It’s been 9 years since the release of Lirael, the fourth book in the Old Kingdom series. Now Garth Nix is back (finally!) with Goldenhand.

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From the book flap:

 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.

Overall: Goldenhand is the fifth book in the Old Kingdom series, so if you’ve made it this far, either you’re a masochist or you love the richly formed world of charter marks, necromancers, and Abhorsens as much as I do.  We pick up where we left off in the book Lirael. It’s only been mere months since Lirael helped defeat the creature Orannis and the Disreputable Dog pulled Nicholas Sayre from the clutches of death. The Dog lost her life and Lirael lost her hand in the process.  Lirael is now the Abhorsen-in-Waiting to her half-sister Sabriel.  What starts as a routine mission to cast out some demon beyond the wall turns into a something far more complicated, once again involving Nicholas. Lirael seeks the knowledge of the Clayr to understand if there are any long lasting ill effects from Nicholas’s time being bound to Orannis. Meanwhile, a young woman named Ferrin from the far North also races to the Clayr to deliver a message which may mean the life or death for everyone.

Even after leaving the Old Kingdom for nearly a decade, Garth Nix deftly slips back into this world with a story worthy of the series. Goldenhand seamlessly weaves in plot lines and characters for the previous Old Kingdom novels and short stories without ever feeling forced or contrived. What Nix does with the world he has created is nothing short of magical.

Judge a Book by its Cover: There are two versions of the Goldenhand cover, both are consistent with the newer versions of the Old Kingdom covers. I prefer the the original covers, but perhaps they’ll do a cover in the old style so all my pretty books can match.

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Kick-Ass Factor:  One of the things I love about this series is the strong willed woman who handily tackle whatever foe comes their way. Goldenhand is no exception.

Body Count: This wouldn’t be an Old Kingdom tale without a body count. Especially if you include the undead.

He Said/She Said: I love the language of Garth Nix and Goldenhand

“She was no longer a shy Second Assistant Librarian. She was the Abhorsen-in-Waiting.”

“Might have been and could have done, neither worth thinking on.”

Don’t Believe the Hype: It may have taken 9 years, but Goldenhand is well worth the wait.

Open tab/Last call: After 9 years we’re thrilled to return to the world of the Abhorsen. This dream book calls for a dream cocktail. We’ll toast Mr. Nix with a Golden Dream.

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Goldenhand by Garth Nix, HarperCollins Publishers, 368 pages,  release date October 4, 2016

Ann-Eliza

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