I received a copy of the ebook thanks to netgalles and Gollancz.
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London tells the coming of age story of Susan Arkshaw. After turning eighteen in 1983 she goes to London, looking for her dad, who she has never met.
The starting point of her quest to find her father, is at Frank Thringley’s shop, the only person she knows of her mother’s past. Before she can ask him any personal questions he gets turned into dust by Merlin. As there are strange creatures coming, Susan flees with Merlin. Later on we get to know that he is one of the left-handed booksellers. The booksellers – right-handed, left-handed and even-handed – are an extended family of magical (but still somehow human) beings. Those booksellers help to keep the legendary Old World – the world of all the mythical creatures, for example goblins, from intruding with the human world. Of course Susan’s quest and Merlin’s quest -to find out why his mother was killed – are intertwined and so they try to find answers together with the help of Vivian – Merlin’s sister.
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London falls in the category of urban fantasy. I am normally no fan at all of urban fantasy, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
First of all, I really like the time the book is set in and all the little hints towards it. For example Susan got a very modern watch – a Swatch – of her mum for her birthday. I was 8 years old in 1983 but I remember how I loved those watched when I was 15. In total I really liked Susan’s style. Her DocMartins and band Shirts and Swatch watch. Furthermore, I could easily understand why she fancies Merlin. In my imagination he somehow looks like David Bowie with dark hair, radiating beauty without really being beautiful.Also he is fun to be around and his wit and charm are adorable.
Another fact I really enjoyed about the book were all the interwoven mystical creature and hints to fairy tales and folklore. There are goblins, giant wolves, lake creatures and ancient mystic beings that appear on the quest to solve the mystery of the missing father and the dead mother.
And of course I enjoyed that there are so many references to books. First of all – of course – the booksellers. If they are not fighting for humanity, they sell books. And throughout the story there are always books referenced to – like for example Shakespear’s Hamlet („There is something rotten in the state of Denmark“).
All in all The Left-Handed Booksellers of London is an amazing read if you want to enjoy a wild ride throughout Britain. If there will ever be a sequel in which we follow Susan, Merlin and Vivian on another adventure, I will definitely be reading that one too.