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The Nixie's Song (Beyond The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1) by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
Cover Artist: Tony diTerlizzi
Review by Drew Bittner
Simon & Schuster Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 0689871317
Date: 18 September 2007 List Price $10.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Life would be great for 11-year old Nicholas Vargas if...
    his father hadn't gotten remarried to a woman he barely knows, whose daughter is kind of, well, weird;
    his stepsister weren't fixated on faeries;
    he hadn't found a four-leaf clover, allowing him to see faeries; and
    he hadn't foolishly agreed to find a water faerie's missing siblings, while his home is endangered by a roaming giant.
Sounds like enough trouble for any kid, right?

Well, that's just where things start getting interesting in The Nixie's Song: Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1 by Tony diTerlizzi and Holly Black.

Picking up sometime after the events of the Spiderwick quintology, Nick and his stepsister Laurie barely meet (after she's moved in and displaced Nick from his own room) before they are launched into an adventure. Nick gains the Sight by accident, allowing him to see faeries, and finds Taloa, a nixie (water faerie) who's searching for her sisters. Unhappily, it appears that a giant has destroyed their home pond and killed some of Taloa's family.

Nick and Laurie have no idea what to do or where to go next. They have only the Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You, a book written by Tony and Holly based on notes from the three Grace children. Determined to learn more (and hopefully save themselves and Taloa), Nick and Laurie head for a book signing-- featuring Holly and Tony!

Suffice to say, things take strange turns as the children come to grips with the fantastic world they can suddenly perceive. Even if they can help Taloa, how are they going to deal with a giant? It'll take all the luck they can muster, along with everything Arthur Spiderwick has to say about the faerie world... and even then, Happily Ever After is not guaranteed. Not even when a special visitor turns up to lend a hand...

In Nixie's Song, Holly Black and Tony diTerlizzi recreate the magic that made Spiderwick a gigantic success. They advance the meta quality of the book by working themselves into the story (giving some help to the kids but not solving their problems for them), and create an entirely new setting (Florida, rather than New England), where Nick's dad is building a community and the faerie world is threatened in new ways.

Nick and Laurie have the feel of authentic kids, with emotional ups and downs to make a roller coaster lover dizzy. Nick is a video game fiend and Laurie loves faeries, but they come to an understanding and learn to work together. Though not naturally heroic, they discover reserves of courage and compassion they never even suspected -- but it's clear they'll have to dig even deeper, as their problems and challenges are only beginning.

Holly Black's story is terrific, pitting the kids against a world they think they can understand (if the Spiderwick books are right, that is), while Tony diTerlizzi's art illustrates the characters and key moments brilliantly. It is clear that they have the gift for creating spectacular stories for readers of all ages, combining their skills into a work that is more than the sum of its parts.

You can find out more about the authors by visiting their websites:www.blackholly.com and www.diterlizzi.com. A trailer for the upcoming Spiderwick movie (in release February 2008) can be seen here.

Readers who enjoy fine fiction involving young heroes will love Nixie's Song...but legions of Spiderwick fans may make finding the book a challenge by itself!

Strongly recommended.


Our Readers Respond

From: Travis:
    OK, so this is a continuation of the original spiderwicks right? Is there a second one in this series yet? Also, how many original spiderwicks are there?

    [Editor's Note: There were 5 book in the first Spiderwick series. The Nixie's Song is the start of a second series that takes place in Florida. Sorry don't know when the next one is coming out. Check out the website: http://www.spiderwick.com/]

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