Monday, September 15, 2014

The Lost Abhorsen (with giveaway!)

I have long loved the Abhorsen trilogy and was excited to learn that a new title was being released. However, it’s been quite a while since I read Sabriel, Lirael, or Abhorsen, so the events of those books are no longer clear in my mind. Fortunately that wasn’t a problem. Clariel can be read as a stand alone title (though it is, in fact, a prequel to Lirael). 

Clariel’s mother, Jaciel, is a renowned goldsmith. So renowned that she is invited to Belisaere to join the High Guild of goldsmiths. Jaciel is also distantly related to the king, who is neglecting his kingdom, and is a daughter of the Abhorsen, who refuses to take up his sword and bells. Clariel wants nothing to do with any of these worlds, and would rather stay in her beloved forests in Erstwael. Aa she is only seventeen, however, her parents still dictate her life, and the move to Belisaere is made. 

Clariel's family is given a luxurious home and Jaciel is able to accept apprentices and concentrate on creating golden works of art. Clariel, however, is not swayed by her rich surroundings. She sees that Belisaere is filled with unrest and dirty politics, adding to her unease about being closed up within the crowded city walls. All too soon she is drawn into a plot to overthrow Belisaere’s neglectful king, and tragedy ensues. Escaping the city to her grandfather’s house, she hopes to find help and avenge the murder of her parents. Instead she finds a man who would rather hunt and feast than take up his duty. With the help of Free Magic creatures Clariel escapes again, intent on using her borrowed power to destroy those who murdered her parents and have laid siege on the palace. But Free Magic is unpredictable, and the creatures who wield it should not be trusted. 

This was, to me, the saddest of the Abhorsen novels. Clariel is short sighted, easily frustrated and impatient. Acting on emotion she makes tragic decision in what seem to her to be no-win situations. Nevertheless, she is a likable character, and readers will be empathetic even when she makes all the wrong choices. I recommend this novel for fans of epic fantasy, whether they’ve read other Abhorsen novels or not. 

Nix, Garth. Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen. New York: HarperCollins, 2014. (On-Sale Date: October 14, 2014.)

Disclaimer:  This novel was given to me by HarperCollins representatives at the American Library Association Annual Convention in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in the review are mine alone.

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  1. I've adored Garth Nix for *years*. I had no idea he was doing a new Abhorsen book - this is really excellent news. I am crossing my fingers to win!

    1. It sounds like there's another one in the works as well. *crosses fingers*