Read Goldenhand by Garth Nix Online


For everyone and everything there is a time to die.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 MagiFor everyone and everything there is a time to die.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 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....

Title : Goldenhand
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781471404443
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Goldenhand Reviews

  • Brandon Sanderson
    2019-02-16 13:24

    GoldenhandGarth Nix (Note: For an explanation of my Goodreads policy, please see here.)Anyone who hasn’t read Sabriel, the beginning of the Old Kingdom books by Garth Nix, is missing out. I consider reading it, during the years I was trying to break in, to be one of the fundamental experiences that helped me shape my philosophy on magic systems and worldbuilding.Needless to say, I love the magic and worldbuilding of these books—though perhaps someday I’ll do a review of Sabriel itself, and delve into what I love about the worldbuilding in these books. This review is about Goldenhand, a later installment (book five, I believe, though one of those is a prequel) in the series. I found it to be an excellent continuation.I’m impressed that Mr. Nix has kept my attention and excitement for the series over all these years, doling out new volumes carefully and expanding the magic system at a controlled rate. (And introducing new characters to become the new viewpoints as others close their arcs.) I feel he’s added good flourishes here and there to give the magic depth, but never let it spiral away from him, as was the potential at any given point. For WritersOne highlight for me in this book involved Mr. Nix’s continued ability to introduce compelling characters with a variety of backgrounds. Pay attention to how he gives strong, but different, motives to the primary players—and how he quickly establishes those motives and keeps them central to each character’s through line.I also admire his ability to write a young adult series that is firmly secondary world fantasy, with challenging worldbuilding and politics, while still keeping the narrative focused on younger characters, maintaining the feel that this is correctly shelved in teen. I think the character motivations, the sense that these are people still searching for their exact place in the world, is part of what makes this work.Finally, I would suggest a study of Mr. Nix’s pacing methods. Sabriel was the first fantasy novel I can remember that used a more intense, “thriller style” method of pacing. (I see this in the works of Jim Butcher and Brent Weeks as well.)Notice how Mr. Nix writes this book to encompass a relatively short period of time, with constant motion and action. He uses frequent cuts between viewpoints to deemphasize downtime, increase tension, and propel the story. He also consistently employs small chapter-end hooks that are frequently resolved in the early pages of the next chapter, using them to bridge chapter (and character) breaks. I’m not always a fan of this style of cliffhanger, as it can wear thin by the end of a book, but they work very well with the format and structure of this book.The Short VersionHere’s what I sent the publisher as a blurb for the book. “Garth Nix is one of the best worldbuilders in fantasy, and this book is merely further proof. I love the Old Kingdom series, and Goldenhand is an excellent continuation, packed with the excitement and passion of a storytelling virtuoso at the height of his abilities.”Highly recommended for anyone. Sabriel, the first in the series, is one of my go-to suggestions, as I feel it does a large number of things very well, and has a broad appeal for a wide variety of readers. Rating NotesI noticed no content in this book requiring specific warning.Bias NotesI have met Mr. Nix several times at conventions, and we are on friendly terms. I received this book for free from his publisher, who was pursuing a cover blurb.

  • Kayde Zimmerle
    2019-03-16 16:34

    I have very mixed feelings about Goldenhand. First things first, Sabriel is my favorite book and has been since I first read it in middle school. I am now 28, and I have reread Sabriel and the original Old Kingdom Trilogy more times than I can count. I was somewhat disappointed with Clariel, but was excited to hear that we would be revisiting the Old Kingdom and our beloved characters in Goldenhand. My expectations were high, but tempered with my "meh" feelings toward Clariel.The Good: We get to spend time with Lirael, Nicholas, Sabriel, Touchstone, Sam, and other locations and characters that made me feel warm and fuzzy with nostalgia. We also got to explore familiar locations from new perspectives. As ever, the world and mythology that Garth Nix created is fully realized and as fascinating as ever. I would give anything to spend a day in the Library of the Clayr to learn about the mysteries of the Charter...The Bad: The pacing and structure of this book are it's two biggest flaws. The first half was too slow, and the second half was too fast. We spend about 1/3rd of the book with a character that I didn't really care about. The title of the book is "Goldenhand" referring to Lirael, but I never really felt as connected to her as I did in her namesake book. Relationships between the characters were rushed, or ignored. We get almost no description or exploration of the relationship between Sabriel and Lirael, now that they are working together as the Abhorsen and Abhorsen-in-Waiting. Lirael reunites with Nick, and they basically fall totally in love and start throwing around public displays of affection in about 2 pages. To me, this was not true to Lirael's character. Sam is a peripheral character with almost nothing to do, and Sabriel and Touchstone are banished "on holiday" to keep them out of the main story for more than half the book. In the meantime, we are introduced to a new character named Ferin, who is a little interesting, but basically only serves as a plot device to make certain things happen. For much of the book, various characters are just traveling around the Old Kingdom until they all end up at the Clayr's glacier. The story really starts here, very far into the book, which makes the resolution feel thin and rushed. I also feel that this fight, with this foe, should almost have featured Sabriel more than Lirael. I wish this book would have focused more on Sabriel and Lirael as a team, and their struggles with their age difference, backgrounds, personalities, and philosophies about Charter magic and their responsibilities. I'm all for a little romance, and Lirael certainly deserves some happiness, but it should have been a B or C story, not one of the main focuses of the novel.It's difficult to describe, but all in all, I feel that this book lacked the substance and grandeur of the previous books. Everything felt rushed, from the character interactions, to the descriptions, to the story. There were even a few sentences that were so convoluted and weirdly written, I had to reread them a few times to figure out what Nix was trying to say. I don't see myself rereading this book often, if at all. My feelings may be influenced by the fact that I'm no longer the right age to fit the intended audience, but the fact that this is a "young adult novel" is no excuse, when the genre is so rife with excellent writing, and especially considering that Sabriel was first published in 1995 and the original fans have to be about my age. If you are a fan of the series, by all means, read this book and take a visit back to the Old Kingdom. But don't expect to have the time to settle in and make yourself at home.

