Review: Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

October 20, 2015 Review 28 ★★★½

Review: Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix
Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Source: Publisher
Pages: 256
Release Date: October 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Historical, Love & Romance, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Young Adult
A Regency romance with magical elements, featuring an eighteen-year-old heroine and a dashing young hero - and a case of mistaken identity.

After the Newington Emerald is stolen at the height of a conjured storm, eighteen-year-old Lady Truthful Newington goes to London to search for the magical heirloom of her house. But as no well-bred young lady can hunt the metropolis for a stolen jewel, she has to disguise herself as a man, and is soon caught up in a dangerous adventure where she must risk her life, her reputation.and her heart.

Balancing twin roles as a young lady coming out in her first season and as an intrepid young man up against an evil sorceress isn't easy, but Truthful has to manage it. Her father's life and even the fate of England may depend upon her recovering the Newington Emerald!

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


I was a bit wary going into NEWT’S EMERALD because I didn’t know what the story was going to give me. On the one hand Garth Nix is a well loved author by many people and NEWT’S EMERALD is a historical fantasy with my favourite trope (girl disguised as boy). But on the other hand I’d heard some not so great things from bloggers I trusted. Fortunately for me I ended up having a lot of fun with this book!


NEWT’S EMERALD had a lot of elements that I thought worked well together and enjoyed. It was incredibly easy to immerse myself in the world of my story repeatedly, and the plot was moving fast enough that I wanted to read at every opportunity and find out how the mystery would develop or what would go wrong next. I honestly wasn’t suspecting it to be as suspenseful as it was at times, there were actually a few moments that surprised me. The writing was also humorous in a way that appealed to the ridiculous side of my personality. I cackled at some of the lines in this books.

The only complaint I have is that in the last part of the book everything occurred incredibly quickly. And by everything I mean the romance and main mystery plot. I wouldn’t say it was rushed but it wrapped up a lot easier than I expected it to, and I honestly would have loved to see a massive magic show down, and more of the magic throughout the novel in general. 

The romance it’s relatively slow burn (until that end section) and I really liked the couple. They bicker and banter and it’s marvellous. They’re both interesting characters in their own right. They just had one irritating issue that caused many problems in the book: COMMUNICATION


We’re lucky that sometimes this lack of communication made for humorous moments as well as frustrating times.

NEWT’S EMERALD was a nice short book and a blast to read, despite the small issues I had with a few plot elements and things. I recommend NEWT’S EMERALD to people looking for a nice, easy historical fantasy with a side of romance.

Rating Report
Overall: 3.6

28 Responses to “Review: Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix”

    • Bec

      She does have to fulfil both roles! It made for some hilarious encounters when she had to quickly switch hahaha

      Thanks :)

  1. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

    I’m glad you liked this one more than I did, Bec! I just really couldn’t connect with it at all, and I felt kind of let down by the fact that the elements I was most looking forward to: romance, magic, and cross dressing – were not even in the novel that much. I guess I went in expecting a little more of a serious tale? I think I would have preferred to know that it was kind of … comedic, rather than serious before I went in, and i might have liked it a bit more.

    Anway, yay for you liking it! :D
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Five Reasons To: Read Erica Crouch’s Books

    • Bec

      Your warning/ thoughts made me go in knowing it wasn’t a serious book. And I got the lighthearted fun I needed at the time :)

    • Bec

      It’s one of my favourite tropes to read haha. I love suspenseful books and seem to be good at finding such books XD


    • Bec

      I haven’t read anything by Garth Nix properly before. Well I read Sabriel YEARS ago but I need to read it again.

      This is a book you’d probably have to be in a particular mood for, I think :)

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    TBH, some of those reviews you spoke of had me worried too! I’ve only read Sabriel by Nix so far but it was one of my favorite reads this year! I was really excited to get my hands on this one at BEA but then I got put off a bit by those less than glowing reviews. We tend to have very similar reading tastes so I feel more relaxed now that I know you enjoyed this :) I have a feeling I will too! Thanks Bec ♥
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Owl and the City of Angels – Guest Post + Giveaway

    • Bec

      I need to go and read Sabriel again! This actual came out a few years ago, I think, but they’re rereleasing it. If you’re in the mood for something light and fun I think you’ll really like it :D

    • Bec

      It is a bit different to his usual stuff hahaha

      I actually have no idea where the gif is from but it fit too well not to use haha

  3. Olivia

    I love when a book you aren’t expecting to love, you end up falling in love with and enjoying it! This sounds like a pretty fun book and that the suspense was enough to keep you turning pages. It’s a shame about the ending being so rushed, but at least you could enjoy it :)
    Olivia recently posted…Taking Leaps and Finding Ghosts (Review)

  4. Jessica @ Strung Out On Books

    I’m not much of a fan of either historical or fantasy books, so I’m not sure this would be a book for me. But it does sound quite interesting and like an alright introduction into this sort of genre for me, so I might give it a chance sometime. I also love the girl disguised as boy trope, so that’s a plus! I’m glad you enjoyed this book! Lovely review!
    Jessica @ Strung Out On Books recently posted…Fall Giveaway!

    • Bec

      It could be a good introduction. The historical/fantasy elements aren’t shoved in your face and it’s well written, plus it’s just a lot of fun. No heavy plot to drag it down like some fantasy novels can have.

      Thanks :)

  5. Romi

    Oh no! Not the dreaded communicational errors. /: I’ve actually heard not so fantastic things about this, too, and… I’m still planning to read it. The mix of themes and the whole premise just grasps me and WON’T LET GO. So I’m going to give it a go, and hope I either love it wildly or the issues that are present don’t bug me too much. I do get really frustrated by communication and the lack of it- when there’s something that could be so easily fixed and they just don’t talk about it and it becomes all of the drama. That definitely frustrates me to no end, and I don’t recall being aware that was another factor in this. Ah well, I’ll see how I go. Awesome review (and gifs), Bec! x
    Romi recently posted…As Black as Ebony by Salla Simukka.

    • Bec

      They’ve been in a few books recently >_< There are a lot of mixed things out there about this, but I guess the key is to just go in expecting something light. You'll have fun with it that way :D I hope you like it!

  6. czai

    first of all, I LOVE THAT COVER!! anyway, I like that it’s a suspenseful detective mystery.. and that it also gives you that occasional laugh.. but the last part happening so quickly? in a mystery? that had me thinking since this sounds like an interesting book. Nice to know that you really enjoyed it, though :)
    czai recently posted…[REVIEW] The Girl on the Train

    • Bec

      It was a lot of fun!

      So much would be solved with more communication. But then again, actual communication would mean less plot :P

  7. Kelly

    This is NOT a Wizard of Oz retelling? Why the hell did I think it was. It’s that cover and using the world Emerald. Honestly, I need to start reading book blurbs and not take them at face value. I’m not a massive fan of historical romances, but this sounds pretty good Bec. It sounds a little on the silly slapstick style, which is brilliant when an author can pull it off. It still feels a little bizarre with Garth Nix writing a historical romance, totally left of field. That alone would make me want to give it a go. Awesome review Bec, glad I seen your review before buying it, reading it and wondering where the effing hell the wizard was :D :D
    Kelly recently posted…Jack Mason… Wonderful Steampunk Middle Grade

    • Bec

      The cover gives the impression of the Wizard of Oz.

      It is pretty silly haha. Which made it a lot of fun. It was strange for it to come from Garth Nix yeah hahaa. I’ve only heard of him writing straight up epic fantasy before haha

    • Bec

      I haven’t read much Garth Nix and really need to delve into more! I read Sabriel years ago but don’t remember much from it. I need to try it again.

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