Goldenhand➱ Goldenhand Read ➹ Author Garth Nix – Lirael knows the blood that runs in her veins and her true powers She also knows that Chlorr of the Mask has been conspiring with the clans of the steppe, from a message she s received from her long d Lirael knows the blood that runs in her veins and her true powers She also knows that Chlorr of the Mask has been conspiring with the clans of the steppe, from a message she s received from her long dead mother, Arielle But no one else believes that nomads can be a real threat Accompanied by Nicholas Sayre and a young mountain nomad, Lirael goes on a dangerous journey across the steppe and into the mountains to see for herself There Lirael discovers the future Arielle saw long ago that is now coming to pass Chlorr has gathered the clans to attack the unsuspecting Old Kingdom The only way Lirael and her companions can stop the attack is to find Chlorr s original, better human self Clariel Only, Clariel has been asleep for centuries beyond the Great Rift Lirael must reach her and help her go beyond the Ninth Gate to die the final Death before it is too late. Goldenhand Note For an explanation of my Goodreads policy, please see here Anyone who hasn t read Sabriel , the beginning of the Old Kingdom books by Garth Nix, is missing out I consider reading it, during the years I was trying to break in, to be one of the fundamental experiences that helped me shape my philosophy on magic systems and worldbuilding.Needless to say, I love the magic and worldbuilding of these books though perhaps someday I ll do a review of Sabriel itself, and delve into what I love about the worldbuilding in these books This review is about Goldenhand, a later installment book five, I believe, though one of those is a prequel in the series I found it to be an excellent continuation.I m impressed that Mr Nix has kept my attention and excitement for the series over all these years, doling out new volumes carefully and expanding the magic system at a controlled rate And introducing new characters to become the new viewpoints as others close their arcs I feel he s added good flourishes here and there to give the magic depth, but never let it spiral away from him, as was the potential at any given point For WritersOne highlight for me in this book involved Mr Nix s continued ability to introduce compelling characters with a variety of backgrounds Pay attention to how he gives strong, but different, motives to the primary players and how he quickly establishes those motives and keeps them central to each character s through line.I also admire his ability to write a young adult series that is firmly secondary world fantasy, with challenging worldbuilding and politics, while still keeping the narrative focused on younger characters, maintaining the feel that this is correctly shelved in teen I think the character motivations, the sense that these are people still searching for their exact place in the world, is part of what makes this work.Finally, I would suggest a study of Mr Nix s pacing methods Sabriel was the first fantasy novel I can remember that used a intense, thriller style method of pacing I see this in the works of Jim Butcher and Brent Weeks as well Notice how Mr Nix writes this book to encompass a relatively short period of time, with constant motion and action He uses frequent cuts between viewpoints to deemphasize downtime, increase tension, and propel the story He also consistently employs small chapter end hooks that are frequently resolved in the early pages of the next chapter, using them to bridge chapter and character breaks I m not always a fan of this style of cliffhanger, as it can wear thin by the end of a book, but they work very well with the format and structure of this book.The Short VersionHere s what I sent the publisher as a blurb for the book Garth Nix is one of the best worldbuilders in fantasy, and this book is merely further proof I love the Old Kingdom series, and Goldenhand is an excellent continuation, packed with the excitement and passion of a storytelling virtuoso at the height of his abilities Highly recommended for anyone Sabriel, the first in the series, is one of my go to suggestions, as I feel it does a large number of things very well, and has a broad appeal for a wide variety of readers Rating NotesI noticed no content in this book requiring specific warning.Bias NotesI have met Mr Nix several times at conventions, and we are on friendly terms I received this book for free from his publisher, who was pursuing a cover blurb. I have very mixed feelings about Goldenhand First things first, Sabriel is my favorite book and has been since I first read it in middle school I am now 28, and I have reread Sabriel and the original Old Kingdom Trilogy times than I can count I was somewhat disappointed with Clariel, but was excited to hear that we would be revisiting the Old Kingdom and our beloved characters in Goldenhand My expectations were high, but tempered with my meh feelings toward Clariel.The Good We get to spend time with Lirael, Nicholas, Sabriel, Touchstone, Sam, and other locations and characters that made me feel warm and fuzzy with nostalgia We also got to explore familiar locations from new perspectives As ever, the world and mythology that Garth Nix created is fully realized and as fascinating as ever I would give anything to spend a day in the Library of the Clayr to learn about the mysteries of the CharterThe Bad The pacing and structure of this book are it s two biggest flaws The first half was too slow, and the second half was too fast We spend about 1 3rd of the book with a character that I didn t really care about The title of the book is Goldenhand referring to Lirael, but I never really felt as connected to her as I did in her namesake book Relationships between the characters were rushed, or ignored We get almost no description or exploration of the relationship between Sabriel and Lirael, now that they are working together as the Abhorsen and Abhorsen in Waiting Lirael reunites with Nick, and they basically fall totally in love and start throwing around public displays of affection in about 2 pages To me, this was not true to Lirael s character Sam is a peripheral character with almost nothing to do, and Sabriel and Touchstone are banished on holiday to