  • Ashley
    2019-03-17 20:39

    December 2016: I have so much thoughts right now. So I will ask myself questions and then answer them. (This is a good way to trick yourself into writing things when you don't know what to write about.)First, is this a worthy successor to the original Abhorsen trilogy (which is one of my favorite fantasy series)? Yes. Is it everything I wanted from a sequel? No. Did I even know what I wanted from it? Weeeeelll, yes and no. Is it a perfect book? No. Ultimately, does it matter that it isn't perfect? No. So there you go. If you, like me, love the original series, and you have been worried about this book, you may now proceed to reading or not reading it accordingly. For further helpful information and slight spoilers, and some not-so-slight spoilers as well (which I will of course spoiler tag, because I'm not an asshole), see below.Goldenhand picks up about eight months after the events of Abhorsen. Lirael is officially the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, and lives with her half-sister Sabriel's family in the capital city of the Old Kingdom, Belisaere. Her nephew Sam has crafted for her a golden hand made from Charter magic to replace the one she lost in the binding of Orannis, but she is still deeply feeling the loss of her friend the Disreputable Dog, and the one person she feels can really understand her, Nicholas Sayre, is living in Ancelstierre. Nick decided not to travel to the Old Kingdom after the events of Abhorsen despite invitations from Sabriel and Sam. The events of Goldenhand actually dovetail with the events of the novelette "The Creature in the Case" that Nix wrote several years ago (you can find it in his short story collection Across the Wall). That story is told from Nick's POV, and ends with Nick meeting Lirael again, which happens about sixty pages into Goldenhand. (If you've read that story, and you should because it's an effective piece of fantasy horror, it's fun to contrast Nick's feeling on the events with Lirael's. For him, seeing her again is the end of one story, but the beginning of another. It's a very hopeful ending. For Lirael, seeing Nick again is just the start of things she'll need to deal with by the end of the book.)And now for some spoilers. If you read Clariel last year and it puzzled you as much as it puzzled me, it might make sense for you to know that this book is all about (view spoiler)[finally defeating Chlorr of the Mask, aka Clariel, the lost Abhorsen. She was presumed dead after Abhorsen, but it turns out only her physical body was destroyed, and she's causing major trouble up north. I was puzzled by Clariel because it was purportedly the story of how Clariel became Chlorr, but it didn't turn out to be that at all. That book felt like it was trying to be too many things, and didn't succeed at any of them. It wanted her to be a hero, but it also wanted her to be a villain, or rather, an eventual villain. It stopped just short of the interesting stuff. It makes sense now that Clariel was on Nix's mind, though, since the real end of her story is featured in this book, and it's more resonant if you've read Clariel. This book doesn't do much legwork making Clariel/Chlorr much of a three-dimensional character; her characterization here is actually pretty shallow if you've just read the main series and this one. (hide spoiler)]As mentioned above, this book was not a perfect reading experience. The first half is much stronger than the second. It alternates chapters between two storylines, one following Lirael (and Nick), and one following the new character Ferin, a messenger on the run from the northern tribes with a very important message to deliver to Clariel from her long-dead mother, Arielle. The shifting POVs in the beginning of the story are very effective, pushing the story along and giving the story an urgency that makes you turn the pages as fast as you can. But then (view spoiler)[once Ferin reaches her destination, everything goes wonky. Instead of alternating chapters, the narrative forgets about Ferin for a while, and when it does go back to her, her POV is subsumed by that of Sameth (Sabriel's son, and Nick's friend). The actual POV is this weird third person limited/omniscient hybrid. One second we're in Lirael's head, the next in Nick's, but the narrator isn't a traditional omniscient one. It's like it zooms in and out of their heads instead of sticking to just one, and it threw me. I don't believe the original trilogy was written like that, but I could be wrong. I'd have to go and check.(hide spoiler)] The end also felt very rushed. I never really felt the danger and the stakes as I should have, the way I did in the first half. Especially since Nix is best when he's in the nitty gritty details of his world, and all that rushing through takes away from those details. As mentioned above, I don't think the story quite did justice to its villain/tragic character Clariel/Chlorr. There was also this weird and convenient pairing up of characters romantically, like Nix just couldn't end his story without giving everyone their HEA. Which isn't usually his style, so maybe that's why it rang false to me. Despite those flaws, there are many things to love about this book. It was nice to get resolution on Lirael and Nick's burgeoning feelings. I love stories about two lonely people finding each other. It also tied up loose thematic ends from the first three books on several fronts, including Lirael returning home to the Glacier for the first time and realizing how she's changed, not to mention Chlorr's story, which I liked even as I wanted more of it. The terror of this world that Nix has created was also back in full force here, and that feeling I loved from the original books that was almost entirely missing in Clariel was also back. This feels like an Old Kingdom book again. It also reads ridiculously fast, which is always a good sign. Not to mention all the new elements he added to his world, visiting the territories above the Clayr's glacier, Chlorr's machinations with the tribes, and the tribes themselves. Ferin was a fierce character who I'd like to see more of. Nick's story, and the fallout from his having been a bearer of a shard of Orannis in the original trilogy, is really neat and imaginative as well. A great way for that character to leave this story.Bottom line, I still want more story from this world. Or rather, I wanted more from this particularl story (I'm not sure further books are necessary). It could have had at least 100 more pages, easy. Sometimes it's good to tell stories economically, but sometimes you gotta indulge. I wanted more indulging here, more lingering. Especially if this is the last story we're gonna get with these guys. All in all, though, a success that let me live in the world of one of my favorite stories once again for a little while, if not one for the favorites shelf.Original Pre-Review, 11/14/14: When I did my Abhorsen re-read this summer, I ended my review of the last book by saying this:"My only real complaint is that there wasn't enough of a coda to the events of the series. We only get the smallest inkling of the fates that befall these characters, although I suppose it is rather easy to guess. This is why I was so excited to learn he'd written a novella that takes place after the events in these books and that I'd somehow missed. It doesn't take place in the Old Kingdom, but we do get to check in with a couple of the characters. It filled a need. But also, I have more need. I'm very excited for Clariel in a couple of months, but seeing as how that's a prequel . . . look, Garth Nix. What I'm saying is I want more stories in this world. Give them to me.Give them to me now."When I finished Clariel this afternoon and learned (via the afterword) that he was working on an Abhorsen book featuring the further adventures of Lirael and Nicholas, it was like my demands had been answered. Obviously, I am magical.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • lauren kellie
    2019-02-25 20:51


