This week, Michael Popple reviews three recent fantasy releases from some outstanding authors. You can find more of Michael’s book reviews on his blog: unseenlibrary.com
Dead Man in a Ditch by Luke Arnold
Welcome to Sunder City, a city devastated by an apocalyptic event that ended all magic. Depressed reprobate Fletch Phillips works as a private detective, while also searching for a way to bring back the magic he destroyed. When a man is murdered in a way that appears magical, Fletch investigates and finds himself in the midst of a deadly case.
Australian actor Luke Arnold has followed up his spectacular fantasy debut, The Last Smile in Sunder City, with this amazing sequel. Once again, he presents the reader with a clever and captivating mystery, set within an impressive dark fantasy setting. Highly recommended.
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
Del Rey, $32.99
El Higgens is a student at a magical school with a twist; there are no teachers and the halls are filled with monsters. Students are forced to form alliances if they want to graduate, and only a small number survive. Luckily, El has an advantage in that she has untold destructive magic at her fingertips, now if only she can avoid killing everyone in the school with it.
This is an excellent new novel from Novik that contains an enjoyable twist on the magical school storyline. It is an exceptional scenario that serves as the perfect base for a wildly entertaining narrative that is hard to put down.
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix
Allen & Unwin, $24.99
London, 1983. Susan Arkshaw’s plans to find out who her father is become more complicated when her first suspect is turned to dust by Merlin St Jacques, a young member of a mysterious group of left-handed booksellers who police the magical old world. When fantastical creatures start taking a dangerous interest in Susan, she needs to team up with Merlin to find out the secrets of her past.
This is an impressively inventive young adult novel from acclaimed Australian author Garth Nix. Mixing fun adventures with distinctive characters and an exciting plot, this is an awesome read.