The long-awaited fifth installment in Garth Nix’s New York Times bestselling Old Kingdom series, for readers who enjoy series by Rae Carson, Kristin Cashore, Scott Westerfeld, and Cassandra Clare.
Goldenhand takes place six months after the events of Abhorsen and follows the novella Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case, which is featured in Across the Wall.
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.
On a dangerous journey, Lirael returns to her childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier, where she was once a Second Assistant Librarian. There, a young woman from the distant North brings her a message from her long-dead mother, Arielle.
It is a warning about the Witch with No Face. But who is the Witch, and what is she planning? Lirael must use her new powers to save the Old Kingdom from this great danger—and it must be forestalled not only in the living world but also in the cold, remorseless river of Death.
Nix returns to the Old Kingdom with a solid addition to his popular series. Lirael is now Abhorsen-in-Waiting, a far cry from the lowly Second Assistant Librarian she once was. Her older sister, the Abhorsen Sabriel, has trained her in the use of the dangerous magical bells that control the dead. She has been to the land of Death, survived losing a hand, received a magical replacement, and fallen in love. Now the Old Kingdom seems peaceful, just the time for Sabriel and King Touchstone to take a vacation, leaving Lirael in charge. Unfortunately, the ancient, evil Chlorr of the Mask has secretly raised a sorcerous army and is poised to strike. Only by leaving the Kingdom and crossing the Great Rift to a place with neither Charter Magic nor air, can Lirael and her new crush destroy the descending evil. Lirael is a complex character, both bold warrior and lovesick teenager, and the Old Kingdom remains a fascinating fantasy realm. Longtime readers will appreciate cameo appearances by Mogget and the Disreputable Dog, two of the series' oddest and most endearing characters. Ages 13 up.
Read the original trilogy as a child and was quite surprised when I saw there were now more books being published in the series. Of course, after so long I was a bit anxious whether the magic would still be there for me. I‘m happy to say I thoroughly enjoyed both this addition and the prequel ‘Clariel‘.
Definitely worth the read for Old Kingdom fans
I just finished Goldenhand, and while I enjoyed it, I'm not sure I would say it lives up to the first three books in the Old Kingdom series. Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen and collectively the best series I have ever read, and I would give each five stars easily. Goldenhand, on the other hand (must be the non-golden one), feels somewhat hurried and drawn out at the same time. I found myself wishing some parts would go faster but at the end, I thought it needed at least 50 more pages.
Goldenhand reads best not as a standalone book, but as a conclusion of the events that are setup in Clariel, which is a prequel set hundreds of years before Goldenhand. My advice is to definitely read Clariel before reading Goldenhand and think of it as a single story.
Old Kingdom Fanfiction
I loved the original three books. I was very excited to finally read Clariel and Goldenhand. I hate to have to say that they were both rather disappointing. They’re a lot like reading fanfics or parodies of the real thing. Both books take more than half of the book to setup basic information that could have been covered in a chapter or two. The story is also driven by returning characters that don’t quite feel like themselves and narrate their feelings quite a lot. Goldenhand, in particular, feels like there’s very little actual story happening other than a focus on the main couple that’s awkwardly depicted. The original books were very focused on building the story and the lore that was so fascinating and wonderful. I’m really sad to say that both of these central elements are missing here.