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Across the Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories

(Abhorsen #3.5: the Creature in the Case)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  14,164 ratings  ·  520 reviews
Nicholas Sayre will do anything to get across the Wall.

Thoughts of Lirael and Sam haunt his dreams, and he has come to realize that his destiny lies with them, in the Old Kingdom. But here in Ancelstierre, Nick faces an obstacle that is not entirely human, with a strange power that seems to come from Nicholas himself.

With Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case Garth N
Mass Market Paperback, First Eos Paperback Edition, 415 pages
Published 2005 by Eos
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Alexa Clairel is a prequel to the entire Abhors set, Nicholas Sayre is what apparently leads up to Goldenhand, the continuation to Lirael's story which…moreClairel is a prequel to the entire Abhors set, Nicholas Sayre is what apparently leads up to Goldenhand, the continuation to Lirael's story which comes out in October. Also this is the same story as The Creature in the Case(less)

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3.79  · 
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 ·  14,164 ratings  ·  520 reviews

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The stories in this collection simply aren't very good. I think I've discovered that I'm not a huge fan of Garth Nix as a writer, but more of the Abhorsen trilogy and its world. I recently read Clariel, and was similarly disappointed - perhaps it's because I was younger when I devoured the trilogy, but the characters in Clariel were written superficially and without any real sense of motivation or purpose. (view spoiler) ...more
Nemo (The Moonlight Library)
This is a review of just the novella in this collection, 'Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case'. It is not a review of the complete book.

It’s six months after the combined magic of the Charter defeated the Destoryer, and Nick is back in Ancelstierre, reluctantly attending a house party on behalf of his uncle, the Chief Minister. But what lurks behind the frivolous façade is Department 13, a legal entity for exploring the oddities in the Old Kingdom. There, Nick comes across a terrifying O
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is my video review:

On first receiving this book, I hadn't expected it to be a collection of short, random stories written by Garth Nix but had expected it to be competly about The Old Kingdom, with a book title like ''Across THe Wall'', however when I did I was super excited to see it contained Nicholas Sayre and The Creature in the Case as, after just re-reading Abhorsen, I discovered that short stories existence and was eager to read it, although I
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I was initially hesitant to jump into this collection of short stories as the first is set in Nix's Old Kingdom. It's been quite some time since I read "Sabriel," "Lirael," and "Abhorsen" and I was nervous that I would not remember enough of the details of those stories to enjoy "Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case" without spending most of the time while reading it trying to remember what/who was being referenced. If that started happening, I would be forced to re-read the entire 1,744 ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, ya
ok first of all why do Garth Nix's books all have THE WORST COVERS, like is his publisher MAD AT HIM or what

anyway I mostly picked this up for the first story, a novella about Nicholas Sayre from Lirael, which I loved. the other stories were good? It's kind of a mixed bag of stuff that has been published elsewhere; nothing else in here is related to the Old Kingdom series. A fun but inessential read.
Rose Copeland
Dec 19, 2012 rated it liked it
I'll be honest. While I like Garth Nix's writing in general, I really just wanted a follow-up to the events of Abhorsen.

While there is no full closure to the events that ended the trilogy, I was happy to see more of Nick in the short "Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case." Nick is beginning to come into his own as he deals with his contact with Orannis, which leads him back to the Wall and ultimately back to Lirael, which I hope means that he and Lirael make good on that romantic tension
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Short story collections are always hit and miss for me, because of how much variety is in them. In Nix's case, that works well in his favor - I loved his novels, and I liked seeing the scraps of the other worlds he might have made. I wasn't thrilled with the titular novella, but the most of the other stories were very effective (especially Three Roses). An enjoyable collection. (Thanks, Anna!)
Disclaimer: This is a collection of short stories and I have a history of not enjoying short stories all that much. Often, I am too frustrated by an extremely lopsided ratio of questions raised to questions answered to appreciate any craft in the writing.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by how many of the stories here I did like. I picked up Across the Wall because I was missing the Old Kingdom, and while only the first story in the collection relates to that, I found it satisfying. Nicholas
Stephen  Alff (AlffBooks)
Very quick to read and really fun. I loved the little sort of introduction before each story to tell you a little something more about the story and how it came about,some nice insight into how a writer's life sometimes runs.
The stories are great fun and not connected making it easier(not easy, just very slightly less impossible) to put down the book between stories!
Another book by Garth Nix that did all but disappoint me! Brilliant!
Joey Woolfardis
[Short review from memory until I re-read it at a later date (2016? If I have time):

Little is remember of this! I re-read the Abhorsen trilogy this year and really wasn't in to it much, but Garth Nix is not a terrible writer: I think it was mostly that I had outgrown the story a little. Surprisingly high rating considering my dislike of short stories?]
Althea Ann
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
A re-read - due to my somehow forgetting to mark down that I'd read the book, and finding another copy at the thrift store for $1. The stories are good enough that I didn't mind re-reading.

Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case — This story features characters from the 'Abhorsen' series, but relates a stand-alone adventure. Nicholas gets involved with secret agents and has to save the aristocratic attendees of an annoying party from a vicious and magical creature from Across the Wall. Very
Jul 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Garth Nix is a wonderful writer. I haven't read his Abhorsen series so I skipped over the Abhorsen story in this collection, but I read all the others and thoroughly enjoyed them all. "Under the Lake" was weird but brilliant, and "Down to the Scum Quarter" was incredibly fun. The latter story is written in 100 paragraphs and the reader sort of makes his own story by being directed to certain paragraphs depending on what objects he has chosen to carry with him and/or what he wants his character d ...more
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
OK, when I started this book I thought I was about to read an unexpected fourth book in the Abhorsen Trilogy. It's NOT an unexpected fourth book in the Abhorsen Trilogy, just for the record, although the first "story" (actually a novella) is a continuation of that world via Nick Sayers, a primary character from the trilogy.

It's ACTUALLY a collection of various Nix short stories from here, there, and everywhere. Some of them I really enjoyed. Some were just OK. I think, overall, that one of the t
Alysha DeShaé
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My full review is here on my personal website. I'll post a few excerpts here, though:

5.0 out of 5.0 stars

The very worst thing about this book is that Garth Nix dares to tell us that he doesn’t want to hear if our favorite story is “The Coin Shower.” What was he thinking?!

The very best thing about this book is the variety of stories. They aren’t all Old Kingdom tales, and the one that is wasn’t my favorite – I’m not big on mysteries. My favorites were probably “The Hill” and “Heart’s Desire.” “Li
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen
A collection of short stories by the author of Sabriel and the Seventh Tower series. Nix has compiled a bunch of short things he’s published in magazines and other collections into his own collection. The first story is the longest, and it is a short tale of the Abhorsen, so fans of Sabriel will pick this up for that aspect alone. The other stories cover a variety of genres, as he’s been asked to write certain things for various magazines, but they all have a touch of fantasy to them. Each story ...more
It's been a while since I read any Garth Nix. I picked it up expecting it to be the next book in the Abhorsen series, but quickly discovered that it's a series of short stories. While only the first and the last related to the world of the Abhorsen series, this was a thoroughly enjoyable collection of Nix's work, spanning almost 20 years of his writing career. It's a great opportunity to see how a writer's style can develop over time.
Liam Healy
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I never used to like short stories, but Garth Nix always seems to collect a variety of stories that make his collections more interesting. He's now one of my favorite authors, but I feel like it's about time I move on and read some other authors' works. Maybe I'll read one or two more by him, but I never like to get too focused on one author. This collection was a good one to end my Nix binge on, and I'm looking forward to reading the next Abhorsen book, whenever that comes out.
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fun collection of short stories. Some were more enjoyable than others, but that's par for the course. The main attraction here was the Abhorsen novella, which features Nicholas Sayre, a house party, and a free magic monster on the loose. It was a good return to the Abhorsen world, but mostly it made me realize that I still want more closure with those characters.
Eli Claire
I'm only giving this book two stars because the only story I really enjoyed in it was the story of the Old Kingdom that was included. Most of the other stories just felt ... bleh. I've read short stories that really capture you, and make you think, and leave you wanting more - but not in this collection, unfortunately. Still, I'm glad we got to learn more about Nicholas Sayre and the Old Kingdom, and in the FAQs Nix tells you how to pronounce Ancelstierre! It's worth reading the collection if yo ...more
Oct 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I was under the impression that this was going to be short stories based in the Abhorsen universe and so found it really odd that there was one story that went along with that series and then just a bunch of random short stories. It was fine, but not what I was expecting.
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
I don't know why I ever try collections of short stories. Loved the first one about Nicholas Sayre. Everything else was a big modge podge collection of stories from different worlds.
Feb 07, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF mostly because I just wanted to read “The Creature in the Case” before moving on to Goldenhand.
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2018
I only read Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case and you know what I'm okay with that.
Kenya Starflight
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've greatly enjoyed Garth Nix's "Old Kingdom" series so far (I have two books to go at this writing), and when I learned that a novella in this story collection told the further story of Nicholas, a minor character in Lirael and Abhorsen, I was eager to read it. Nix's Old Kingdom is a unique and haunting world I wanted to explore further, and I hoped to learn a bit more about the fate of Nicholas, a tragic figure from the previous books, and what would become of him in Ancelstierre. His story i ...more
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found most of the stories to be uninteresting/boring. I did like the Hansel/Gretyl take.

