Like, one of my absolute favorite things about Garth Nix is that he's actually a dude who can write and does write really interesting, really absorbing women characters. A woman is the main character of each of the first two novels in the Old Kingdom series**, and while the third one was more of an ensemble piece that still had a lot of really awesome ladies, a couple of the (absolutely delightful) short stories that have come out were dude-centered. So in Goldenhand it feels like Nix has decided to personally make it up to me with the first scenes being:
1. Two lady necromancers hangin' out and dispatchin' some fucking zombies
2. While discussing their nemesis, who is also a lady necromancer
3. Cut to two guards on duty, the experienced, sensible, older one of whom turns out to be a lady
4. And while they're on duty, somebody rocks up and is like YO I HAVE A MESSAGE FOR THAT ALL-LADY, NON-WHITE PROPHETESS GROUP OF RENOWN AND FAME
5. And it turns out this messenger is also a lady
6. And she's gonna be a main character of the book.
7. Cut to lady hawkmaster who dispatches a little girl messenger
8. To summon one of the aforementioned lady necromancers and the woman who basically rules the kingdom while her parents are away
I LOVE IT.
* An actual conversation in our household last week involved me, explaining to Mr. Rhod at great length, why I refused to read Giraffe's Can't Dance to our pre-verbal, just-shy-of-a year kid because not only do I dislike how it references various savannah animals as being jungle ones, and how sloppy it generally is with language in order to get a rhyme, but I also object to how it treats Africa as a single country, how Africa has a jungle, etc. Simultaneously, I get annoyed by A is for Activist because I disapprove of its unorthodox capitalization style, which Mr. Rhod points out is just them being an alphabet book and capitalizing on each page all words that start with the designated letter for that page. The only books, by the way, that meet my exacting requirements: King Baby by Kate Beaton, and The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Everything else we have can go get FUCKED.
** The first half of Lirael was some of the most INTENSE ASS wish-fulfillment reading I have ever done in my life. Like, I can't remember reading anything ever as a kid that made me feel so INTENSELY and so DEEPLY and so PROFOUNDLY that here was a book that had a version of me in it who was having ADVENTURES IN A LIBRARY and LITTLE CLOCKWORK MICE and a DISREPUTABLE DOG WHO LOVED ME and and and.