the immortal Trustees that rule over the House (the epicentre of the universe) and free five parts of the Will (the embodiment of the legislation left behind by the mysterious Architect) he still has the two most dangerous challenges left to defeat: the powerful Superior Saturday and the enigmatic Lord Sunday.


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Lord Sunday: Satisfying conclusion to Nix’s epic

Lord Sunday by Garth Nix

In the concluding installment of Garth Nix’s The Keys to the Kingdom, Arthur Penhaglion has to organize an assault on the Incomparable Gardens, home to Lord Sunday, who controls the last part of the Architect’s Will. But Arthur isn’t the only one trying to liberate the last magical fragment of the will — he also faces the armies of Serious Saturday and the Piper, both intent on reaching the Will before Arthur can free it to join the other six parts (which will allow the will to be fulfilled).


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Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz: Three Adventures: Garth Nix for adults

Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz: Three Adventures by Garth Nix

When I think of Garth Nix I think of excellent fantasy literature for children, but Nix writes for adults, too. Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz: Three Adventures is a collection of three previously published stories about a knight and artillerist named Sir Hereward and a magically animated puppet called Mr. Fitz. The duo works for the Council for the Saftey of the World and they’ve taken a vow to hunt down and exterminate the supernatural beings who are on a proscribed list of evil godlets.


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Newt’s Emerald: A fantastical Regency romance

Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

Here’s a charming young adult novel that you could file under both “Regency Romance” and “Fantasy.” In this fun story, Lady Truthful is celebrating her nineteenth birthday with her cousins when her slightly dotty father, a retired British admiral, brings out the family heirloom that Truthful will inherit in a few years. It’s an emerald that has magical power over the weather. As the admiral is displaying it, a fierce storm suddenly blows in and, in the hubbub, the emerald is stolen and the admiral is injured.


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Frogkisser!: A weighty quest in a fairy tale-mashup world

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix

Anya is an orphaned young princess, about twelve or thirteen years old, and a bookworm (as many of the best princesses in literature seem to be). She and her fifteen year old sister Morven are orphans under the dubious care of their stepmother, a botanist who is enthusiastic about plants but completely uninterested in and uninvolved with the girls, and Duke Rikard, their stepstepfather (which is what you get when your stepmother remarries after your father dies). Morven is supposed to be crowned as the queen when she turns sixteen in three months,


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Angel Mage: Four Musketeers vs. a power-hungry mage

Angel Mage by Garth Nix

Chaos, death by the magical Ash Blood plague and by monstrous beasts have consumed the country of Ystara, killing all who remain within its borders. The last survivors, holed up in a cathedral, speculate that this disaster must have been caused by a “ferociously single-minded” young mage, Liliath, whose unprecedented power to call on angels, particularly the archangel Palleniel, has somehow led to things going catastrophically awry.

One hundred thirty-seven years later, Liliath awakes from her magical sleep in the temple of Saint Marguerite, in the neighboring country of Sarance.


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The Left-Handed Booksellers of London: Selling books and fighting evil

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

1983-era London, with a half-twist toward the fantastic, mingles with ancient British mythology in Garth Nix’s new urban fantasy, The Left-Handed Booksellers of London (2020). Art student Susan Arkshaw, a punkish eighteen-year-old from rural western England, takes leave of her loving, vague mother and heads to London to try to find the father she’s never met. She starts with an old family acquaintance, “Uncle” Frank Thringley, but Frank turn out to be, in rapid succession,


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The Sinister Booksellers of Bath: Entertaining but I wanted more magic

The Sinister Booksellers of Bath by Garth Nix

Garth Nix’s The Sinister Booksellers of Bath (2023) is the follow-up to 2020’s fantasy novel, The Left-Handed Booksellers of London. Both books are set in the 1980s, or, as Nix calls it, “a somewhat alternative 1980s.”

We reunite with familiar characters; siblings Merlin and Vivien St. Jacques, both of whom have magic, and Susan, the young art student whose father is an Ancient Sovereign, an old and powerfully magical being.


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Magazine Monday: Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 26, July 2012

Lightspeed Magazine is edited by the formidable John Joseph Adams, who has produced a long series of wonderful anthologies and is soon to launch a new horror magazine. One might be concerned that such a busy schedule would mean that something would get short shrift, but if that is the case, it certainly isn’t Issue 26 of Lightspeed.

