Goldenhand – Garth Nix

Release date: 11 October 2016
Rating: ★★★★★★★★★ – 9/10
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Goldenhand (The Old Kingdom series #5) blurb:

Lirael is no longer a shy Second Assistant Librarian – she’s now the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, with a new hand, one of gilded steel and Charter Magic.  When she discovers Nicholas Sayre lying unconscious, she uses her powers to save him.  But the attack has left Nicholas tainted with Free Magic, so together they embark on a dangerous journey to seek help at Lirael’s childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier.

Ferin, a young woman from the distant North, is travelling to meet them, bearing a message from Lirael’s long-dead mother about the Witch With No Face.  But who is the Witch, and what is she planning?

Lirael must save the Old Kingdom from this great danger – and it must be forestalled not only in the living world but also in the cold, remorseless river of death.

This is Garth Nix taking us back to the Old Kingdom for a sequel to Abhorsen, the final book in The Old Kingdom Trilogy.

As with Nix there are lots of tie-ins with books he has written since The Old Kingdom trilogy. While not necessary to read the Old Kingdom short stories in ‘Across the Wall’ and ‘To Hold the Bridge’, or the Old Kingdom prequel ‘Clariel’ beforehand, all three definitely add a greater depth of this story.

In Goldenhand we pick up not long after the events of Abhorsen: Lirael is getting to know her new family and her learning to use her new hand as created by Sammeth, her nephew.  She is still mourning the loss of her best (and first and only) friend the Disreputable Dog, and as always, trouble is brewing.

Personally, the story felt a little rushed towards the end and I think Nix could have stretched it out another 20-50 pages to lessen this, and also to create better scenes with some characters who it felt were making cameo appearances for nostalgic reasons instead of contributing to the plot.

I did really like the new character of Ferin.  She was really interesting, and as we haven’t been north of the Greenwash Bridge before, I found her story so different to the others.  Although all of the main characters have such different backgrounds, and did for the original trilogy as well.

Overall the story is brilliant – it’s a good storyline, new and different from the others.  Although perhaps my nostalgia is getting the better of me. Fingers crossed that there is more to Lirael’s story coming!

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