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171 of 176 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Go across the Wall
Garth Nix changed the face of dark fantasy with his tales of Sabriel, Lirael and the gruesome enemies they defeated. Now he provides not only a novella in the world of the Abhorsen Trilogy, but several other short stories that he has penned over the years -- dark, chilling, beautiful and amusing.

After the events of "Abhorsen," Nicholas Sayre has decided that...
Published on 19 July 2005 by E. A Solinas

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I loved the Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen series, but was really disappointed by this book, which appears to be trying to squeeze extra money out of the original books.

There is only one story about the Old Kingdom, which was so short that you were just getting into the book when it ended, which left you feeling very short changed. The rest of the stories I...
Published on 17 Jun. 2012 by Cardboardfigure


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171 of 176 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Go across the Wall, 19 July 2005
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Garth Nix changed the face of dark fantasy with his tales of Sabriel, Lirael and the gruesome enemies they defeated. Now he provides not only a novella in the world of the Abhorsen Trilogy, but several other short stories that he has penned over the years -- dark, chilling, beautiful and amusing.

After the events of "Abhorsen," Nicholas Sayre has decided that he wants to go to the Old Kingdom, to be near Sabriel and Lirael. Unfortunately, he gets sidetracked at a secret government base. Then a maddened official steals his blood to awaken a hideous Free Magic creature, which has lain dormant inside a clear case. Now the creature is on a rampage, seeking more blood to increase its power -- and Nicholas has no way to stop it.

That novella, called "The Creature In the Case," is the main draw for this collection of short stories. But it's also not the only one -- Nix includes several other stories: A pair of Arthurian stories, one about Nimue and the other about the Lady of the Lake; a man comes to the island of Lisden as its new owner... not knowing that he's been duped; and a young boy is enlisted by his grandfather to help save a forest from his greedy dad. Nix also shows off his more playful side in "Down to the Scud Corner," a hilarious spoof of those "choose your own adventure" books.

There are also darker stories in here as well. One story focuses on sex and death, as a young man tries to save the local girls from a lover who can call down lightning. And "Charlie Rabbit" is a surprisingly harrowing story about two boys hiding in a flooded building during a war. And the fairy-tale adaptation "Hansel's Eyes," while not unusually dark, has a rather macabre ending.

In all these stories, Garth Nix shows all his writing talents -- he's funny, he's chilling, and he's good at adventure stories and likable characters. It's wonderful to check out his earlier stories, and see how he has matured as a writer. But the main novella is perhaps the best of all, giving the underrated Nicholas a chance to shine. It also hints at possible future adventures for Sabriel, Lirael and their friends.

The stories are not completely even, since Nix wrote them at different times in his life -- apparently some of his earliest work, including a story written when he was six, were not deemed worthy. But apparently he's had his rich, detailed writing style for a long time now, best evidenced by the internal monologue of the Lady of the Lake. While a few like "Lightning Bringer" feel rather underfleshed, most of his short stories feel satisfyingly complete on their own.

"Across the Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories" adds to Garth Nix's impressive list of dark fantasy. This collection is well-worth reading, for some chilling, vivid storytelling.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into Garth Nix, 19 April 2006
By 
Chris Chalk "Chris" (Croydon, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I am a huge Garth Nix fan; I love his variety - for example the power of the Old Kingdom series to the relatively light humour of the Keys To The Kingdom series. I am not blinked in my admiration, I thought Sir Thursday could have been better as could the Ragwitch but overall a truly excellent author.

As a book, Across The Wall has been on my wish list for sometime and I just hadn't gotten around to reading it, I had read The Creature In The Case as a stand alone book some time ago so I couldn't see the benefit to reading this - thankfully I finally got around to it.

The bulk of this collection is dedicated to Nicholas Sayre and TCITC and is - for me - the most polished book in here. You can really feel connected to how Nicholas is growing with his new found power, infused as it is with the stiff upper lip that a public school life gives one. Whilst back in Ancelstierre Nicholas is battling his fears about the old Kingdom, he realised after some soul searching that the only way to conquer them is to face them head on - and return. His Uncle offers to help in return for spending some time at Dorence House with the secret department 13. However more than a few armed policemen and a jovial old man lurk in the bowels of the old house...

I loved the story for the connection it gave me to the Abhorsen trilogy and a taster to what may never be written but to what I truly hope will be. As I mentioned it does feel polished and is a real stand alone novel, the book is worth purchasing for this story alone.

