- Series: Old Kingdom (Book 4)
- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (October 14, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006156155X
- ISBN-13: 978-0061561559
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 346 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen (Old Kingdom) Hardcover – October 14, 2014
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“Between striking characters-from the heroic if not entirely competent young Abhorsen-in-Waiting, Belatiel, to the enigmatic, catlike Mogget-and Nix’s brilliantly complex magic system, this superb tale is exactly the book fans of the series have been awaiting.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Clariel is a deeply sympathetic character faced with complicated choices, the consequences of which are frighteningly uncertain as she is pulled between the wild Free Magic and the disciplined Charter. A bittersweet story.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Nix pens a compelling character in Clariel while his skill in rendering both politics and magic is strong. This excellent work can be enjoyed independently of the other Old Kingdom novels, but will certainly draw readers to those works.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“Nix’s tale provides a complete experience unto itself. But his focus on this strong character whose overriding passion is to go her own way provides a hugely satisfying background to the other Abhorsen books. A suspenseful prequel to the much-loved Abhorsen books, showcasing the independent Clariel.” (Shelf Awareness (starred review))
“Beautifully written, magnificently imagined, and wholly original, Clariel is Garth Nix’s finest work yet.” (Holly Black, New York Times bestselling author of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown)
“The old magic returns in this sterling prequel to one of YA’s classic series.” (Scott Westerfeld, New York Times bestselling author of the Uglies series and Afterworlds)
“A brilliant return to the Old Kingdom--one of the most exciting and original magical worlds ever devised.” (Alison Goodman, New York Times bestselling author of Eon and Eona)
“A thunderstorm of a tale, bitter and brutal but dazzling in its ferocity.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Fans will treasure this long-awaited opportunity to return to a much-loved world, built with as much originality and richness as ever.” (Horn Book Magazine)
“Nix fans will surely rejoice at this sharp, gripping prequel to his beloved fantasy trilogy of Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen. The beauty of a prequel is that it will not only present unknown scenarios even to the most intense devotees but also pave a path for new fans to dive into the existing trilogy. “ (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
From the Back Cover
Clariel is the daughter of one of the most notable families in the Old Kingdom, with blood relations to the Abhorsen and, most importantly, to the King. When her family moves to the city of Belisaere, there are rumors that her mother is next in line for the throne. However, Clariel wants no part of it—a natural hunter, all she ever thinks about is escaping the city's confining walls and journeying back to the quiet, green world of the Great Forest.
But many forces conspire against Clariel's dream. A dangerous Free Magic creature is loose in the city, her parents want to marry her off to a killer, and there is a plot brewing against the old and withdrawn King Orrikan. When Clariel is drawn into the efforts to find and capture the creature, she finds hidden sorcery within herself, yet it is magic that carries great dangers. Can she rise above the temptation of power, escape the unwanted marriage, and save the King?
In Clariel, New York Times bestselling author Garth Nix weaves a story that is as rich and compelling as the original Abhorsen novels. Clariel, prelude to the Abhorsen trilogy, is set approximately six hundred years before the birth of Sabriel. Devoted Old Kingdom fans and new readers alike will clamor for this epic fantasy adventure.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I had two main issues with this book:
(1) I didn't really like Clariel, the character, very much, and since she was the major POV character, that meant I often lost interest (to the point of falling asleep 2 or 3 times when reading this on successive evenings)
(2) The structure was off. 3/4 of the book are spent with Clariel letting things happen to her and bemoaning her fate, and then the actual action of the book is compressed into a very few pages at the end.
First off, don't read this book first. There's a lot you will miss out on if you do. Read the other three and then pick this up.
There were a few redeeming qualities, mostly relating to world building, and that is why I have given this book three stars instead of 2. If you are interested in the history of Garth Nix's Old Kingdom, you can see the beginning of some trends here. This book takes place some time before the events of Sabriel, so it is not a sequel to the other books in the series, but it does tie into the main storyline of Lirael and Abhorsen (due to one character, who I won't specifically name because I don't want to spoil anything).