I had hoped "the creature in the cage" would be about the monster Lireal had to deal with in the library, but instead dealt with boring Nicholas Sayre, who's always come off to me like a privileged, utterly generic bro. Thrilling beginning of the story that falls flat in the last part.

Meh all around.
Matt LeFevers
Aug 04, 2014 rated it liked it
I picked up this book the same day I finished reading Nix's "Old Kingdom" trilogy. I had really enjoyed Sabriel and its sequels, and wanted to round things out with the novella that opens this collection. "Nicholas Sayre and The Creature in the Case" is well worth it - though it's a novella, it takes up a third of this book's length, and it is set after the events of "Abhorsen" so it provides a satisfying glimpse at some of the aftermath of the trilogy proper. It also goes a long way to redeem t ...more
Samantha wickedshizuku Tolleson
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Garth Nix fans, Joseph Delaney fans, John Flanagan fans
Recommended to Samantha wickedshizuku by: Abhorsen trilogy
Slow! This book is so slow compared to book 3. I have been trying for the better part of a year to finish this. Doesn't seem to be much hope any time soon. Am I stalling because of the announcement of a forth book to the Abhorsen series? Must investigate the sub conscience library!


Success! After two years I have finally finished this book. The biggest thing that threw me off was one of the choose your own adventure story. Though the story that got me kick started again was about two boy
Apr 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To start, I've thoroughly enjoyed all of Garth Nix's 'Old Kingdom' series thus far & had fairly high expectations for this collection of short stories (though being perfectly honest I'm not typically that big of a fan of short stories).

For the most part I did enjoy the first story 'Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case' although I thought that the ending came too abruptly for my liking. It felt like 90 pages of build up & then just a sudden "oh btw, the story's over now.." What I
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Collection. Hrm. Turns out Nix is one of those authors who I like more at greater length. The Abhorsen novella that starts this collection was the highlight for me: it had all the creepiness and mounting pressure and young people being brave with difficulty that I like from him. The rest of the collection was hit or miss, and it really seemed like the shorter the piece, the more scattered or unclever (or, in one case, quite sexist) I found it.

I'm only writing it up at all to ask whether I should
With a subtitle like "A Tale of the Abhorsen" you'd expect there to be an Abhorsen in the story somewhere, no? While this did not satisfy my need for more of the Old Kingdom, it was still fun. It was a lot like a Dr. Who episode with Nicholas Sayre in the place of the Doctor. The only other familiar character we got to see was Lirael, who arrived to stab a monster with a thistle and be awkward with Nick for a couple pages. I still want to know what else happens.

As for the rest of the stories in
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Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia, to the sound of the Salvation Army band outside playing 'Hail the Conquering Hero Comes' or possibly 'Roll Out the Barrel'. Garth left Melbourne at an early age for Canberra (the federal capital) and stayed there till he was nineteen, when he left to drive around the UK in a beat-up Austin with a boot full of books and a Silver-Reed typewriter.


Other books in the series

Abhorsen (5 books)
  • Sabriel (Abhorsen,  #1)
  • Lirael (Abhorsen, #2)
  • Abhorsen (Abhorsen, #3)
  • Clariel (Abhorsen, #4)
  • Goldenhand (Abhorsen, #5)
“I hope you find some stories here that you will enjoy, or wonder about, or that linger uncomfortably in the mind when you wish they didn't.” 10 likes
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