  • RavenclawReadingRoom
    2019-03-05 19:32

    3.5 stars. I wanted to love this. I really really did. I mean, I've been obsessed with this series since I was 12, and I'm now 33. And I think in part, that was WHY I didn't love it. Don't get me wrong, I basically lost my shit when I saw there was a new Old Kingdom book coming out. But I think I had SUCH HIGH EXPECTATIONS for it that this could never actually meet them. What I wanted was Lirael/Nick, lots of encounters with the dead, and plenty of fun times with characters that I've known and loved for years. And in part, that's what I got. But frankly, there was a lot more running-for-our-lives and go-on-a-journey-to-save-the-Kingdom stuff than there was anything else, and frankly? It felt a little repetitive. (view spoiler)[And where the hell were the dead?! There were like two scenes with dead things in them. Womp. (hide spoiler)]It probably didn't help that literally half the book was from the perspective of Ferin, a new character, and I wasn't a huge fan of her. Every time her chapters came around, I wanted to skip them to get back to the characters that I know and love. The story finally picked up for me (view spoiler)[when Lirael and Nick reach the Clayr Glacier, because then we were back on familiar turf. And once Ferin and Lirael's narratives started to overlap, I was completely engrossed in the story (hide spoiler)]. But that first half of the book? Yeah, it was kind of strugglebus territory. Also, (view spoiler)[as much as I was cheering for a romance between Lirael and Nick, what we got felt...clinical? And slightly instalove-y. Yes, there's some great discussion from Lirael about how she doesn't know how to proceed with such things, and there's a lot of initial awkwardness between them as they try to figure out their feelings. But basically every time they kissed, it was like "and then they kissed. NOW BACK TO THE PLOT", and it just...there was no emotion to it somehow and I never felt like either of them were particularly into it. And then all of a sudden, Lirael's all "I love you and BTW, the Disreputable Dog said she's going to turn up at our wedding", and I was like "........slow down, crazy. You've kissed like 4 times" (hide spoiler)]So yeah. I wanted to love it, I really did. But ultimately? I...was a little disappointed. Happy it exists. But still disappointed.

  • Lyn
    2019-02-19 13:47

    There are so many interesting directions this book could have taken and instead, the author decided to shoe horn an unlikely romance into Lirael's life because apparently she can only find happiness if she has a man?Major Spoilers Ahead:(view spoiler)[This book is not a satisfying read. The only new character the author created is a perfect Mary Sue with no inner depth. She was a human sacrifice but we never get to see what it's like to grow up knowing that you will be possessed by a demon. The worst part is that we waste so much time with this character just running from place to place, but she doesn't seem to care whether she lives or dies and neither do we because we never really get to know her. At the end, she too is dumped into a random relationship with another main character. It's not explained what they have in common. The author doesn't even discuss how she feels about being free from demonic possession after generations of her people's suffering. The romance is just a neat way to end her story, like now she can go off into the sunset and have babies and that's all we need to hear from her ever again.The other familiar characters are written in such a 2D and lifeless way, relying heavily on what we know and love about them from previous books, without adding any new information. It's shocking how bad the writing is, given that I reread Lirael last week and teared up at her loneliness.In this book, he tries to recreate that feeling by lifting phrases and paragraphs directly from the previous 3 books, but it falls flat because Lirael operates totally out of character, mainly by falling for Nick so quickly. I still have no idea why. He's basically the first man she talks to who isn't a relative. She can't possible know him in 4 days and yet by the end of the book, she has told him she loves him and has mentioned a wedding. The second half of this book, where all the action happens, is basically a wikipedia summary of a real story. The first three books had such a compelling plot but I could not make myself care about Chlorr because we have seen her so many times and the main characters have always won. Also, the climax was basically a combination of Hedge's demise and the way Kerrigor's demise should have gone. The lack of originality in this story was very disappointing. I'm very glad I didn't pay money for this. (hide spoiler)]

  • Nemo (The Moonlight Library)
    2019-03-17 15:49

    This review was originally posted on Young Adult At HeartFirst of all, I had absolutely NO IDEA that the ebook I was given to review from Edelweiss was only a partial copy of the book. There was no warning anywhere – I had to stumble over an announcement made on Goodreads from Nix himself saying it was only a partial review copy before the rage in me simmered down from what I believed was a cliffhanger ending and an unwrapped up plot. I was HOPPING MAD that Nix could betray a trusted reader like that, and I am so glad I was wrong, but it still colours my review of this book because I didn’t get to read all of it.What I did read was very good, but I was aware that as we moved along at a greater pace than I expected, that the protagonists weren’t going to achieve whatever it was they needed to by the time the climax was supposed to come around.So basically the plot follows Lirael as we see her side of the story from Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case and what happens directly after that – getting Nick to the Clayr’s Glacier where he will have better healing and Lirael can research the combination of Free Magic and Charter Magic inside him – and also be the prodigal daughter returning home no longer part of the Clayr but part of the royal family and the Abhorsen-in-Waiting to boot. The other half of the plot follows a new character called Ferin as she travels from the far north to deliver a message to the Clayr from Lirael’s biological mother, now long dead, and the struggles she overcomes as she is hunted by powerful magical tribes from the north.As always, I loved Nix’s writing. The set up seems slow but by the time you realise you’re knee-deep into the story it’s barrelling along and all you can do is hold on tight and trust Nix not to crash us. Which in this case, unfortunately I did crash but only because my copy was literally missing the ending few chapters that would have wrapped everything up.I’m adding the physical copy of this book to my collection anyway, so I’ll get to read the proper ending. As such I have to withhold judgement on whether or not I recommend the book for others – I’ll certainly enjoy it, but as I’m not reviewing the full copy, I simply can’t say.I received this book for free from HarperCollins Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  • Carrie Mansfield
    2019-02-18 13:52

    I'm disappointed. I absolutely loved Clariel and had high hopes for the true sequel to Abhorsen. What we got was the first *half* of a sequel to Abhorsen. Very little actually happens - quite literally the majority of the story is the travel of the main characters of each major story - and absolutely nothing has been resolved.I can't help but wonder if because this is being marketed as YA that they chose to divide this book into two instead of just writing the 700-800 page book that the story so obviously calls for.There's little new mythos here, and save one scene in the opening chapters no real battles with the Dead. Heck, the story is still so much in the build-up stage I can't even tell you who the actual antagonist of the second half will be. And if you were hoping to see Sabriel, just forget it. She's quite literally on vacation and all mentions of her reference this fact. There are some nice scenes between Lirael and Sam, but even those are outnumbered by scenes of them (especially Sam) acting awkward around each other.What we get is well written and an easy read, but it's hard to recommend until the rest of the book comes out.I have to say, this is one of biggest book disappointments I've had in quite some time.

