Originally posted on 01 Sep 2023

1 minute read

A lot of people are familiar with Nix’s work, mostly by way of Sabriel and The Old Kingdom series. I’m not one of those people. This is, I think, the first Nix book that I’ve read, so I don’t know whether it’s representative of his work. However, when I saw that my library had this book in their list of new acquisitions, I grabbed it because I’ve at least heard of Nix and Sabriel and figured it was worth a try.

It took me a few chapters to get used to the writing style in this book. Nix uses a number of archaic terms, and jargon from subjects like seafaring. I’ve read broadly enough to understand the vocabulary he used, but since I don’t come across those words often each one acted like a little mental speed bump, slowing me from engaging with the story. After a while I didn’t notice these bumps as much and was able to enjoy the stories more.

The world Nix builds is an interesting one. Each chapter in the book is a standalone short story, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a novel that explores the world and the characters more in depth. As-is, the limitations of the short story format make it difficult to get more than a sketch of the personalities of the main characters and the complexities of the world. This made it hard to get invested in the outcome of any individual story.

Despite that, it was a fun read with some concepts I’ve not seen in other fantasy books I’ve read.