Narrator: Marisa Calin
Series: Left-Handed Booksellers of London #1
Published by Listening Library on September 22, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 11 hours, 15 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London tells of a young art student Susan who comes to London in 1983 in search of the father she never knew, and is drawn into the arcane business of the booksellers whose secret sideline is to ensure that mythic entities and dormant legends do not disastrously intrude into the modern world.
I accidentally read the second book of this series first, not realizing it was part of a series. I liked it so much I came back to the beginning to see how it all began. The Left-Handed Booksellers on London is the first book a series of the same name, focused on three characters. This is a slightly different London in 1983 where the Old World (magic, gods, goblins, etc) sometimes leaks over into the real world and the booksellers are the ones that deal with it and the magic community when needed.
The booksellers are a different breed than you are probably used to. Yes they run bookstores, collect rare finds and most of the times that is about it. But sometimes, the old gods or their acolytes stir up trouble in the main world and that is when the booksellers are called out to keep things under control. Merlin and Vivien are twins and both booksellers, Merlin Left (the fighting kind) and Vivien Right (the thinking magic kind). Together they have been pulled into a weird situation when it seems like most of the old world is after one human girl and no one can quite find out why.
Susan thought she was just a regular girl getting ready to go off to a school for the arts. She is hoping to figure out who her dad is from some of the clues her mom has dropped throughout the years. But London is dangerous for her as all the magical beings seem drawn to her and are trying to kidnap Susan. The booksellers are her only hope to find out who/what her dad really is and keep her safe from whatever is trying to make sure Susan doesn’t realize who or what she really is.
The is such an interesting world. I really liked how the realms of the different gods and magical creatures or everything old world was just a smidge away from the normal world and could bleed over into our world. You are pretty safe unless you know it is there, but once you do, you can’t really go back.
There was plenty of adventure and a bit of mystery to figure out Susan’s heritage and who might want her dead or kidnapped for unknown nefariousness. I enjoyed the conclusion of the story and really liked our main cast. Merlin was a little over the top for me in some regards, so not my favorite in the cast, but Vivien and Susan are wonderful, strong female characters.
The worldbuilding was really well done making this a very believable alternate version of London. I really like when the rules of the magic system make sense, are laid out through storytelling and build a world that seems like it could be alive and well today.
Marisa Calin is a new to me narrator. She did a good job representing the voices in the story and seemed to capture the feel of the time and place. I enjoyed her performance and delivery. I listen at my usual 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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