  • Stephanie
    2019-03-07 21:42

    A warning: spoilers!I should like to say that this series is dear to me and it holds a deep and special place in my heart. Nix does a number of things with Goldenhand well, not least of all juggling multiple strong characters together in a single scene (looking at the map room scenes here). To continue, though, I think of this book as The Great Extended Epilogue.So much of the pacing was strange. Ferin's chapters were very serious--even somber at times--and high action, life or death stuff. Lirael's chapters were relaxed, sweet, even humorous. Nix had me audibly laughing (even closing the book to do so) no less than six times. He writes humor well. But: juxtaposed next to the gravity and speed of Ferin's chapters, Lirael's were jarring. It felt like different novellas shoved uncomfortably side-by-side into one book together.That said, Ferin's character is phenomenal. My personal opinion is that it would be worthwhile to have a whole book just of her. She's fierce, she's clever, she's proud, she's well-rounded. In addition to Ferin herself, the expansion of our understanding of the Old Kingdom and surrounding lands is so interesting and raises more questions that are worth exploring.To get to my main points of contention, though. First: the romance in Lirael's chapters felt forced. It felt too fast, unnatural. Moreover, the characterization didn't feel right; the physicality and constant kissing after so short a time seemed out of character for Lirael. She's more private, and even with her growth in asserting herself, it didn't feel in character for her to be suddenly and constantly touching--especially in such an exceedingly public way--this young man.Additionally, It didn't feel like she knew Nick well enough; we as readers didn't know him well enough. In Lirael and Abhorsen, he was so ill as to be hard to get a handle on his true personality, and in The Creature in the Case, he was dealing with a serious emergency that didn't allow for him to shine as his usual self. We get a feel of his intelligence, wit, and playfulness in those stories to a degree, but his character wasn't given a real chance to be fully fleshed out in Goldenhand. At least, that's my opinion.So, that fed some of my disbelief in Lirael and Nick's relationship; we as readers barely know Nick, and the same goes for Lirael--it doesn't feel like she really knows him yet, either. Given more editing and perhaps more chapters, this could have been remedied. To summarize: the romance subplot could best be described as obtrusive and repetitive. Second: on a related note in terms of unsuccessful pacing, so much of the exposition felt dropped into the story in glaringly thick chunks. The exposition in the original trilogy is paced well and revealed in an exciting and organic manner. In Goldenhand, it feels like Nix is trying to rush through it to get to the action. Seeing as the majority of people reading this book are not new to the series, a good portion of this felt redundant. Goldenhand is not the book to start with if one is a newcomer to the series, so for Nix to try and adjust for newcomers (or for veteran fans that may have forgotten some details in the interim between books) threw the pacing off by forcing the reader to slow down and wade through chunks of exposition that most were already familiar with.Third: the climax, as well, could have benefited from more attentive writing. This is the crux of the story, the ending of an antagonist and flawed, interesting character who has spanned almost the entire series, and it is over much too quickly. Hell, this climax doesn't even come until almost the end of the book. So much of the action and fluff in earlier chapters could have been trimmed to allow for this climax to be addressed with more depth--the characters don't interact with Chlorr/Clariel, nor does she have any screen time until the very end, making it difficult or impossible to invest in the main conflict.Fourth: one of the greatest disservices to this series was the paucity of development and exploration of Sabriel and Lirael's relationship. It's whisked under the rug in that it's mentioned that they have been working together and Nix names Sabriel as Lirael's mentor, but doesn't truly show this. A focus and study of their differences and similarities, diverging and converging histories, their blossoming relationship and bond as both newfound family and a specialized team would have been a strong asset to the series. Also: the loss of this broke my heart into a million pieces. I never wished for anything so much in my life. Crush my dreams, Nix!Fifth: there seemed to be a strange lack of Dead and necromancy, to me. When those things did pop up, it was more as a bit piece than an important chunk.Sixth: the Great Rift raises so many questions and had the opportunity to be an awe-inspiring, utterly spooky feature, and it instead fell flat.Overall, the book felt less like a "sequel of sorts" and more like a faintly fanfiction-y extended epilogue. There is such a marked difference in Nix's writing between the original trilogy and this. Goldenhand doesn't have the same depth, natural rhythm, or splendor that the original trilogy has. It was not particularly inspiring. I enjoyed it, it made me laugh, it tied up some loose ends, but was overall rather disappointing.

  • Rinn
    2019-02-27 21:24

    I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Also posted on my blog, Rinn Reads.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.

  • Andrea
    2019-03-12 13:49

    This was awesome. I loved basically everything about it. Lirael is just wonderful and I love the person she's grown to be. I loved watching her and Nick interact. At first they were so awkward it was just adorable! And we got to see all of the old crew, which I am a fan of, ESPECIALLY MOGGET MY PRECIOUS LITTLE CAT SON! I want to read a book devoted to Mogget- someone (cough Nix) make that happen pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeee. This book felt like it was more mystery than the others. I didn't really know what exactly was happening/what was supposed to happen until like halfway through. And I was okay with that because the plot was still moving. I loved the addition of Ferin, she was different and I liked her for it. If there's a book 6 I want to see her team up with Lirael and the rest of the crew. AND MORE MOGGET!

  • Rachael
    2019-03-07 21:27

    I hate to say it but Garth Nix should have stopped after Clariel. It's the curse of the last book in that it was just not as good as previous works in the series.OK, the world-building was still great, the magic system still innovative and the writing very good. But, I think Goldenhand could have been better.There were so many threads in this one which took a while to come together. And actually I had inklings all along about how the novel was going to build up to its climax. Ferin's pov chapters seemed particularly hard to get through because they were just so slow and I didn't really feel a connection with her like I have with previous Old Kingdom characters. Speaking of which, Sameth, Sabriel, Touchstone and Mogget - where were you?? There was nowhere near enough about those guys.We do get to read about Lirael and Nick but their strong characters were slightly weakened by a developing romance between them. Can't a boy and a girl just be friends?Overall, Goldenhand was underwhelming and that's​ why I can only give it 3 stars.

  • Nick Lancaster
    2019-02-28 13:42

    A mixed bag. The story felt a bit too neat and tidy, and I felt that some of the characters felt a bit... I don't know diminished? Simplified? than they are in the earlier books. Some of the cameos felt a bit forced too, with the exception of one in particular which was phenomenally powerful and central to the story. The world building was a wonderful and vivid extension to the Old Kingdom, and despite my misgiving about the story it does give the sense that the events are happenings in a world that will keep on turning after the pages are closed.Perhaps my problem is that too much was explained, and there was a lack of the subtly that I love so dearly about Sabriel/Lirael/Abhorsen/ and to a lesser extent Clariel, and less (though obviously not none) in the way of the aching sadness that counterweights these four books so well.

