Review: Newt’s Emerald

On her eighteenth birthday, Lady Truthful, nicknamed “Newt,” will inherit her family’s treasure: the Newington Emerald. A dazzling heart-shaped gem, the Emerald also bestows its wearer with magical powers.

When the Emerald disappears one stormy night, Newt sets off to recover it. Her plan entails dressing up as a man, mustache included, as no well-bred young lady should be seen out and about on her own. While in disguise, Newt encounters the handsome but shrewd Major Harnett, who volunteers to help find the missing Emerald under the assumption that she is a man. Once she and her unsuspecting ally are caught up in a dangerous adventure that includes an evil sorceress, Newt realizes that something else is afoot: the beating of her heart.

In Newt’s Emerald, the bestselling author of Sabriel, Garth Nix, takes a waggish approach to the forever popular Regency romance and presents a charmed world where everyone has something to hide.

Yesssssssss. A good regency novel PLUS some super slick magic. This is basically everything I have ever desired in a novel. As a child who grew up devouring both Jane Austen and Tolkien, this was right up my alley. I have recently read a few of Garth Nix’s novels, and though this one was by far my favorite, I do think Nix is now one of my staple favorites for fantasy, with the likes of Diana Wynne Jones and Leigh Bardugo. Nix managed to create a wonderfully unique world, and plot, of which I was a huge fan.

The general…vibes, for lack of a better word, from this book were fantastic. It was so quirky and light, while still holding the more serious world building required for both historic fiction and fantasy. The perfect balance, in all honesty. I have always appreciated Nix’s writing style–understandable enough for a young audience, but complex enough for adults. Newt’s story was the prime example of this perfect blend.

As far as the plot, there was a bit that was undeveloped. The magic, for one, was not explained in detail. However, I knew enough to understand what was happening, and didn’t have too many questions as the context cleared it up enough. Nevertheless, if I could have anything a bit more developed, it would be the magic.

This book was very child friendly, with a very sweet romance and strong plot.  The characters were complex and engaging, and the world was bright and captivating. It was a wonderful example of a book that didn’t talk down to the audience, but was still incredibly captivating. I was very impressed by Newt’s Emerald, and I look forward to reading more from Nix.

4.5 out of 5 stars.


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