Award-winning author Garth Nix returns to the Old Kingdom with a thrilling prequel complete with dark magic, royalty, dangerous action, a strong heroine, and flawless world building. This epic fantasy adventure is destined to be a classic and is perfect for fans of Rae Carson, Kristin Cashore, Scott Westerfeld, and Cassandra Clare.
Clariel is the daughter of one of the most notable families in the Old Kingdom, with blood relations to the Abhorsen and, most important, to the King. She dreams of living a simple life but discovers this is hard to achieve when 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is loose in the city, her parents want to marry her off to a killer, and there is a plot brewing against the old and withdrawn King Orrikan.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 a prequel to his classic Old Kingdom series, set some 600 years before the previous novels, Nix introduces Clariel, the 17-year-old daughter of a supremely talented goldsmith mother. Clariel only wants to be left alone, "to become a Borderer, one of the wardens who patrolled the forests and woods of the kingdom," But unfortunately for her, she is also a close relative of the aging ruler of the Old Kingdom, as well as the Abhorsen, the kingdom's master of lawful Charter Magic, who must keep both the Dead and the Wild Magic in their places. Clariel soon becomes a pawn in the political machinations of both her mother and the ambitious guildmaster Kilp, who controls the capital city, Belisaere. Worse, she discovers that her occasionally violent temper may itself have dire (and magical) consequences for her future. 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. Ages 13 up.