12 and up
This novella is set in the same world as Abhorsen Trilogy that Nix wrote previously found in short story collection titled Across the Wall. Nick Sayre, a boy who lives in Ancelstierre, is recovering from his last encounter with magic, and his uncle takes him to Department Thirteen. Department Thirteen is an intelligence section of the government, which wants to question him about magic. While there Nick runs into a creature that is locked in a case. Nick knows that it feeds off of free magic that lives on the other side of the wall. He also knows that the creature is still alive, and only waiting for enough energy to get back home. Nick knows he his in trouble when the Department Thirteen agents start acting strangely around him. Nick finds himself in another predicament, which forces him to face the magical creature head on to protect the people around him.
Once again I loved this book on account of it's setting; It has a classic British feel to it that I adore. Nick Sayre is an interesting character that has lots of political connections in his world, and so is a bit prideful, but is a decent kid that understands that danger of the creature and bravely tries to protect people from it. I think that this is a good story on it’s own, but it probably disappointed fans of the series because they probably wanted to see more of their favorite characters, like Lirael, Touchstone, or Sabriel. I’m still trying to decide if the ending should be classified as a Deus ex Machina or not. The ending was unsatisfying to me in the way that, I didn’t get to see Nick achieve his goals, though the story implied that he would. Still, I loved reading more about Ancelstierre and the magic system. Certainly, this book is a fun read for Garth Nix fans.
As, a note people should probably be aware that Across the Wall is a collection of short stories along with the Novella, and one short story in particular is completely unappropriate for children, and not something that I'd read because of moral considerations. Each story is prefaced with an introduction of where it was previously published and other random information. So, the story can be easily identified and avoided this way, but parents(not to mention readers) may want to be careful and aware.