  • Mary Lewis
    2019-02-16 16:26

    "I HAVE NO WORDS AND I LOVE THIS UNIVERSE SO MUCH."That's what I predicted I would say. I wasn't completely wrong, because I do love this universe so much, but I do have a few words. Namely, I am so here for pretty much everything that happened in this book. I do agree with whoever said it was too neat -- it was tied up just a little bit too neatly for my taste. That said, I still loved what we got. Break my heart, why don't you, Garth Nix.I think most of what I'm feeling right now is "I could have read a thousand more pages of this". Because I could have, easily. And I hope that I get to. I'm not going to beg you to write more, Mr. Nix, but... I will strongly suggest that you do that. Pretty please.SPOILERY BITS BEYOND THIS POINT. LOTS OF SPOILERS. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS.1) I really liked the concept of there literally being no air beyond the Great Rift. Like... REALLY liked it. Maybe it's because space fascinates me and I'm thinking of this as functioning like a vacuum, but... yeah, good choice. I would read more about people coming up with ways to get around that minor obstacle.2) Clariel broke my heart. She was so at war with herself and it hurt me.3) LIRAEL LITERALLY SHRIEKING "LOVE YOU" GAVE ME LIFE. OH GOD.4) SABRIEL HAVING NO FUCKING CHILL ALSO GAVE ME LIFE. I love her dearly.5) I sniffled and/or sobbed at every mention of the Dog, as expected. God. Help me. I'm a wreck.

  • Micheline
    2019-02-19 18:45


  • Allison
    2019-02-20 20:46

    I've been an avid Old Kingdom fan since I discovered Sabriel in middle school. Some 15 years later, I've hung on every Old Kingdom word (Sabriel is still my favorite). Unfortunately some of those words are not as well put together as others.I wish I could say I liked Goldenhand, but really, I didn't. The plot felt both drawn out and rushed, as Nix spent 60% of the book detailing arduous journeys, and 30% of the book trying to nail down forced romances and 10% of the book on the actual plot. This book felt less like a sequel to the Lireal/Abhorsen trilogy and more like a "Old Kingdom Greatest Hits". In that sense, all of your favorite characters show up-- many of them to serve absolutely no purpose (Sam, Touchstone, Clariel and Chlorr despite being the "big bads", any of the Clayr outside of Lireal herself), or to serve as self-conscious deus ex machina, as if Nix knew that he was putting overpowered characters in day-saving roles and decided it's fine to do if they only help a little (Mogget, the Disreputable Dog). I was disappointed in the ham-handed handling of Clariel as well, after enjoying the most recent book of the same name. She seems shoehorned in as though to remind the reader of THAT OTHER BOOK; in the same way that Sabriel makes passing mentions of Kerrigor, and Nick wallows in the ramifications of being a shard of Orannis without any of that ever coming to a head.The romances (there are three of them) are trite and seem to come out of left field. Even Sabriel and Touchstone's romance (one of the three I'm counting here) seems stilted-- perhaps because we've never actually seen them as a couple before. Sam and Ferin's "romance" is entirely out of the blue, unnecessary and incredibly disappointing after Clariel proved that you could have an interesting female lead without a romance (I always got an asexual vibe from Clariel too but that's likely just my interpretation). And then we come to the crux of the matter. I knew Nick and Lirael were going to have a "thing" after the end of Abhorsen, and the short story Nick features in. They obviously had chemistry. But the chemistry in this book doesn't develop naturally anymore. It felt like cramming a round peg in a square hole; it'll fit EVENTUALLY but not without a lot of banging and bashing and in these characters' cases; whining and pining for chapters on end. To swing away from the failed romances for a moment, I honestly didn't mind the plot (the little of it that there was). It felt oddly both stretched and compressed in various places, and never had much sense of urgency or stakes, but it was passable. The final scene with Lirael vs. Chlorr vs. Clariel however seemed like a straight rip out of the end climax of Abhoresen, where Lirael fights Orannis beyond the Ninth Gate, dog in tow. I get it, beyond the Ninth Gate is a real cool place to be and people want to see more of that-- but maybe if we'd spent less time mooning and pining and traversing slate and shale cliffs we could have spent more time actually seeing what people love about this series: the magic, the river of Death, the Abhorsen's powers, and above all, NEW parts of the world.The OTHER climax was practically non-existent as Lirael managed to remotely shut down entire armies, and their subsequent disbursement couldn't even be afforded its own chapter, just an epilogue. It reads like Gandalf riding it at Helm's Deep and everyone just going "okay and that's the end of the book thanks for coming". What I wanted from this book was something new, to see Sabriel (my babe, ok) and Lirael (I guess), do Abhorsen things like shutting down Free Magic entities or banishing the Dead. I wanted to have new explorations of the Old Kingdom world, even if the plot was as basic as "there's a shit ton of dead, what are we going to do?!" because what always made these books so wonderful to me was Nix's grand imagination and how seamless the world felt, how easy it was to envision a place of fantasy, just across the Wall from the real (ish) world, close enough to touch but too dangerous to go alone.I didn't get that from this book; but instead we got some regurgitated ideas, thinly veiled reminders of the other books that I loved, a "Greatest Hits" list of Old Kingdom characters, and terrible story pacing. Truly disappointed.

  • Nidofito
    2019-03-09 16:46

    THIS REVIEW MAY HAVE SPOILERS!Enchanted. I am entirely enchanted by this world that continues to be so rich, and these characters who are such a joy to be around. I feel so happy to have read Goldenhand yet so sad to part with these amazing characters and world once again.And despite me frantically waving my pompoms as I cheer for this book, it was not a perfect book. There are some things, both new and old, that prevented Goldenhand from getting a full 5/5.First, the pace was a little off, particularly in the second half. I felt that the story was really tight and full of tension when both Ferin and Lirael were on their respective journeys, one to the Glacier and the other to Yellowsands. But once everyone got together, the story wasn't able to build the same tension which is sad because that was when the real trouble began with Chlorr and the northern tribes.Second, and this is a little hard to explain but I'll try. Basically, I wanted Lirael to figure out more on her own. When Lirael got her mother's message, it almost seemed as she had half a mind to ignore it. Had it not been Sabriel and Touchstone's cautious natures, the Clayr were claiming the vision false. I wish Lirael, considering she was a librarian, had done research or had previous knowledge about Chlorr and related things to make her decision, rather than Sabriael laying it all out and giving Lirael her duty. I suppose it makes more sense for Sabriel to know more things Abhorsen-related but I felt this was a pivotal point for Lirael to shine that Nix missed.Third and probably be my last because this review is getting too long, I found the ending a little abrupt. The war never gave me a feeling that it was dire, and desperate situation. Maybe because it was Sam's POV? It just did not serious enough. Also, I didn't understand why Nix felt the need to make a new couple considering romance is not his strong point (in my humble opinion). As much as I love his concise writing and world-building, I always want more when it comes to his romance. For me, Fenrir and Sam's budding relationship was not necessary for this story. Or maybe just not the way he wrote it.Anyways, despite my few issues with the book, I loved it and it is with a very heavy heart that I'm saying goodbye to these characters. I feel like Nix will jump to the next generation if he wishes to continue with this series and while I'm hoping he does, my heart wants more of Lirael and Nick.

