ARC Review: Goldenhand (Old Kingdom #5) by Garth Nix

23302838Goldenhand by Garth Nix

Genre: Fantasy / Young Adult

Publisher: Hot Key

My Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: 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. When Lirael saves Nicholas Sayre after he is attacked by a hideous Free Magic creature, she finds he is deeply tainted with Free Magic. Lirael must seek help for him at the Clayr’s Glacier – her childhood home.

But even as she returns to the Clayr, clouds are gathering. A messenger is trying to reach Lirael with a dire warning from her long-dead mother 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.

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My Review

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinion of the book in any way.

This review will contain no spoilers for Goldenhand and only contains very minor spoilers from the previous books, so if you’re new to the series, read on if you want to!

As I have said so many times on this blog, the Old Kingdom series is my absolute favourite. I was extremely lucky to get an ARC of Goldenhand, seemingly turning up at the right time and place at YALC to get my hands on a copy. So, after all the excitement, I had high hopes of this novel. And, of course, I wasn’t disappointed.

Let me just start by saying that to get the most out of this book, you need to have read both The Creature in the Case from the Across the Wall anthology and Clariel. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it does overlap with The Creature in the Case, so read that first if you don’t want Goldenhand to spoil the events of that novella. As for Clariel, Goldenhand doesn’t really spoil any plot points from Clariel, but it well better your understanding and enjoyment of Goldenhand if you’ve read Clariel first. And, of course, you will need to have read Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen. 

So, what did I love about Goldenhand? Everything! Garth Nix once again weaves a dark, lyrical tale of magic and intrigue. The novel centres mostly around Lirael and Nicholas Sayre, but old favourites Sabriel and Touchstone appear, as well as Sam and Ellimere, and a few more… It was great to be back with these characters again after a few years away from them. I found myself easily slipping back into the world, only needing to refresh my memory a little around the events of Abhorsen.

The story is gritty and very fast-paced, but is injected with a good amount of humour that made me laugh out loud at some points. I laughed, I cried, I worried, but I loved it all. This book will definitely please old fans, like me, but is also something for new fans to look forward to; they can rest assured that the series doesn’t falter after Abhorsen.

Goldenhand also introduces us to parts of the Old Kingdom we have previously never explored. We travel to the lands north of the Clayr’s Glacier – the steppe where the horse-nomads roam, and the Great Rift beyond. From these nomad clans comes a young girl named Ferin, desperate to deliver a message to Lirael from her dead mother, Arielle. I really loved Ferin and her journey. We got to learn so much more about the northern reaches of the Old Kingdom and the people who inhabit it. There is also clearly a lot more still to be discovered so I hope Garth Nix will take us to these places and people in future novels.

This mix of new with old was excellent. We get chapters centred around previously unexplored lands, and then chapters filled with well-loved places, like the Clayr’s Glacier and The Wall. And don’t worry, there are plenty of battles with the Dead and Free Magic creatures. Also, the plot is original in terms of the series; it doesn’t feel like Nix has just regurgitated the plot from Sabriel or one of the others.

What’s more, there’s just so much scope in these novels and it’s all written so convincingly. The pacing is fast, the prose is tight, the characters are complex and likeable; I hope to be reading these books for years to come! It’s a very unique Fantasy series and I can’t compare it to any others. It doesn’t have to borrow heavily from other Fantasy novels or rework old tropes, instead each installment, as well as the world and characters themselves, feels fresh and original.

So, I don’t really want to mention much more as I’ve tried not to reveal too much about the previous novels, in case any people who are new to the series read this, or to give too much away about the plot of Goldenhand. However, it is a deeply satisfying read and I promise it won’t disappoint.

Goldenhand will be released 4th October in the UK.

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Have you read the Old Kingdom series? Did you enjoy it? Are you excited for Goldenhand? Let me know in the comments below!



Entertainer Blogger Award


I was nominated not that long ago by the lovely Cate @ Midnight Biblio Blog  for the Entertainer Blogger Award (and for another tag that I mean to get round to soon). So thanks Cate! If you don’t already follow her, go check out her blog!

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Add these rules to your post.
  3. Answer all the questions below.
  4. Display the award picture in your post.
  5. Nominate 12 other bloggers who are funny, inspiring and most important of all ENTERTAINING!

