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 named Ferin 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. Goldenhand is the long-awaited fifth installment of Garth Nix’s New York Times bestselling Old Kingdom series
Goldenhand (Abhorsen #5)Featured
It takes place in the fairly near aftermath of the battle with Orannis—where we find Lirael with a new hand (courtesy of her nephew) and still in mourning for her lost friend, The Disreputable Dog. There’s some suspicious Magic and undead activity afoot, and she will need to use all her accumulative skills--as an Abhorsen, a Remembrancer, and a Second Assistant Librarian—to stop whatever is threatening The Old Kingdom.
This book can potentially stand on its own thanks to some succinct summaries, but is better off read as an add-on to the original three that serves to tie up a few loose ends. (i.e. What becomes of Chlorr, the escaped servant of Orannis? Does Nick ever recover after his ordeal? Will Lirael be forever alone without her Dog? And perhaps most importantly to this reader… WHERE IS MOGGET?!)
To some extent, this feels like a continuation of Lirael’s story. She’s far from the only POV character---we also get a regular shift to the utilitarian perspective of a far north clan woman named Ferin, and some alternating back and forth to Nick and Sam (all in third-person limited)—but its Lirael who demonstrates the most growth. And honestly, it’s edifying to see how she’s transitioned across three books from shy, self-pitying, misfit librarian to largely competent, semi-confident Abhorsen-in-Waiting.
Nick and Sam end up seeming disappointingly bland in personality—both proving somewhat useful, but spending a lot of their time fretting over minor social missteps. And unfortunately, the romantic angle that forms between Lirael and Nick feels a bit forced and not-quite-endearingly awkward. But this series has never been reliant on romantic chemistry to divert attention from the plot.
All in all, a worthwhile read for those who aren’t feeling ready to say goodbye to this iconic fantasy series.
What I liked
The characters, I absolutely loved seeing how far Lirael has come from when we first met her. She has grown into an amazing character and I love that she’s so strong and willing to speak up. She knows who and what she is and she’s not afraid to use that. In GOLDENHAND, we see many old characters, such as Nick. Who I truly enjoy and am so glad to be seeing more of him. We also meet some new characters, such as Ferin who is part of the Athask tribe. What I found so interesting about Ferin was her unwillingness to give up. She loses a foot and yet she continues on, without stopping. It is amazing really and I would love to see more of her in future books. What I love about each and every character in Garth’s books is how very alike they are but so very different at the same time. They are so interesting to me and I found myself very invested in each of their stories. That being said I did find myself more and more interested in Nick and Lirael. I thought they were so cute and definitely fun to be around. One of my favorite things (also very frustrating) is seeing how much the characters like each other but they themselves are oblivious to the others feelings. I don’t know why but I love it.
The world that Garth has created in the Abhorsen series is so beautiful. It’s so detailed and interesting. You find yourself drawn into the beautiful setting he creates. The setting combined with the characters almost make you feel as if you are watching a movie. I would love to see this in a movie. To see the gates of the dead, and the land they inhabit, as well as the paperwings. It’s all simply amazing and GOLDENHAND does not hold back with an amazing story.
What left me wanting more
I left this book feeling content but also knowing I want more and more. I want to get to know more about this land. Why Ancelstierre has no magic, but the Old Kingdom does? What can Nick do? Does Ferin ever get her foot? So many questions and I hope they will, with time be answered.
Overall I fell in love with this author and this series. Amazing and imaginative, one of my favorite fantasy reads of this year. Everything about this book was amazing and beautiful. This series has made me a definite fan of Garth Nix. His world and the magic he has built into it, is amazing. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes Brandon Sanderson, and magic. There are 5 books, but they are a very quick read and one that will have you sucked in from the very first page.