  • Stephen
    2019-03-07 21:24

    Every bit as captivating and rich as the original Old Kingdom trilogy. An incredible piece of work that yet again shows Garth Nix's brilliant talents. I have to say, immediately a better and more fulfilling read than Clariel. Great to see the"humanity" of some of my favorite heroes.

  • Tegan (The Rowdy Librarian)
    2019-03-01 20:42

    Yes!!!! Garth Nix, you can do no wrong!Other than have no release date :(Meme to express the feels to come...

  • Sarah
    2019-03-17 16:48

    A story starring Lirael & Nicholas? HELL YES SIGN ME UP!!!

  • Lauren James
    2019-03-03 17:38

    So, I recently listed Lirael, the main character of Goldenhand, as my ultimate Book Girlfriend. Here’s what I said about her:"If there’s anyone who’s a direct inspiration for Clove, it’s Lirael. She lives in a huge underground library and is too shy to even talk to the other librarians. Instead she spends her time exploring its thousand year old depths with her magic dog sidekick. She also can transform into a otter.It’s hard to articulate how much Lirael meant to me as a teenager. It feels very weird to make jokes about what a babe she is, because I just think that she’s absolutely wonderful. I used to really wish she was a real person. She may be my literary soulmate. I’m so excited to see where Garth Nix takes her in Goldenhand, out next month. I’ve missed her."Because of that blog post, Hot Key were lovely enough to send me a limited edition gold signed copy of Goldenhand. It made my month. It's glorious.So, obviously the series means a lot to me. I've been waiting, like, a decade for this book. (When I first read the series, I remember having to look up the word 'disreputable', because I thought it meant that the Disreputable Dog was really smelly. I was tiny.)Goldenhand didn't let me down. It ties up all the plots that were left hanging, gives satisfying cameos of old favourites (sometimes too brief, in the case of Mogget, the Disreputable Dog and Touchstone), and casts a whole new dimension onto the existing books.Lirael was as wonderful as ever, and the new character Ferin lived up to the impossibly high standard Lirael had set. She's a very Katherine Rundell-esque feral wild girl, and I feel like I've not spent enough time with her yet.I loved seeing Lirael training as Sabriel's Abhorsen in waiting. Their relationship is so great, and I could have easily read 200 more pages of their interactions. I want spin offs of their day to day life, without the intensity of having a Big Disaster to distract them. In fact, I want a Parks & Rec spin off of the whole family - Sam and Ellimere and Touchstone and Nick and Mogget and the Disreputable Dog, all getting in and out of hijinks.(Spoilers ahead) The story itself focuses on the surviving Big Bad of the trilogy, Chlorr of the Mask - also known as Clariel, the focus of Nix's last book. Nix never covers old ground, and is constantly expanding his world in new directions - literally going off the map, in this case. That's why these books feel so real. You can tell there are layers and layers of world-building behind what's seen on the page (an offhand reference to what created a kind of alternate universe/nuclear wasteland left me absolutely desperate to know more, and I'm sure if asked Nix would have all the answers. Here's hoping he writes another book about it.)I was expecting a similar kind of battle to the one in Abhorsen, but in fact the climax of the book is quiet and unsettling and genuinely unique - I've never read anything like it.The romance of the book was the only part which disappointed me a bit. I was bracing myself for this going in, as I've changed so much as a person since I first read the trilogy that I knew that whatever happened, it wouldn't be what I had made up in my head when I was young.For me, the romance was entirely unnecessary. I would have much preferred to see Lirael as a strong, independent, single woman. Her chemistry with Nick felt forced and painful and unneeded. It seemed to take away from both characters, rather than building them up.Overall though, this was an amazing end (or continuation? I want more please, Garth!) to one of my all time favourite series. I am so, so happy with it - and I wish I could send it back in time to the Lauren who was aching for it as a teenager.5 stars

  • Arnaud
    2019-02-21 18:51

    Great continuation of the Abhorsens series! Loved every page. Really good story, no stones left unturned and a really good pace for it. Lirael story developped nicely, glad to see that all characters besides herself were accounted for :-)

  • Meredith
    2019-02-19 19:50

    Goldenhand takes up a few months after Abhorsen leaves off. Sabriel, Touchstone, and Sameth make cameos at the very end, but for the most part, this is Lirael's story. Lirael is now the official Abhorsen-in-Waiting. Sabriel and King Touchstone are away on vacation, leaving Lirael in charge of managing any pressing necromantic problems in the Old Kingdom during their absence. When she receives a message from Nicholas Sayre -- Prince Sameth's former classmate, the unwitting tool of Orannis, Lirael's somewhat crush, and the nephew of the prime minister in the normal non-magic world across the Wall -- that a rare Free Magic creature is on the loose across the Wall, Lirael rushes off to his aid. Along with the creature, she discovers Nick gravely injured. He is also still suffering from Free Magic contamination as the result of the events in Lirael and Abhorsen, making him at best a puzzle and at worse a threat. To learn more about Nick's unique condition, Lirael decides to take him to the Great Library of the Clayr for examination. Usually, depictions of librarians in literature are very negative and stereotypical, but Garth Nix's librarians are sword-wielding keepers of mysteries as well as magical scholars. Unfortunately, the reader only gets a brief glimpse of the Great Library and into the world of the Clayr before the action sends everyone off again. The head librarian forms a hypothesis about Nick after spending a little over than hour with him, which is almost immediately taken as true and tested because his newfound power is necessary for the plot.While Lirael is sorting out Nick and rediscovering her feelings for him, a young nomad girl named Ferin is desperately trying to reach the Clayrs' glacier to deliver a message from Lirael's long dead mother. She is pursued by the combined strength of all the nomad tribes and makes daring escape after narrow daring escape. Ferin is rather a stereotypical, barbarian, action chick, and her potential depth was overshadowed by her pat role and accompanying superhuman skill set. There was something about her reminiscent of Ygritte from a Song of Ice and Fire, which predisposed me to like her, and I wished Ferin would have been as compelling and complex.In typical Nix fashion, everything is resolved very quickly at the last possible moment. The Disreputable Dog appears out of nowhere to act as a deus ex machine, which makes the resolution even more abrupt than usual. I did really enjoy the glimpse of Abhorsens past that this book gave. The Clayr mention in passing that once there were dozens of Abhorsens at a time, rather than the one Abhorsen and one apprentice system in the Old Kingdom series. Garth Nix should write a book of the Old Republic (a la Star Wars), so I can see a fight scene with a dozen Abhorsens all ringing bells. I was very sad that Tim Curry didn't read the audio addition of this book. He did such an amazing job with the first three books in the series. The narrator isn't bad, but she is no Tim Curry.

  • Jamrock
    2019-03-10 17:37

    If you read Mistborn trilogy, cried a river and then, desperate for more, read The Alloy Law trilogy you will be familiar with the still-hungry tale of disappointment that follows...not that the Wax & Wayne books weren't fantastic, they were, but after the original Mistborn it felt a little *too* YA and much too shallow and all of this is only because both authors surpassed all standards-of-ever with the immense world building in their first series.If this book had come out a year or two after Abhorsen then all would be well and this would be five stars, maybe four. It didn't though and as it has taken ten years we expected more. This is a continuation of the story, carrying on just a few months after the ending of Abhorsen, with many of the same characters (the ones that survived that final battle anyway) but with two key exceptions, Mogget and Kibbeth. Okay, so Mogget was freed for playing his part in the battle against Orannis and Kibbeth went deep into Death to rescue Nicholas and lost her her physical body. Fine. But not fine because those characters, in the main, were the ones who told the story of the Charter, the Bright Shiners, the building of The Wall. Christ, they actually were Free Magic beings. It was the world-building that set the original trilogy apart and that made all of us Old Kingdom fans desperate for more. What we get here is a novella, a longer version of The Creature in the Case and, in part, that's okay because there is really strong link that, along with Clariel, weaves through all of the books to tell the complete story of Chlorr of the Mask. As a set of five books they sit nicely together but WE NEED MORE. I could only give this four stars if I knew that another trilogy had been written, three books of AT LEAST 1000 pages each that told the full story of the Nine Bright Shiners, why Mogget refused to take part in the binding of Orannis, the building of the wall, the joining of The Old Kingdom to Ancelstierre, the founding of The Clayr and the making of the bells. That trilogy if it ever comes will be the five stars...but I won't cast a Charter spell to create an oxygen bubble because I will be holding my breath for too long and will have passed the Ninth Gate and onwards to final Death. Maybe 3 1/2 stars, but not quite.Somebody tell me I am wrong....

  • Emily
    2019-02-22 14:33

    I very much enjoyed Goldenhand - the world of the Abhorsens is richly drawn (to the point where I think you could run a roleplaying game magic system off of it), and the characters are compelling and well constructed. With all that said, I think I will only give this one four stars, because it moved down slightly from the perfection that is Abhorsen, my favorite book of the series. (Sabriel was also extremely good.) In Goldenhand, Lirael is spared for the moment from having to save the world, and instead only has to save a single country; as such, she is given more time to actually be a child/do childlike things (despite being...nineteen, I think?), and so (view spoiler)[her romance with Nick (hide spoiler)] gets some screentime. I should add that this is fine! These are, after all, YA books; this one just felt somehow younger than the rest, despite having the oldest protagonist to date. I really loved the way Ferin's backstory built up, too; and even though I guessed a lot of her secrets, I still felt proud (in a kind of silly way) for guessing them - and there were still some I did not expect. So very well done there. I hope that the offhanded references to other adventures (e.g. Sabriel being familiar with the steppes) mean that future novels or novellas are in the works!

  • Kari Rhiannon (Moon Magister Reviews)
    2019-02-22 15:47

    So I reread the entire series in preparation for reading this and I'm really glad I did, because this book really feels like the tying of the final ribbon over the events of the the original trilogy. It's going to be sad to think that this is maybe the last of the Sabriel/Lirael books, but I can't really complain about how it ended. I am very satisfied and very happy with it. Full rtc to come when it isn't 3am.

  • Hackmops
    2019-03-09 16:51

    I have waited for over a decade to read the continuation of the Abhorsen story and I happy to say that Goldenhand absolutely delivered. I feel happy and satisfied and also relieved, as a lot was riding on this book for me - Abhorsen is one of my favourite series and one I have a very strong emotional connection to, so I will elaborate a bit further.Sabriel was originally published in 1996 but I read it first when I was in middle or early high school - I don't remember the exact year but it was probably around 2002 or 2003? I came across the book in my school library, the cover of the German edition at that time featured the face of a girl and a white cat, so naturally, I was intrigued. Read the book, loved it, but there was no book 2 or 3 available so I left it at that. This was also before I had internet access whenever I wanted, so it was not unusual for me to absolutely adore something but not pursue further info or online fandom, as it simply was not an option back then.Anyway, skip forward some years. My mom now had cancer and I received the Abhorsen trilogy box set for Christmas 2005, in English. I read all three during a weekend holiday with my dad in February 2006. It was the first time I had seen him cry and tell me that he thought my mum would not make it after all. He was right, she passed away about half a year later.The original Abhorsen trilogy will forever be connected with death - not only from the obvious subject matter but also based on my personal circumstances around the time. I felt a strong connection with Lirael and her crushing loneliness and I wished many times that there had been a Disreputable Dog or Mogget for me when I was upset and feeling helpless. In a way, the Abhorsen stories saved me and helped me get through difficult times as it made death feel different in a way - obviously, death is still final but for some reason, reading about young women going out into the world, dealing with death and doing their thing in their way really anchored me and gave me something to hold on to.Now, back to Goldenhand.. finally! I had skipped Clariel because of the so-so reviews and because I did not want to ruin my feelings for the series, and I was incredibly happy to hold this book in my hands. So many years of waiting..As a side-note, I felt a bit miffed that the blurb recs on the cover were by Cassandra Clare, Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo. Now, I know this is for promo reasons and the blurbs were all very positive but come on, Nix has been publishing books far longer than any of them and can write circles around at least two of these authors (I haven't read anything by Bardugo). I get it, this is promo from people who marketers thought have a similar audience and write about similar settings (young adult fantasy featuring strong female leads) but seriously, Nix's writing is so much better and so.. timeless. It neatly fits with older fantasy and yet does not out of place right now, either - and I don't mean that his writing is generic, far from it. Nix has just a fantastic grasp on language, his dialogue just works so well and his writing has a certain quality that just stands apart from any kind of trends that often shape YA novels. Clare's writing and character-building is pretty schlocky and Maas, as much as I liked her ACOTAR series, is often overly dramatic and everything is always against impossible odds - in contrast, Nix's storytelling just feels very grounded and everything comes together just so, even if the Destroyer of Worlds happens to roll in. The creatures of Death are always dangerous, every one of them, and normal people could not stand against them at all BUT the Abhorsen don't always have to fight armies of enemies against overwhelming odds, which is how if often feels when reading other YA stories. Even when things are dire, there is still a feeling of optimism shining through and I think this is some writerly magic, right there.Story-wise, Sabriel has really come into her own as an Abhorsen-in-Waiting and for me, the entire book was basically a treat for everybody who has been waiting since the last book (if you don't count the two Old Kingdom short stories, which I have of course read as well). In Goldenhand, the stakes are not as high as in Abhorsen but the story is still exciting, the Big Bad pretty big and quite bad, and I enjoyed the new additions to the cast, as well as seeing old friends again (I totally almost cried during the (view spoiler)[Mogget and Dog cameo moments (hide spoiler)]). Everything just worked and again, Nix's masterful writing was on fine display as the two storylines of Ferin and Sabriel/Nick alternated with different pacing until they both converged and picked up speed. For me, the book was almost perfect. I wish it had packed a bit more of an emotional punch because Nix does those exceedingly well but I am also content with a self-contained novel that gives me a warm, gloving feeling to see my favourite characters settled and happy. The Abhorsen series is a great example of quality young adult novels.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Caleb
    2019-02-25 18:52