The Questions

1. Why did you start a blog in the first place?

I started a blog for two very different reasons. One was because I knew if I wanted some kind of creative career, I should probably get involved in something like a blog or a magazine. A blog, however, allows me a lot more freedom and creativity.

The other was, quite simply, I love books! Every time I finished one I’d rant and rave about it to my boyfriend or Mum and, whilst my Mum was interested (my boyfriend not so much), I thought it’d be much more fulfilling to discuss my love of books with a whole community of people. And so I stumbled upon the book blogosphere! I’d actually been trying to start a blog for years but I now decided to finally give it a proper go and I haven’t regretted it.

2. What is your favourite book?

That’s such a difficult question because I can’t imagine a book-lover to have just one favourite book. However, I do have a favourite series, which I’ve talked about on this blog a lot, and that’s the Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix.

3. What do you dislike the most?

People who are nasty for no reason, both to humans and animals.

4. What is your favourite food from the mall?

We don’t really have that whole mall food culture here in the UK, like pretzels and things. However, we do have our own version and it seems to be all things sweet. In the big “malls”, like the Bullring in Birmingham, you get these pop-up food places that serve mainly things like ice cream, frozen yoghurt, pancakes and smoothies. I would probably go for ice cream or pancakes, especially anything containing chocolate or Nutella.

5. What is your favourite pastime? 

Reading, of course! I read pretty much all day, but I also write, watch TV and films, and I do enjoy a bit of photography. I also like going for walks because I am secretly a retired pensioner.

I Nominate

Don’t feel like you have to answer these questions if you don’t want to, or if you’ve previously been nominated! Just bask in the knowledge of your nomination.


The Sunday Post #12


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer in which book bloggers recap their week and look at what’s to come.

My Weekly Recap

It’s actually been a good week in terms of writing for me. I’ve planned the majority of my novel and I’ve so far written a prologue and three chapters so, you never know, this might finally be the one that sees the light of day!

But anyway, here are the posts from this week:

Coming Up

I just finished my ARC of Goldenhand by Garth Nix today and I’m already having withdrawal symptoms! It was excellent, as always, and great to be back with the likes of Sabriel, Lirael, Touchstone, Sam and Nicholas. I need another book in the Old Kingdom series now please!

However, I won’t be posting my review until a week before the release date of Goldenhand on the 4th of October, so keep your eyes peeled for it in the last week of September.

I’m now onto The Fireman by Joe Hill, an apocalyptic viral-outbreak novel (just my kinda thing) that has been receiving rave reviews so I have high hopes.

I have a few more tags to do and another award which is amazing! However, my boyfriend is visiting next week so blog posts may be a little less frequent.

And Finally

I’m all about Tame Impala at the moment. Stand-out tracks for me are Let It Happen, The Less I Know the Better, and ‘Cause I’m a Man.


Waiting On Wednesday: Goldenhand by Garth Nix


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine where you showcase which books you’re looking forward to being released.

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Words cannot describe how excited I am for this week’s featured Waiting on Wednesday novel.

It’s the long-awaited fourth (or rather fifth) installment of Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series. This is my all-time favourite series of books. I’ve re-read all three novels, Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen, and the novella The Creature in the Case (hence me referring to this upcoming novel as the fifth installment), so many times. I hate books to be creased or dog-eared but my copy of Sabriel is just that and I don’t mind, because it shows how much I’ve loved the book since I bought it a decade ago.


UK Release Date: 4th October 2016

As you can see, the cover is only a draft, but I’m glad it’s in the style of the previous novels.

I read Clariel, a kind of prequel that depicted the life of Chlorr of the Mask as a young girl, a year or so ago. I really did enjoy it, but it wasn’t as good as the original novels. Hopefully Goldenhand lives up to its predecessors. I’m so excited to delve back into this world again and see what’s next in store for characters like Lirael, Nicholas and Sam (who, along with Mogget, just pipped everyone else to the post as my favourite character in the novels), as well as maybe Sabriel and Touchstone. The blurb doesn’t mention the latter two, but seeing as Lirael is still the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, Sabriel at least must still be alive.

Synopsis for Goldenhand: 

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, and wielder of the Dark Mirror. 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 and Lirael must seek help for him at her childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier. But even as she returns to the Clayr, a messenger is trying to reach Lirael with a dire warning from her long-dead mother, Arielle, 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.

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Are you excited for the fifth installment in the Old Kingdom series? And if not, why aren’t you?! Let me know in the comments below!

Caitlin (1)