Thankfully though, there is more. Much more - 12 more stories in fact. Some are quite a bit longer than others and they are so varied that I couldn't put my finger on one thread that runs through them other than that Garth Nix wrote them! I really enjoyed the Arthurian stories Under the Lake and Heart's Desire - I found these such interesting twists on novels of this ilk. As a previous reviewer mentioned, Charlie Rabbit is brilliantly, but harrowingly written, how we hold on to the small things in a crisis. I loved the humour in Down to the Scum Quarter and My New Really Epic Fantasy Series, the latter being frankly complete genius and I won't ruin any of it for you.

Overall this is an excellent insight into how the mind of such a great author works and as I am in the middle of the Keys to the Kingdom series it feels like an excellent reminder that Garth Nix is so much more than one character.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into Garth Nix, 19 April 2006
By 
Chris Chalk "Chris" (Croydon, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I am a huge Garth Nix fan; I love his variety - for example the power of the Old Kingdom series to the relatively light humour of the Keys To The Kingdom series. I am not blinked in my admiration, I thought Sir Thursday could have been better as could the Ragwitch but overall a truly excellent author.

As a book, Across The Wall has been on my wish list for sometime and I just hadn't gotten around to reading it, I had read The Creature In The Case as a stand alone book some time ago so I couldn't see the benefit to reading this - thankfully I finally got around to it.

The bulk of this collection is dedicated to Nicholas Sayre and TCITC and is - for me - the most polished book in here. You can really feel connected to how Nicholas is growing with his new found power, infused as it is with the stiff upper lip that a public school life gives one. Whilst back in Ancelstierre Nicholas is battling his fears about the old Kingdom, he realised after some soul searching that the only way to conquer them is to face them head on - and return. His Uncle offers to help in return for spending some time at Dorence House with the secret department 13. However more than a few armed policemen and a jovial old man lurk in the bowels of the old house...

I loved the story for the connection it gave me to the Abhorsen trilogy and a taster to what may never be written but to what I truly hope will be. As I mentioned it does feel polished and is a real stand alone novel, the book is worth purchasing for this story alone.

Thankfully though, there is more. Much more - 12 more stories in face. Some are quite a bit longer than others and they are so varied that I couldn't put my finger on one thread that runs through them other than that Garth Nix wrote them! I really enjoyed the Arthurian stories Under the Lake and Heart's Desire - I found these such interesting twists on novels of this ilk. As a previous reviewer mentioned, Charlie Rabbit is brilliantly, but harrowingly written, how we hold on to the small things in a crisis. I loved the humour in Down to the Scum Quarter and My New Really Epic Fantasy Series, the latter being frankly complete genius and I won't ruin any of it for you.

Overall this is an excellent insight into how the mind of such a great author works and as I am in the middle of the Keys to the Kingdom series it feels like an excellent reminder that Garth Nix is so much more than one character.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short stories well told, 27 Aug. 2007
By 
Wyvernfriend (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
The main draw for me was "The Creature in the Case" and it was a good read but there were few poor reads in this, many of them wry and humourous. I think that some of them suffered in comparison to others rather than being truly poor. It was also helped by the introductions by Garth Nix for each story and his disarming modesty.

The stories that stood out (apart from The Creature in the Case) were Under the Lake - one of two Arthurian stories; Charlie Rabbit - a poignant war story; Lightning Bringer - a story of a man who controlls lightning (a story that takes this selection away from Childrens and into young adult more than many of the others); Heart's desire - the other Arthurian story; Hansel's Eyes - a retelling of Hansel and Gretel; Hope Chest - a strange western that I'd like to see a bit more of; Three Roses - poignant and sweet and Endings - a story that just cuts through a lot of the waste other stories have.

Even though that's almost all the stories in it, and the rest didn't really stand out, they were good reads anyway. Garth Nix has a way of writing stories that just manages to make you very happy that you read them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite mixed in quality - read the Abhorsen Trilogy first, 22 Feb. 2008
By 
L. Green "Feltano" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Across The Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories (Paperback)
Barcode: 9780007221462

I'm so glad i've discovered Garth Nix's books as they are some of the best writing i have come across. His worlds are imaginative, his characters realistic and are a joy to follow in the various adventures Nix creates for them. His Abhorsen Trilogy is a masterpiece which is why i reccomend reading that first as it is the best representation of his work.

What we have here is a collection of short stories written at various points in Nix's life - i'll give you a brief run down of what i think of each one.

1. Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case
By far the best story of this compilation it follows on from the events of the aforementioned Abhorsen Trilogy and is of just as high a quality as those books. Nicholas Sayre, a character i found initially hard to empathise with is presented in a far better light here and you quickly grow to admire his courage in this chilling tale.

2. Under The Lake
The first of the Merlin/Arthur inspired stories in this compilation - i wasn't keen on this story. It has very little plot and focuses more on immense description and feelings. Not that enjoyable but i suppose it's interesting to see that Nix can write extremely mature material if he wants.

