I listened to this as an audiobook, rather then reading it, so have to base my review on that experience. I was very drawn to the title of this book – anything about book sellers catches my attention, and the left-handed part tweaked my interest too – are they sinister, or creative, or quirky…? and the reviews that I read sealed the deal describing it as urban supernatural fantasy. In the days when I used to read to my children at bedtime (my hubby was always impressed by my devotion to bedtime reading, but really I think I enjoyed it at least as much as the children and quite possibly more!) which is more then ten years ago now, we read Garth Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom series which I remember enjoying.
Well, first off I was instantly put off by the very posh English accent of the female narrator ( Marisa Calin ). It’s a problem I have, and I know it’s wrong of me, but coming from a long line of working class (although I’m kind of middle class now really, at least in my aspirations) northerners I can’t help associating that ‘proper BBC English’ upper class accent with privileged, entitled, arrogant colonial types. Imagine my surprise, when I looked up the narrator, and found out that she is American, born in California! Also, to be fair, her intonation and emotional interpretation of the text was really good, plus she did regional accents for a few of the characters (Scottish and Yorkshire among them) which were believable and pleasant to the ears, so I guess the problems with her were all mine, but still, I wish she’d picked a less posh voice for the main narration.
That aside, I did really enjoy the story. Set in the 1980s, the main character, Susan, travels to London a few months early to start her Art college course because she is on a quest to find out who her father is from a scant few clues gleaned from her mother. Very quickly strange and dangerous things begin to happen to her, and she falls in with the magical booksellers and other very mythical creatures before finding out her true lineage.
I loved the references to lots of books, as well as the mythology and lore in the plot and the inevitable romance wasn’t too cringeworthy.