Goldenhand (Abhorsen #5) By: Garth Nix
For everyone and everything there is a time to die. Lirael is no longer a shy Second Assistant Librarian. She is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, with Dead creatures to battle and Free Magic entities to bind. She’s also a Remembrancer, wielder of the Dark Mirror. Lirael lost one of her hands in the binding of Orannis, but now she has a new hand, one of gilded steel and Charter Magic. When Lirael finds Nicholas Sayre lying unconscious after being attacked by a hideous Free Magic creature, she uses her powers to save him. But Nicholas is deeply tainted with Free Magic. Fearing it will escape the Charter mark that seals it within his flesh and bones, Lirael seeks help for Nick at her childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier. But even as Lirael and Nick return to the Clayr, a young woman from the distant North braves the elements and many enemies in a desperate attempt to deliver a message to Lirael from her long-dead mother, Arielle. Ferin brings a dire warning about the Witch With No Face. But who is the Witch, and what is she planning? Once more a great danger threatens the Old Kingdom, and it must be forestalled not only in the living world but also in the cold, remorseless river of Death.
I love this world.
After reading Clariel I meant to go back and read the first three but I didn’t get around to it before reading Goldenhand, because of that I think it took me a little while to remember certain things about the characters. It’s been close to ten years since I read them though.
It was like returning to old friends once I got there. Everyone makes an appearance and the story was building up to be as epic as the last. I told my husband when I had less than a hundred pages to read that the book was going to be a cliffhanger because I couldn’t see it reaching a satisfying conclusion in time. I was sure that’s what was going to happen and I was kind of excited, but then everything was neatly wrapped up. It was disappointing and felt rushed. Everyone was paired up and allusions to the future were made and then the end.
I don’t know if Nix is just tired of writing Old Kingdom books or was under deadline or what, but I wanted more. Kind of sad. I’m still rating it four out of five because the rest of the book was awesome, it was just the ending that left me dissatisfied.
Not the cover I had but super cool
Clariel (Abhorsen #4) By: Garth Nix
Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid, to the sinister Guildmaster Kilp. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.
With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her – and it is herself she must question most of all.
It’s been years since I read the original Abhorsen books and I think that turned out to be a good thing. I’m normally not a fan of prequels but because it’s been so long since I was in this world it didn’t feel like a prequel. I barely remember anything from the first books and reading this one just made me want to go back and re-read them.
The book was a great cautionary tale of what happens when people shirk their duties and don’t teach children important things. The whole situation that Clariel found herself in would never have happened if so many people had done their jobs. The king shouldn’t have just given up on life. The Abhorsen should have grown a pair. Her parents should have actually taught her about her history and why certain things were done. Total disregard for the importance of their duties.
I really couldn’t help but feel sorry for Clariel. She just wanted to live in her woods and no one would let her. The ending is bittersweet and I won’t ruin it here, it goes perfectly with the endings of the previous books, though.
I’ve got a whole pile of books checked out from the library and now I’m going to have to resist re-reading the first three books in the series. I’m really looking forward to Nix’s next book and hope we don’t have to wait as long for it.