3. Charlie Rabbit
Thankfully the next story is a return to his usual style that we all know and love. Part of this story's power is its anonymity - it could be describing a conflict anywhere in the world - especially relevant with the current state of the world - this is a gripping story.

4. From The Lighthouse
Not sure where i stand on this one - a lot of it seems quite random and perhaps too much is left unexplained but it does have a certain charm to it.

5. The Hill
I really like this one. Perhpas it is because Nix is writing about his homeland, Australia, that this has a far more personal feel to it. It deals with the themes of old age and fear of the future extremely well and leaves the reader with some very interesting points to think about.

6. Lightning Bringer
Short and sharp, this is an enjoyable little story. A sexual predator who can command lightning? Awesome idea!

7. Down To The Scum Quarter
Sadly, the most pointless story in the compilation, i didn't even bother to read this - a 'choose your own adventure' style thingy in the vein of Fighting Fantasy, a series i actually used to play. I appreciate Nix's comic take on the genre but this story doesn't work in the context of this compilation because the rest of the book is straight prose, i don't think many people suddenly then want to switch to a game halfway through and go flicking back and forth through pages to complete it.

8. Heart's Desire
The second of the Merlin/Arthur themed stories, this one has a strong sexual theme to it and is better than 'Under The Lake' at any rate but still feels hard to immerse yourself completely in which you can do so well with the rest of Nix's fiction.

9. Hansel's Eyes
Another enjoyable little tale - this is an innovative new take on the classic fairytale. Some great ideas in this one and some pretty scary stuff too.

10. Hope Chest
This one reads like it has the potential to be developed into a full fledged novel, something i'd like to see. Nix creates a distopian world - a terrifying alternative American Wild West - the conclusion of this story is nail-bitingly tense and amazingly good in how terrifying it is.

11. My New Really Epic Fantasy Series
Just too random. Again, a nice attempt at humour but i don't think this translates well to the page.

12. The Three Roses
With this story Nix creates an extremely well-done take on classic tales of morality and it works a treat - great imagery.

13. Endings
In very much the same vein as 'The Three Roses', this is another short tale of decisions and good & evil. A perfect ending to the compilation.

You then get a few questions with Garth Nix which are very interesting and contain a lot of inspiring advice for young writers. So, in conclusion - this compilation has some good stuff and some not so good stuff. On a whole though, when Nix gets things right, the result is so powerful that i'd still most definitely have to recomend this book - just check out the Abhorsen Trilogy first, ok?
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Go across the "Wall", 29 Dec. 2005
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Garth Nix changed the face of dark fantasy with his tales of Sabriel, Lirael and the gruesome enemies they defeated. Now he provides not only a novella in the world of the Abhorsen Trilogy, but several other short stories that he has penned over the years -- dark, chilling, beautiful and amusing.

After the events of "Abhorsen," Nicholas Sayre has decided that he wants to go to the Old Kingdom, to be near Sabriel and Lirael. Unfortunately, he gets sidetracked at a secret government base. Then a maddened official steals his blood to awaken a hideous Free Magic creature, which has lain dormant inside a clear case. Now the creature is on a rampage, seeking more blood to increase its power -- and Nicholas has no way to stop it.

That novella, called "The Creature In the Case," is the main draw for this collection of short stories. But it's also not the only one -- Nix includes several other stories: A pair of Arthurian stories, one about Nimue and the other about the Lady of the Lake; a man comes to the island of Lisden as its new owner... not knowing that he's been duped; and a young boy is enlisted by his grandfather to help save a forest from his greedy dad. Nix also shows off his more playful side in "Down to the Scud Corner," a hilarious spoof of those "choose your own adventure" books.

There are also darker stories in here as well. One story focuses on sex and death, as a young man tries to save the local girls from a lover who can call down lightning. And "Charlie Rabbit" is a surprisingly harrowing story about two boys hiding in a flooded building during a war. And the fairy-tale adaptation "Hansel's Eyes," while not unusually dark, has a rather macabre ending.

In all these stories, Garth Nix shows all his writing talents -- he's funny, he's chilling, and he's good at adventure stories and likable characters. It's wonderful to check out his earlier stories, and see how he has matured as a writer. But the main novella is perhaps the best of all, giving the underrated Nicholas a chance to shine. It also hints at possible future adventures for Sabriel, Lirael and their friends.

The stories are not completely even, since Nix wrote them at different times in his life -- apparently some of his earliest work, including a story written when he was six, were not deemed worthy. But apparently he's had his rich, detailed writing style for a long time now, best evidenced by the internal monologue of the Lady of the Lake. While a few like "Lightning Bringer" feel rather underfleshed, most of his short stories feel satisfyingly complete on their own.

