Clariel is the fourth book in Garth Nix’s popular Old Kingdom trilogy. I haven’t read the others but as this is a prequel to the other three so I found it didn’t matter. Scroll down to win a copy of your own!
Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. In Belisaere Clariel is forced to follow plans, plots and demands so she must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her – and it is herself she must question most of all. It seems that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating. With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape.
My thoughts about the story and characters (no spoilers)
I read Clariel for five hours with only tiny breaks in between. This is the longest a book has ever captured my attention! I love fantasy as long as it’s not too cliched with cheesy dialogue and too many elves and dwarves running about the forest. Clariel is set vey much in it’s own time and land so the characters, the city and the story have a timeless – at times almost contemporary feel. Nix has a way of effortlessly creating a scene in the readers mind that does not interfere with the pacing of the dialogue or the progression of the narrative.
Clariel is a strong and determind protagonist but she also has her flaws (some of which she is even aware of) so she becomes an increasingly complex character. At first I wasn’t sure if the book had a fairly week premise: Catch creature, return home a hero but I was as naive as Clariel at that point! The supporting characters range from the sweet and surprisingly brave Bel, the cold hearted Guildmaster Kilp, Clariels strong willed mother and the slithery Moggart. There is magic all through this book which lies within people, swords and stone rather than wands which I was pleased about if I’m being honest. I also liked the way this book dealt with good and bad intentions and how the line between such opposites can easily become blurred. Here’s what other fans thought.
To sum up
Warning: There are no ‘real’ dragons featured – the cover is cleverly deceiving. This is a YA (young adult) book but I’ve leant it to my bloke who’s really looking forward to reading it. I really don’t think it matters what age you are as the narrative doesn’t stay in the classroom for very long before it escapes outward to places far beyond.
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I was gifted this book to review which does not shape my opinion of it.