About half of the content of this magazine, which is produced in electronic format only, consists of interviews, novel excerpts, an artist gallery and spotlight,


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The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2007

The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2007

In many ways, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2007 anthology is a difficult book to review. For one thing, to me and a lot of my reading/writing circle, this is easily the definitive bible when it comes to short stories of the genre. For another, many of the stories that are included in this collection have been featured in other anthologies as well, so there’s an overlap in terms of stories featured. But I’ll try and talk about what makes this anthology unique from other similar anthologies.


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The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2008

The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2008

For me, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2008 has been a two-headed beast. On one hand, it’s an eagerly anticipated book by people involved in the industry, usually for the summation at the front of the book and the honorable mentions list at the back. The various editors are quite thorough and detailed when it comes to this part. The other aspect is, of course, the story/poetry selection, which is what will likely attract the casual reader.

So,


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Fast Ships, Black Sails: Pirates and adventure!

Fast Ships, Black Sails edited by Jeff and Ann Vandermeer

I was never a big fan of pirates (ninjas, on the other hand…) but nonetheless, the very word evokes adventure and the high seas. Fast Ships, Black Sails doesn’t really stray far from that expectation and delivers eighteen stories marked with action, treachery, and a sense of wonder.

A good chunk of the stories revolve around traditional concepts of a pirate, with only a few exceptions, such as “Boojum” by Elizabeth Bear & 


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Troll’s Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales

Troll’s Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

Fairy tales were my first love when I was a child. My mother introduced me to the joys of stories with The Golden Book of Fairy Tales long before I learned how to read. My early reading included the first three volumes of The Junior Classics and Andrew Lang’s colorful fairy tale books. When Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling started editing anthologies of new takes on the old tales for adults with Snow White,


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The New Space Opera 2: All-New Tales of Science Fiction Adventure

The New Space Opera 2: All-New Tales of Science Fiction Adventure edited by Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan

The New Space Opera 2: All-New Tales of Science Fiction Adventure is, as its name implies, the second of Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan’s themed anthologies attempting to put a modern spin on space opera, a subgenre of science fiction which causes many of us to think of big metal spaceships crewed by handsome blaster-wielding men who protect us from evil aliens that want to destroy the Earth,


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Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery

Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery edited by Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders

Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery is a book I’ve been eagerly anticipating ever since it was first announced in 2009. I was particularly excited about the anthology’s impressive list of contributors which includes several authors I enjoy reading like Glen Cook, Greg Keyes, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, Garth Nix, Tim Lebbon, Caitlin R.


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Zombies vs. Unicorns: Fun YA anthology

Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier

Back in 2007, Holly Black and Justine Larabalestier got in an argument about which fiction creature was superior — zombies or unicorns. Spurred on by that debate, they each recruited some of their author friends to write short tales in which they present the storytelling possibilities of the two mythic beasts. With header notes for each story in which they discuss the historical background for the different takes on the creatures, Holly Black heads up Team Unicorn,


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Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories by Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant (eds.)

Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories is a new young adult collection edited by veteran anthologists Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant. Featuring twelve conventional short stories and two graphic entries, Steampunk! showcases a wide variety of ideas and styles that fall under the steampunk umbrella. The collection is entertaining and is lent extra freshness by the variety of settings explored by the authors: none of the stories are set in Victorian London.


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After: Like panning for gold

After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia by editors Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

When I saw the new Datlow and Windling anthology After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, I was so excited. I love YA fiction, I love dyslit, I love short story anthologies and I love Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling as editors, so I figured it was a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, my reading experience didn’t live up to my expectations.

After is an anthology of short stories set after.


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Old Venus: An over-long, narrowly-themed anthology

Old Venus by Gardner Dozois & George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois’s themed anthologies are some of the most popular on the market these days. Soliciting the genre’s best-known mainstream writers, selecting highly familiar themes, and letting the length run to 500+ pages, RoguesWarriorsDangerous WomenSongs of the Dying EarthOld Mars,


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Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror

Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror edited by Ellen Datlow

This anthology comes after a similarly titled anthology, also edited by Ellen Datlow, called Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror which came out in March 2010. Datlow also edits an annual anthology of horror fiction (collaborating with other editors on those). It seems then that Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror (which came out in October 2016) is informed by a great deal of knowledge in the field of speculative horror literature.


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Previous SFF Author: Larry Niven

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