"Across the Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories" adds to Garth Nix's impressive list of dark fantasy. This collection is well-worth reading, for some chilling, vivid storytelling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very varied mix of stories, 4 May 2007
By 
Sarah Kay (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book is a great collection of stories, made all the more interesting by a short introduction at the start of each one, detailing how it came about and the inspiration for it.

I bought the book mainly for 'The Creature in the Case', as I love the Old Kingdom books. This story is set after the Old Kingdom trilogy, and it is a short novella in its own right (though I'd advise reading the trilogy first). The other tales are much shorter, often weighing in at only a few pages, and some of them are a little more adult in tone than the rest of Nix's work that I am familiar with. The stories are well chosen, showing a broad range of styles, from fairy tale to satire.

In all, a good buy for anyone who has enjoyed Garth Nix's work in the past and feels like exploring it further. A better read than I expected a short story collection to be.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for budding authors, 4 May 2007
By 
This short story collection by "the man" Garth Nix is perfect for those who want to write, want to see into a great author's mind or simply want more from Nix and the Old Kingdom. Opener "Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case" is the main draw, but the other twelve stories easily warrant a purchase without it. Some seem a little rushed or rough around the edges, but that's only to be expected in such an anthological (a real word?) collection. Here is a few words on each story and what I think of them:

1. Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case - Following on from Abhorsen, this is an engrossing and compelling tale set surprisingly in Ancelstierre, not the Old Kingdom. I won't spoil it, but seeds are planted for possible future storylines and the plot is just as strong (if shorter, of course) than the full Old Kingdom books. The only problem is there is only double-space in over 100 pages, meaning a lot to get through without putting the book down. And believe me, you won't want to.

2. Under the Lake - Wow. An Arthurian tale from the point of view of the Lady of the Lake. Inspired, beautiful and unforgettable, that's all you need to know.

3. Charlie Rabbit - An earlier review describes this as "harrowing", and I can't put it any better. A perfectly contained short story, and it might just make you cry.

4. From the Lighthouse - One of the weaker stories, but still good. An odd mini-chapter style structure makes it feel a bit of a novelty. Over way too quickly to be believable. But still, by no means unreadable.

5. The Hill - Nix was forced to remove Aboriginal elements from this story for political reasons, and unfortunately it shows. What's left is just too bare and too unbelievable.

6. Lightning Bringer - Seems to be too "adult" for the sake of it, but still a compelling and memorable story.

7. Down to the Scum Quarter - A "Choose Your Own Adventure" parody, this will have you in stitches. Once again, I can't bring myself to spoil a word of it.

8. Heart's Desire - Another Arthurian alternative, this is amazing but can't quite reach the heights of "Under the Lake".

9. Hansel's Eyes - A modern Hansel and Gretel story, this is nowhere near as polished as some of Nix's later works, but is nevertheless an excellent read.

10. Hope Chest - Starts off as a classic Western story, and brilliant it is too. However, it deteriorates into a shoot-everything fest at the end, with a weird otherworldly element that isn't really necessary. Reasons for the shooting build up for the character over many years, but are covered for the reader in around two pages. This just makes the climax seem a bit OTT. Having said that, all the faults are forgotten after the phenomenal ending.

11. My Really Epic New Fantasy Series - Another funny story, this quite frankly rules. Originally a speech, it works just as well written down. Hilarious.

12. Three Roses - As good as fables get, and very thought-provoking.

13. Endings - Makes you cry, makes you think, makes you gasp. A perfect ending. Or should I say endings...

As if all that wasn't enough, there is a prelude from Garth Nix, and also brilliant introductions to each and every story. These give each story context, and transform the book from excellent to essential, especially for those aspiring to write themselves (like me, I might add). For the UK edition, there is also a Q&A section that among other things finally lets everyone know how to pronounce Lirael (buy it to find out...).

So all in all, a must for anyone who enjoyed the Old Kingdom books. But I wouldn't blame you if you waited until October for the next in the series of most-beautiful-paperback-covers-ever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 17 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Across The Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories (Paperback)
I loved the Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen series, but was really disappointed by this book, which appears to be trying to squeeze extra money out of the original books.

There is only one story about the Old Kingdom, which was so short that you were just getting into the book when it ended, which left you feeling very short changed. The rest of the stories I found pretty dull and only read because I was hoping for something special to appear at some point.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars rubbish, 9 July 2008
By 
Eileen Banford "fantastic fantasy" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Across The Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories (Paperback)
This book contains only one good story. It is not worth the money. The other stories are poor and not up too the standard set in the Sabriel, Liriel and Abhorsen series.
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Across The Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories
Across The Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories by Garth Nix (Paperback - 1 Oct. 2007)
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