keep them out of the main story for than half the book In the meantime, we are introduced to a new character named Ferin, who is a little interesting, but basically only serves as a plot device to make certain things happen For much of the book, various characters are just traveling around the Old Kingdom until they all end up at the Clayr s glacier The story really starts here, very far into the book, which makes the resolution feel thin and rushed I also feel that this fight, with this foe, should almost have featured Sabriel than Lirael I wish this book would have focused on Sabriel and Lirael as a team, and their struggles with their age difference, backgrounds, personalities, and philosophies about Charter magic and their responsibilities I m all for a little romance, and Lirael certainly deserves some happiness, but it should have been a B or C story, not one of the main focuses of the novel.It s difficult to describe, but all in all, I feel that this book lacked the substance and grandeur of the previous books Everything felt rushed, from the character interactions, to the descriptions, to the story There were even a few sentences that were so convoluted and weirdly written, I had to reread them a few times to figure out what Nix was trying to say I don t see myself rereading this book often, if at all My feelings may be influenced by the fact that I m no longer the right age to fit the intended audience, but the fact that this is a young adult novel is no excuse, when the genre is so rife with excellent writing, and especially considering that Sabriel was first published in 1995 and the original fans have to be about my age If you are a fan of the series, by all means, read this book and take a visit back to the Old Kingdom But don t expect to have the time to settle in and make yourself at home. For everyone and everything there is a time to die 3.5 stars I ve thoroughly enjoyed reading the Old Kingdom series though I must admit this last instalment didn t blow me away as some of the others did It was enjoyable, and I loved that all our favourite characters are back, Lirael, Sabriel, Touchstone, Sam as well as some new faces It took a while for the plot to start, it involved a free magic creature accidentally brought alive by Nicholas Sayre and Lirael s removal of said creature From there she takes Nick to her childhood home of the Clayr, those who have the sight and can see the future Meanwhile, a young girl from one of the Northern Clans is sent a message to take to Lirael, one she is told is of the upmost importance and from someone close to Lirael Naturally her journey is fraught with difficulties and dangers and once delivered to Lirael, she and Nick must face a powerful enemy, one it was thought had been defeated previously Maybe this series was too long Maybe a fifth book wasn t needed as the third one ended so powerfully There was a fair bit of focus on the romance which is something I m not interested in and has never really been a theme in the other books Also the theme of time travel was used, which is also something I don t like so that didn t help Like I said, I still enjoyed it and will keep it for rereads, but compared to the first three books, it pales in comparison. 3.5 stars I wanted to love this I really really did I mean, I ve been obsessed with this series since I was 12, and I m now 33 And I think in part, that was WHY I didn t love it Don t get me wrong, I basically lost my shit when I saw there was a new Old Kingdom book coming out But I think I had SUCH HIGH EXPECTATIONS for it that this could never actually meet them What I wanted was Lirael Nick, lots of encounters with the dead, and plenty of fun times with characters that I ve known and loved for years And in part, that s what I got But frankly, there was a lot running for our lives and go on a journey to save the Kingdom stuff than there was anything else, and frankly It felt a little repetitive view spoiler And where the hell were the dead There were like two scenes with dead things in them Womp hide spoiler December 2016 I have so much thoughts right now So I will ask myself questions and then answer them This is a good way to trick yourself into writing things when you don t know what to write about First, is this a worthy successor to the original Abhorsen trilogy which is one of my favorite fantasy series Yes Is it everything I wanted from a sequel No Did I even know what I wanted from it Weeeeelll, yes and no Is it a perfect book No Ultimately, does it matter that it isn t perfect No So there you go If you, like me, love the original series, and you have been worried about this book, you may now proceed to reading or not reading it accordingly For further helpful information and slight spoilers, and some not so slight spoilers as well which I will of course spoiler tag, because I m not an asshole , see below Goldenhand picks up about eight months after the events of Abhorsen Lirael is officially the Abhorsen in Waiting, and lives with her half sister Sabriel s family in the capital city of the Old Kingdom, Belisaere Her nephew Sam has crafted for her a golden hand made from Charter magic to replace the one she lost in the binding of Orannis, but she is still deeply feeling the loss of her friend the Disreputable Dog, and the one person she feels can really understand her, Nicholas Sayre, is living in Ancelstierre Nick decided not to travel to the Old Kingdom after the events of Abhorsen despite invitations from Sabriel and Sam The events of Goldenhand actually dovetail with the events of the novelette The Creature in the Case that Nix wrote several years ago you can find it in his short story collection Across the Wall That story is told from Nick s POV, and ends with Nick meeting Lirael again, which happens about sixty pages into Goldenhand If you ve read that story, and you should because it s an effective piece of fantasy horror, it s fun to contrast Nick s feeling on the events with Lirael s For him, seeing her again is the end of one story, but the beginning of another It s a very hopeful ending For Lirael, seeing Nick again is just the start of things she ll need to deal with by the end of the book And now for some spoilers If you read Clariel last year and it puzzled you as much as it puzzled me, it might make sense for you