Review

Review: Goldenhand (Abhorsen #5) by Garth Nix

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5 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

And here it is at last, my long overdue review of Goldenhand by Garth Nix. I started reading this as soon as it landed on my doormat, and read it in two days – back in October. Sadly, due to my preparations for Sci-Fi Month, and the fact that sometimes I take FOREVER to get my thoughts together, it has taken me this long to write my review up.

I first read Sabriel, the first book in Garth Nix’s Abhorsen/The Old Kingdom series when I was 12 or 13. I think it was a birthday present, and I’m not sure who from now – but whomever it was, I am incredibly grateful to them. This was the beginning of my love for the series, and I devoured the next two books as soon as I could. It is a series that has remained with me ever since, and in the fourteen years since I read it for the first time, I have re-read it countless times. I even took part in a readalong of Sabriel on my blog a few years ago. When Clariel was published in 2014, I was of course ecstatic – but it didn’t feel quite the same. Being a prequel to the main series, it was lacking what I had fallen in love with – namely the familiar characters, ones that I’d ‘adventured’ with.

And then along came Goldenhand.

Goldenhand picks up where Lirael leaves off. We get to follow the badass Second Assistant Librarian turned Abhorsen-in-Waiting once again. We get to see familiar faces, such as Sabriel and Touchstone. Returning to the Old Kingdom was just truly magical, and it felt like reading the series for the first time all over again. It brought up those feelings, that enchantment I felt when I first read Sabriel, and how drawn I was into the world of the Abhorsen.

Nix’s writing is just as excellent as ever, and of course the world building is stellar. He builds even further upon his creation of more than a decade ago, and Goldenhand helps to paint an even more vivid picture of the world in which Lirael lives. It is even published using the same classic font as the first books, which somehow reminded me even more strongly of this world into which I had escaped. And what I love about this world is how much it feels like ours, but with a magical twist. As a bookish twelve-year-old (and even now as a bookish 26-year-old) I could totally imagine myself accompanying Lirael and Sabriel on their journeys, exploring Anceltierre and The Old Kingdom. There is enough of a threat to the world that you feel a sense of peril, an urgency to read on and make sure that the heroes will be okay, even when you know things will turn out okay. I’ve never encountered anything like the magic system in these books in any other – a magic that feels so real and entwined in everything.

Goldenhand is, without a doubt, an excellent return to the Old Kingdom, and one that cannot be missed. If, like me, you fell in love with the series on your first read all those years ago, then for nostalgia’s sake pick up a copy of Goldenhand and dive back in! If you’ve never read any of Garth Nix’s books, then I highly recommend you start with Sabriel and work your way through the series – it is an absolute classic for fantasy fans, no matter your age. Truly a series I will treasure forever.

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Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: November 2015

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

 

The Emperor's Blades Golden Son Edge of Tomorrow Feed Ubik Illuminae The HIve Construct Clariel by Garth Nix A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan Brooklyn

 

Last month I read a total of ten books: The Emperor’s Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #1) by Brian Staveley, Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown, Edge of Tomorrow by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy #1) by Mira Grant, Ubik by Philip K. Dick, Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, The Hive Construct by Alexander Maskill, Clariel (The Old Kingdom #4) by Garth Nix, A Natural History of Dragons (Memoir by Lady Trent #1) by Marie Brennan and Brooklyn by Colm Toibin.

As last month was Sci-Fi Month, I tried to read as much science fiction as possible. Golden Son was definitely the stand-out book of the month, and my review will be posted in January, as part of the readalong in preparation for the release of Morning Star! I also particularly enjoyed Ubik, from one of the masters of science fiction, Philip K. Dick. In true PKD style, it’s odd but so, so unique and wonderful. Brooklyn was sweet, not at all my usual sort of book but I went to see the film with my mum when I visited my parents last week, and it was a gorgeous film, which encouraged me to pick up the book.

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read two books towards the DC vs Marvel Challenge. The final villain of the challenge is Mister Sinister.
  • I have currently read 90 books towards my Goodreads goal of 100.

 

Currently reading:

The 100
How was November for you?

Buddy Read

Bell & Sword: A Sabriel Read-along

Bell and Sword

“Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?”

When my lovely friend Paola, one of The Duchesses and also my fellow Queen of Ferelden, told me about her plans for a Sabriel read-along in May I knew I would HAVE to join. Ever since I read the trilogy it has been one of my favourite series ever – a perfect blend of fantasy and familiarity, with a highly original concept.

From today, 10th May, until 31st May, Paola will be hosting a read-along of Sabriel by Garth Nix. The Duchesses blog will feature regularly scheduled posts, which I will also be joining in on, as well as some more spontaneous ones (in the words of Duchess Paola, expect shenanigans). Here is what she has planned:

  • May 10th: Read-Along Kickoff at The Duchesses
  • May 17th: Discussion #1 (Prologue – Chapter 10)
  • May 24th: Discussion #2 (Chapter 11 – 20)
  • May 31st: Discussion #3 (Chapter 21 – Epilogue)

I too will be posting on these days, with my thoughts on the book! It will be interesting to re-read an old favourite and take a different ‘eye’ to it.

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death—and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny.

First published 30th September 1996 by Harper Collins, Sabriel is the first book in a series known as ‘Abhorsen’ or ‘The Old Kingdom’. The other books include Lirael, published 29th April 2001, Abhorsen, published 1st January 2003, and Clariel, which will be published on 14th October 2014. The series also includes a short story published for World Book Day in 2005, entitled The Creature in the Case.

Lirael by Garth Nix Abhorsen by Garth Nix Clariel by Garth Nix

Why am I joining the read-along?

I think I was possibly nine or ten years old when I first read Sabriel, and it had me in its grasp from the very beginning. An amazing heroine? Check. A talking cat? Check. A unique magic system? Check. I felt sorry for all the people who lived in Ancelstierre, who knew nothing of the Old Kingdom and believed all that could be found there was evil. WRONG! So much magic and history. Although I don’t seem to have remembered quite as much as Paola (who can tell you the names of all the bells that Sabriel uses!), I remember the feeling that the book gave me – and it has remained a firm favourite ever since. It is most definitely time for a re-read.

Are you a fan of Sabriel, or are you thinking of reading it for the first time?

If you are interested in joining, you can read more information in Paola’s original post.