The Creature in the Case by Garth NixThe Creature in the Case is a novella set in the Old Kingdom, taking place six months after the end of Abhorsen, the 3rd book in the original Old Kingdom trilogy. It's a short read but it maintains the inherent darkness that this series wears like a second skin. This particular story's purpose is to set up the upcoming new full-length Old Kingdom book, Goldenhand, which I think it does perfectly. I am glad though that I only read this now because had I read it in 2005 when it was published, the wait for Goldenhand (set to release in October of this year) would have been both painful and cruel.
The Old Kingdom #3.5
Published March 7th 2005 by HarperCollins
It is six months since the cataclysmic events of Abhorsen, six months Nicholas Sayre has spent recovering in the Ancelstierre. But he is desperate to return to the Old Kingdom, and at last has the chance.
All he has to do is spend a weekend in a country house as a favour for his Uncle Edward, Chief Minister of Ancelstierre. That seems easy enough, till he discovers that the house holds many secrets, and the worst of them is a relic of the Old Kingdom, too far from the Wall for any spark of its magical life to reignite.
Unless someone finds a way to unleash its power....
With The Creature in the Case, we catch up with sweet Nicholas Sayre more or less healed from his horrible ordeals prior and wanting to return to the Old Kingdom - and be reunited with Lirael. Very soon, his quest to make it back becomes complicated - and deadly - with the discovery of that relic from the Old Kingdom the blurb references. With the additional danger, we see the return of Nicholas as he was before the horrible turn he faced in the original series: he's brave, selfless and incredibly determined. I'm glad that Nix took the time to remind us of Nicholas' true self, because the poor boy has been through too much...and his trials aren't over yet.
I have to say, I'm really happy I read Clariel recently too because there were parallels in this story - parallels that seem to be hinted at further in the blurb for the upcoming Goldenhand, so I'm hoping my suspicions are correct, because that is something that would be both epic and heartbreaking all in one. Sorry I can't say more, but if anyone is all caught up with the series and wants to chat some more, DM me! Suffice it to say that it would once again prove the genius that is Mister Garth Nix. Anyway, if I'm right, I suspect you'll all here about it in my review of Goldenhand :D
Obviously, this being a novella from a favorite author means that it seemed much too short! I am so ready to head off on another adventure with Nicholas - and Lirael of course! She shows up near the end here and it hit me like a punch to the heart how much I missed her, and the rest of the characters from the original trilogy of course. Seeing as this book sets up the next instalment so well, I'd consider it mandatory reading, since I don't know if Nix will go over the important details again in the following full length book. In any case, The Creature in the Case was a very enjoyable short adventure that left me wanting more. A lot more! Come on Goldenhand!
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
My previous reviews for the series: