Poor Nick Sayre. First he gets enslaved by evil necromancers, and now even house parties go horribly wrong.
In fact, almost everything goes wrong for this much-abused teenager in "The Creature in the Case," a novella spun off after the ending of Garth Nix's classic Abhorsen trilogy. It's a brief little story, but Nix's fantastical horror, odd humor, and suitably gruesome little conspiracy make it absolutely brilliant.
Nicholas Sayre is still recovering from his horrible ordeal, but before his uncle will let him return to the Old Kingdom, he must attend a country house party, and confer with the wealthy, eccentric Dorrance. Nick hates the idea, especially since the people there don't believe in magic or necromancy. Even worse, they have a strange creature in a display case.
But then things take a horrific turn when Nick is kidnapped, and his Charter-infused blood is fed to the creature -- which promptly goes on a rampage, drinking blood from random people. With the Abhorsen days away and no way to stop a savage, incredibly strong Free Magic monster, what can Nick do to stop Dorrance and "the creature in the case"? (Or more precisely, the creature FROM the case...)
"The Creature in the Case" sticks pretty close to the dark, horror-tinged fantasy of Garth Nix's past work, especially with all the Free/Charter Magic and nasty beasties running amuck. But Nix weaves in some other styles as well, particularly the horrible weekend parties of PG Wodehouse and the sinister conspiring of vintage spy fiction. Surprisingly, it all meshes well.
And Nix comes up with a pretty compelling, creepy idea -- a Free Magic creature loose around ordinary people, in perfectly normal, pleasant surroundings. Along the way, he unfolds some truly horrific moments, such as the hallucinatory "transfusion" scene, or the revelation of Dorrance's adoration of "Her." But he does lighten things up with a bit of Wodehousian humor ("I say! Wait a moment. You can't just hit a man and run away!").
Nick himself gets to take center stage for the first time -- while he's been important before, he was never the star. This time, he's worn out, psychologically scarred, and still kind of nervy. But his capable handling of a disastrous situation tells us a lot about the person he is now, and shows that Nix's heroes can be ordinary people as well as special necromancers and mages.
Best of all, Nix leaves the door open for future adventures involving the Abhorsen's family and the Old Kingdom. Here's hoping for more.
"The Creature in the Case" may be short, but it's a hard-hitting, darkly fantastical little novella. Funny, creepy and mildly gruesome -- definitely one to check out.
This book is all about nicholas sayre, although features lireal right at the end. Despite the fact that none of the main characters are featured largly in this book, it is a good reminder of the abhorsen trilogy and i would reccomend you buy it. The Story- I dont want to give too much away so all i'll say is that nicholas wishes to return to the old kingdom now he is almost fully recovered but to get a pass his uncle first makes him stay at the base of a secret service of some kind to represent the sayre family, however he soon discovers there is something odd going on. 9/10 (well worth the price)