4 out of 5 stars
I received an ARC of this work.
So I broke a fairly long standing tradition of straight-up ignoring short story collections because Garth Nix is clearly one of the best authors ever. The main draw is the novella that is included in this collection because it is set in the world of his Abhorsen series. There is also a short story set in the world of Shade’s Children if anyone is a huge fan of that work.
They actually did not include all of the novella in this ARC, so I will need to grab a copy of this once it is published, but what I did read takes you right back into the magic of the original series. No dead show up, but the protagonist is trying to get hired by a company that guards and builds a famous bridge. He is just getting through the initial tests when they cut me off. I can’t wait to read the rest.
Nix actually includes some fan fiction he wrote using other people’s characters. There is a Sherlock Holmes story, featuring Holmes’ kinds crazy relative who can solve magical crimes, and a weird little bit featuring Hellboy. I have never read fan fiction by a famous, published author before, but it works quite well.
Most of the stories are either science fiction or fantasy, and he arranged them thematically. You’ve got insect-like vampires, angels being used by musketeer-like folks and LARP.
One of the things I adore about Garth Nix is the sheer amount of imagination he manages to pack into everything he writes. The worlds he creates are extremely intricate and detailed and you get sucked in immediately. He creates empathetic, strong characters of both sexes and creates drama without being mushy, but he really shines the most at world creation.
This collection would be a great intro to Garth Nix for those that do not already know and love him (though how many people could that actually be?). The stories are varied enough that you should be able to find something to spark your interest.