Book Title: Clariel
Author: Garth Nix
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release Date: 2014
Clariel is the fourth novel, in Garth Nix’s bestselling Old Kingdom fantasy series. A prequel to the original trilogy, Clariel is another novel where a female protagonist drives the whole plot. Clariel is the granddaughter of the Abhorsen and daughter of a renowned goldsmith. However, Clariel is not enjoying the web of intrigue that exists in the city and wishes to move back to the forest. Unfortunately for Clariel, she gets caught up in a series of events, that involve facing a free magic spirit and getting caught up in the politics of the city.
The thing I really liked about Clariel is the way Garth Nix writes Clariel as a believable female heroine. Clariel has her own motivations in life and is totally unprepared for having responsibility thrust upon her. She dislikes the city and does not relish the thought of having to make friends, with the people at the Academy she is forced to attend. The chapter where she has to introduce herself to her classmates, at the tea ceremony class, was funny and full of intrigue, as you are introduced to how each guild is ranked in the social ladder.
The writing flows wells and is easy to read. Mogget as always is witty and a good source of comic relief to what is a very dark novel. Clariel is set in a world, where the dead rising is a potential reality and free magic brings its own dangers. The magic of the world does add to the experience of Clariel, but the novel mostly focuses on the protagonist and how she interacts with other people in dangerous circumstances.
My only criticism of this book is that it lacks the magic and adventure that was in abundance in Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen. Moreover, to save any confusion, Clariel takes place 600 years before the events that take place in Sabriel. Clariel adds extra lore to the world of the Old Kingdom, therefore is definitely worth a read. Although, I was disappointed that there were no necromancers in this book and that the main dangers were beings of free magic.
To summarise, Clariel is a good prequel to the main novels in the Old Kingdom series. In my opinion, I still would read at least the first three books in the series before reading this book. Clariel as a character has an interesting story, but I still prefer Sabriel and Lirael as characters. As a companion novel, Clariel is a must read for people who enjoy reading Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series.
Rating: 4/5 Stars