Rating: 3 Stars
Release Date: January 26, 2016
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.
Newt's Emerald combines two of my favorite genres: fantasy and historical fiction. It takes place during the regency era, and modifies certain aspects in order to add a touch of fantasy. Newt's Emerald was a nice, quick read that keeps the reader engrossed whilst reading it but not much beyond.
One of the reasons why I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have is because of the protagonist, Lady Truthful/"Newt". She just does so many dumb things and I just didn't "get" her at all. Like when she hears that Major Harnett accused her of being spoiled and haughty, she claims she is none of these things but then acts like the most annoying and haughty person ever in front of him. And don't forget when Major Harnett tells her to go back home because it's dangerous and instead she walks straight into trouble and screams for Harnett to save her.
Other than Newt, most of the other characters were pretty tolerable and/or interesting. I really liked Lady Badgery; she's probably the most multi-dimensional character in this story.
I'm indifferent about Garth Nix's writing, and I just wished he'd made the glossary of terms more exhaustive because a good amount of the archaic words weren't in it and googling them proved to be just a bit annoying. I did enjoy the good amount of details and imagery, though.
THE PLOT. I'm not sure how I feel about it. It's one of the best parts of the book but was ultimately a let down. I was really anticipating how they planned to get the emerald back and was ready for the BIG plan at the end but I was so disappointed. It felt like the ending was so rushed and all the build-up was for nothing.
Newt's Emerald definitely has it's flaws, but if you're a fan of historical fiction and fantasy, it doesn't hurt to give it a try.