In the Old Kingdom of Sabriel's and Lirael's time, there are three great families, though two of them (the royal family and the Abhorsens, who are necromancers who serve the kingdom by removing threats from the Dead) are much reduced in size. (The third, the Clayr, have always been numerous.) But there was a time when there were a lot more Abhorsens and Clariel is set in that time; the title character is the granddaughter of the leader of the Abhorsen family. Further, in the Old Kingdom of Sabriel's and Lirael's time, everything was under constant threat, or so it seems. Clariel takes place in a time when the Abhorsens have not embraced their purpose because there hasn't been any need. Threats from the Dead or from Free Magic creatures (think of Free Magic as dangerous, although that's not a nuanced description of it at all) are absent so even the need to learn or use Charter magic (think of it as good or orderly) has fallen out of fashion.
At any rate, it is interesting to read about a time set in the same world where circumstances were very different. And, to the author's credit, this book does not go off in the expected direction. (The trope is usually that a young, able mage will rise up and save the kingdom from a threat that no one else took seriously until it was too late.) Part of the problem is that Clariel doesn't have much agency. She has desires (to go live and work in the Great Forest, near where she grew up) but no way to achieve them (she needs money, transportation, a way to sneak out of town, etc.). Later, when she does decide to do something, she relies on questionable allies who bring out some of her more negative tendencies. To say more would be to spoil some major parts of the ending. And then after the major confrontation, she seems resigned to her fate.
So while I appreciate that the author didn't follow the "trope-y" path, the alternative was a little unsatisfying, as well. I think one of the aspects of a book that tends to make me like it is if the characters are sympathetic, and Clariel just kind of, well, isn't. She is a loner (although she does make a friend or two) and we are treated to a lot of her internal thoughts. (However, just being a loner doesn't make a character unsympathetic. Lirael was a loner for most of the book named after her, and I still rooted for her.)
Anyway, I appreciate when an author wants to explore some aspect of a character or some time period in a created world a little more thoroughly, but the actual action of this story came too late and the first part just focused on a character who was, to me, not very likable. As I discussed previously, I do find some redeeming qualities in this book, but I also think you could probably skip it and move straight from Abhorsen to Goldenhand and not miss much.
Cons: Overall, The set dressing and surrounding story was more interesting than the titular character. I loved the Abhorsen trilogy; however, Clariel didn't hold my attention until probably the last 1/4th of the book. Reading through a lot of the reviews, I agree with some of the criticism. The book didn't feel like it knew what direction to take itself in. Clariel began as an interesting character, but I didn't really see any growth. I was looking for a good anti-hero, or perhaps a misdirected youth. But I don't really feel like she was fully realized. I had no idea why she went along with half of the plot points. Even when she discussed her love of the woods, it always seemed a bit superficial. Maybe if we had seen more of her life before hand, or had the chance to see her competent and happy, the book would have felt richer. Instead, it felt like the first book in a trilogy instead of a complete story.
It is a deep look into how our treatment of others affects them, of the nature of freedom, greed, and suffering from a reasonable perspective we had not seen before. Yes, at times the main character was frustrating, and perhaps more could have been delved into the motives for her passions, which, while present, I don't feel were conveyed well. If we'd heard how and why the forest drew her, from what she was escaping in a more direct sense, I think it would have resonated more with the audience and assuaged their disconnect from early on.
But after the scene under the waterfall, the ending and far later epilogue were obvious. I do have to say though, the cold, true tragic ending was deeply refreshing and beautiful. I was really happy to see a book that didn't feel all goody good at the end, but had a bit of the cold, grim forward looking about it.
Another masterpiece by one of the best fantasy fiction writers out there.
Most recent customer reviews
This book had everything for me. Clariel's a fabulous, strong character.Read more