to know that this book is all about view spoiler finally defeating Chlorr of the Mask, aka Clariel, the lost Abhorsen She was presumed dead after Abhorsen, but it turns out only her physical body was destroyed, and she s causing major trouble up north I was puzzled by Clariel because it was purportedly the story of how Clariel became Chlorr, but it didn t turn out to be that at all That book felt like it was trying to be too many things, and didn t succeed at any of them It wanted her to be a hero, but it also wanted her to be a villain, or rather, an eventual villain It stopped just short of the interesting stuff It makes sense now that Clariel was on Nix s mind, though, since the real end of her story is featured in this book, and it s resonant if you ve read Clariel This book doesn t do much legwork making Clariel Chlorr much of a three dimensional character her characterization here is actually pretty shallow if you ve just read the main series and this one hide spoiler 2 18 16GUYS THERE S A TITLE A RELEASE DATE 7 22 15 LIRAEL AND NICK ARE DESTINED TO BE TOGETHER Goldenhand is a continuation of the Old Kingdom lore popularised in Sabriel It s a unique fantasy setting which delves into the land of the dead to traverse the living a great concept consistently maintained throughout the series.Building on the structure of the series to date, author Garth Nix expands his fictional world to introduce new key characters Ferin , and harsh landscapes there s an oxygen starved canyon which gives the series a deeper feel and paves the way for future stories centered around environs not previously explored.There s a nostalgic feel to Goldenhand a return to the original trilogy with the plot centered around a small cast of characters, a dangerous world changing threat, and a strong nod to continuity which makes me want to re read the other books, Lirael book 2 and Clariel book 4 in particular Ferin is a great character, and the strong return of Lirael is a nice touch.Unlike some series books, Goldenhand doesn t work well as a standalone in my opinion, I recommend reading the original trilogy before picking this up My rating 4 5 stars I enjoyed Goldenhand much than Clariel and hope the author revisits this world soon This books does lend itself towards the YA side of fantasy so don t expect A Song of Fire and Ice level of violence or darkness. A few years ago I re read the Old Kingdom trilogy after forgetting almost all of it from my younger years I was mildly disappointed to say the least, but presumably that was merely from growing up Clariel, the prequel to that trilogy came and went without so much of a ripple and that world seemed too far away for me to care any Goldenhand takes place almost directly after the Old Kingdom ends, once again following Lirael and her family When you first pick this up you feel the familiarity of the Charter Magic and, unlike in Clariel, it does not leave you.There seemed an atmosphere I did not remember in the original trilogy in this book It is quick paced and allows you to delve deeply in to this world very well, bringing the memories of the other tales back with it It is an odd feeling, particularly if you have pretty much dismissed a series because you have outgrown it Goldenhand in a way follows Clariel , even if it is set some 600 years after The first half of the novel is rich with Charter Magic and Free Magic, and builds the world that we knew so well before up and up It seemed wonderful to be back there again, in a place that was terribly foggy from passing years and growing up We meet the characters we loved in the original trilogy, and even meet the ones we possibly despised But the atmosphere of magic was there, as was the familiarity of it all.However, as the book moved along and the romance between Lirael and Nick whilst not unwelcome felt forced and overly done It felt clumsy and, quite frankly, childish Lirael and Nick may be young, but the ridiculous manner of their romance was too much It plunged this magical book in to the realms of cheesy YA and that was a very unfortunate thing to happen.And yet, having said that, if you remove the clumsy romance and the fairly dreary way in which the book seemed to peter out, we have a very lovely wholly encompassing ending that I feel is the most fitting to this whole series We see what happens when Lirael returns to the Clayr and their glacier and we feel the magic once again It s a nice ending, but not too strong Perhaps it is one or two books too many.I feel, rightly or wrongly so, that the Old Kingdom trilogy would be much better if Nix wrote it now With his years of experience in life as well as in writing, it would be the series that you can see the potential of it being Of course, that is neither here nor there, and it is what it is Some things are just better left where they are. This book is VASTLY better than Clariel Clariel was very flat and unsympathetic as a character, in my opinion She rarely did anything but whine and complain about generally everything around her, and she acted in a manner that I find very hard to like, very flippant, and often mean spirited toward others, and she was very selfish and self involved, rarely caring at all about other people except to comment on how annoying she found their interruptions into her inner emo monologue Without a decent character for the story to center on, everything else just sort of fell apart It also didn t help that very little happened in the book until about the 2 3 mark I found much of the book boring, and stripped of everything that made other books in the series so magical because of it This book is about characters I care about, who are interesting and sympathetic Right off the bat it s a better book just for that one thing Is it as good as the original trilogy Yes and no Yes, because Garth Nix has obviously improved his skills as a writer in the time since Abhorsen was released This book is very well written, and there are a lot of little writing technicalities that he uses to very good effect The new character, Ferin, was interesting, fun and likable, and her introduction and storyline was woven very well into the story Old favorites returned, though I d have liked to see of Mogget, Elemiere, Sam view spoiler and the Disreputable Dog hide spoiler Mogget 3 And Clariel , prtf