The Sinister Booksellers of Bath

The Sinister Booksellers of Bath
Garth Nix
Data premiery

“The Sinister Booksellers of Bath” by Garth Nix is the continuation of “The Left-Handed Booksellers of London”. I loved the first book in the series primarily because of its originality, light-heartedness and excellent worldbuilding blending our modern world with a slightly magical alternative.

The story continues not long after the first book’s ending, with Susan Arkshaw trying (and failing) to live as a regular art student despite her mythical heritage. But even though she tries to keep dates with her boyfriend Merlin to a minimum, she still gets pulled into yet another supernatural case of Booksellers.

What I like about this series the most is that it’s a humorous and light read, but at the same time, it has some harsh and chilly elements. This time we have a mysterious ancient entity who kills innocent people in a ritual mass murder through the ages to fulfil their agenda. On the other hand, we have quirky booksellers that squabble over the last pieces of cake. Supporting them are special police consultants who try not to succumb to madness in the surrounding chaos and keep innocent, unaware people out of the way.

I’m also a fan of the characters in this story. Susan is a down-to-earth and no-nonsense character who tries her best to fit into the regular world. But at the same time, she’s not blind to what happens around her and understands that, eventually, she will have accepted her own magical heritage. Reading about her journey from downright refusal to slow and reluctant acceptance and finding loopholes in the ancient world rules was highly entertaining.

I also adored Merlin in both books. He’s a very colourful character, who might also be called downright weird, but he wears his quirkiness with pride and can charm even the most sceptical people. He is also very aware of his own shortcomings and is not afraid to admit his mistakes. But first and foremost he is very warm and caring and always thinks about others, before himself.

Returning to the world of Booksellers and meeting more eccentric characters was a true joy. I will always recommend this series for fans of modern fantasy and original and captivating worldbuilding.