Goodreads Synopsis: 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. Goldenhand is the long-awaited fifth installment of Garth Nix’s New York Times bestselling Old Kingdom series.
If you have been following my blog for a while now, you will know that the Old Kingdoms trilogy is one of my all time favourite series. This is probably my most anticipated book of this year and it did not disappoint. It was wonderful to be back in this world. I will admit that it was not perfect, but what book is? The pacing is a bit uneven at times, and the beginning of the book is basically a lot of travelling for the characters. However Garth Nix does an incredible job of keeping you engaged and invested, even in these slower moving sections. The introduction of new characters was done very well – I really enjoyed the character of Ferrin. What makes it so good to be back in this world though, are the characters we know and love. This series has some of my favourite characters so it was amazing to be back with them. The dual narrative worked well – alot of the time with dual narratives I have one perspective I prefer. While I would say I do love Lirael more, I found both perspectives engaging and enjoyable. A small issue I had was the romance elements were a bit on the heavy side – Lirael’s love interest was very much suggested in the earlier books but I felt that too much time was spent concentrating on it during her chapters. The pairing of Ferrin with another characters also felt unnecessary for me – it just seemed to occur so everyone would be paired up. One other small issue would be the lack of suspense. I don’t know what it was, but I didn’t feel a lot of fear for the characters or felt they were in real danger – not like I did with the original trilogy. Having said that, it didn’t really affect my enjoyment while reading it. Although I liked the ending I did think it was perhaps a bit rushed, especially when you consider the slow nature of the start of the book. Having said all that, I did really enjoy the plot of this book. I liked the antagonist, and the development of this character. Although, as I previously said, it perhaps lacked a bit of tension. This series also contains one of my favourite magic systems, so it was great to be back with it. Overall I absolutely loved this book though.
For me, this series is very much a book equivalent of a safety blanket, if that makes sense. I first read Sabriel when I was a teenager and I fell in love. That book, as well as the trilogy, are what got me into fantasy and reading as a whole. So I reading Goldenhand was basically me in my comfort zone. Hopefully that makes sense. Another factor for me, is the character of Lirael. I never really see myself in characters, but I do with Lirael. When I first read her story I was going through a hard time, and I found her pain very relatable. Basically what I am saying, is that it is hard for me not to be entirely biased towards this book, but I hope you don’t mind. This was an amazing continuation of this series. I would definitely recommend reading the original trilogy, as well as the prequel Clariel, before reading this as you will get the most out of it that way. I very much hope that there will be more books in this series.
Clearly I would recommend this book, and the series as well. I don’t think there is much more to say :). Let me know if you are anticipating this book, and if you’ve read the trilogy. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.