    Goldenhand was a great addition to the Old Kingdom series. As usual, I wanted more from the story. There are so many things that I need explanations for. Hopefully, Nix will produce something pretty quickly. I really must know more about Ferin: she was an amazing addition to an already supreme cast of characters.

  • Vicky
    2019-03-04 15:34

    Ok I feel like Lirael and Nick are gonna get together, even though I really ship Nick and Sam... So...

  • Chelsea
    2019-02-20 15:40

    More reviews available at my blog, Beauty and the Bookworm.This is a walking book, which was immensely disappointing. Here's the thing. This is the fifth book in a series. The first book could be read as a stand-alone. The second and third were closely linked and could be read as a duo, but really drew on the first book. The fourth was a prequel, set far before the first three, and wasn't the same in quality though it did give some fascinating character backstory to villain encountered in another book. And now there's this one, which feels like Nix just wrote it because people asked him to, rather than because there was a story asking to be told. Consequently, the pacing was terrible, and the vast majority of the book (about the first 70% of it) are spent with characters travelling somewhere with only the flimsiest of goals.Our two main characters here are Lirael, the heroine of books two and three, who is now the Abhorsen-In-Waiting under Queen Sabriel, who still holds the title of Abhorsen. Together, they are working to quell the still-trouble-making spirit of Chlorr of the Mask (previously known as Clariel, the Lost Abhorsen) until she gets away, and then Sabriel and her husband go away on vacation, neatly banishing them for the majority of the story. Lirael eventually sets off to help and recover Nick Sayres, who seems to have gotten into some trouble on the other side of the Wall that divides the Old Kingdom from Nick's homeland. Meanwhile, a girl called Ferin, who's from a group of nomadic tribes we've never heard of before in the four books that we've had so far(?) is trying to deliver a message to Lirael, and is being pursued by other tribespeople who want to kill her because she's escaped a death dictated by the Witch with No Face--three guesses who that is. Consequently, Lirael spends a lot of time going to the Wall, and then to the glacier where the Clayr live with Nick in tow. Ferin spends a lot of time on a boat and then running down a road and over some ridges with a messed-up foot. There are a few interesting encounters along the way, but they are few and far between and are over far too quickly. Sabriel and King Touchstone's people show up to magically save Ferin and her companions. Lirael doesn't have much to do.And there's a distinct problem with Ferin as a character, which is that she is only mildly interesting at best. Sabriel and Lirael both came across as fully-developed characters from the beginnings of their books. Sabriel always had a sense of duty, a calling to the position as Abhorsen, that drove her actions to save her father and the Old Kingdom. Lirael didn't know what her purpose was, not possessing the future sight of most of the Clayr, but longed to find a purpose, and made that her goal in her first book and then set out to fulfill her destiny as Remembrancer and Abhorsen in her second book. While Clariel's book didn't have the same breathtaking, epic scope, there was a sad poetry about it as we saw her struggle for her own place and then slowly spiral down into the dark lure of Free Magic. But Ferin? Ferin's just a messenger. Toward the end of the book, she gains a bit of a humorous element (a bit discordant with her character for the rest of the book) and her backstory is interesting, but I never felt like it pulled into her character and made her an interesting, compelling character like our other heroines. In fact, I couldn't bring myself to really care about Ferin at all. Skipping her chapters entirely was a very tempting prospect.And then there's the last part of the book, where Lirael and Nick set out to find Chlorr's "anchor" and finally banish her beyond Death into the final resting place, or however it's called. While the first part of the book was far too long, this part, this interesting part where Lirael and Nick actually start to talk to each other and build some sort of relationship, and voyage beyond where the Charter lives and into the Great Rift and then into Death itself (on Lirael's part), was far too short. Everything is just kind of thrown together, and at the same time that the nomads are trying to invade the Old Kingdom lands. Sigh.I also felt like Nix wasn't entirely playing by his own rules here. The bell that's supposed to banish people to the final gate of Death apparently doesn't actually do so if you only ring it quickly and then make it shut up. Looking at that final gate of Death is supposed to take you beyond it, permanently, and yet Lirael just looks away and escapes from it. The Disreputable Dog told Lirael that they wouldn't see each other again, and yet here she is. It felt very much like Nix knew people wanted certain things, and so he wrote them in, rather than writing them in because they worked, fit, or built the world further. Which...basically means that it reads like fanfiction, rather than as another "real" installment. It is another real installment, of course, but it doesn't feel anything like the original books, or even the slow, tragic spiral of Clariel.Overall, I really wanted to like this book, but it was just okay at best.2 stars out of 5.