Goldenhand by Garth Nix
Published by HarperCollins on October 4, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 368 Format: ARC Source: BEA
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 named Ferin 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 acquired this ARC from the publisher at Book Expo America. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.
Oh how I missed the Old Kingdom! Garth Nix returns us to this uniquely crafted world full of magic and death, bringing back fan favorite characters for another perilous tale, in Goldenhand. Danger threatens once again and it will take more than just the Abhorsen-in-Waiting to put an end to it. I will always and forever pick up anything related to this world and I’m so glad that this one did not disappoint!
I’ve never read anything quite like these books and diving into this one felt like returning home. Nix created such a fully realized world with the Old Kingdom. Everything from charter magic to the bells of an Abhorsen is so complex yet easy to understand and each of these stories unravels more and more of the intricacies of this place. Death itself is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen written and this one lets the reader explore further across the lands than ever before.
The best part of this book was returning to some of my favorite characters. Lirael is coming into her own as an Abhorsen-in-Waiting and Remembrancer but struggles to find her place at Belisaere. I loved seeing how she dealt with the events of previous books. Nicholas Sayre also returns, Garth Nix weaving his short story, The Creature in the Case into Goldenhand. I enjoyed discovering how both Free Magic and the Charter worked within him and of course also appreciated each and every moment him and Lirael spent together.
Plenty of others make appearances including the Abhorsen and her family as well the Clayr. This one also introduces Ferin, a nomad of the far north, who carries a message of the danger to come. She is persistent and stubborn, stopping at nothing to deliver the warning Lirael’s mother had given long ago. Ferin was a welcome addition, providing another side to the story and connecting the pieces that were put into play.
I loved, loved, loved this book but if I look at it critically there were a few niggles that bothered me. A majority of this book went back and forth between two different perspectives, Lirael’s and Ferin’s, which made the narrative a bit choppy and messed with the flow. My other issue was that the build up was extensive and then the ending happened way too quickly. The pacing, for me, was definitely off.
Overall Goldenhand by Garth Nix was another excellent installment to the Old Kingdom series. I loved discovering what happens to all my favorite characters and having some closure from the first three books. Nix’s world feels like home now and he writes it with such passion. If you haven’t picked up this series yet please grab Sabriel immediately and for all the Abhorsen faithful out there, Goldenhand is definitely for you!
So have you read any of the Old Kingdom series? Thoroughly excited for Goldenhand? Who’s your favorite character? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!