The long-awaited fourth audiobook in the New York Times best-selling Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix.
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 Game of Thrones.
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is loose in the city, her parents want to marry her off to a killer, and there is a plot brewing against the old and withdrawn King Orrikan.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?
©2014 Garth Nix (P)2014 Listening Library
An interesting and in depth look into the old kingdom world. I found the story quite drawn out and in all honesty did not enjoy Clariel as a character, nor for that matter any of the few supporting characters either for that matter.
"Return to the Old Kingdom in an inverted YA novel"
The original trilogy of Old Kingdom novels are some of my absolute favorite "young adult (but really for adults)" fantasy novels. The world building is terrific, the characters wonderful, and the writing style helps bring everything to life with appropriate mystery and majesty. In this new novel, Nix finds his inner George Lucas, presenting a prequel explaining the background of a character in the original series, though to much better results than Lucas achieved.The return to the Old Kingdom is welcome, and this book has some very clever elements that I won't reveal so as not to ruin surprises, but it never quite hits the heights of the prior three books.
Part of both the cleverness and slight difficulty engaging with the book is is due to the fact that it turns many of the tropes of YA fantasy novels on its head - the main heroine is asocial, not interested in romance, and generally aloof. But that isn't all. The book is full of YA tropes: we are taken early on to a magical academy full of potential enemies and allies (obvious shades of Hogwarts) or we are introduced to Parents Who Don't Understand the Heroine (shades of every YA book ever) or we are made aware of the character's special destiny. But the book turns every one of these tropes on its head, in ways that are sometimes satisfying, but also occasionally off-putting. Still, it is never boring, and I very much enjoyed the experience.
The reading is great, and, if you have read the other Old Kingdom books, you should certainly read this as well. Otherwise, you really, really should read Sabriel now - it is excellent, and, in its sequels Lireal and Abhorsen, sets up mysteries that Clariel answers, even if not always in the most ultimately satisfying way.
"Great prequel to Abhorsen trilogy"
This is a good story. Sad, but very much in the spirit of the first Abhorsen trilogy.
Book well read, although I miss Tim Curry.
"LOVED THE BOOK -- HATED THE NARRATOR"
Garth Nix is one of mine and my family's favorite authors.We spent many a car trip listening and relistening to The Keys to the Kingdom and his stories of the Old Kingdom. Another adventure in the Old Kingdom has been eagerly awaited by my family for years. Now it's here and Audible ruined our experience by choosing a terrible narrator.Graeme Malcolm does sound a bit like Tim Curry, so perhaps that is what they were going for, but his pacing when reading the narrative was awful. I felt like my ears were on an audio roller-coaster.
"New Abhorsen Tale"
I always enjoy these books and this is another interesting story from the Old Kingdom world. It fills in some of the history. Really there is a lot Garth Nix could write yet about the Old Kingdom if he chooses to. The narrator while no Tim Curry is very good as well.
"All Free Magic and No Charter"
It was fun to see the Old Kingdom before its demise. You got a better view of the world beyond the wall than you had without reading Clariel. What was mainly lacking was Clariel herself. She was an angry teenager who didn't seem to really care much about anything or anyone.....accept the Great Forest. Which you hear about a lot in this book. She had the ability to go berserk but that was really about the only interesting thing about her. We had Sabriel, Lirael, Mogget, the Disreputable Dog, and multiple Clayr that made for such cool and powerful characters that I couldn't help but feel let down by this character. It didn't explain either how she really became Chlor of the mask either. It gave us the beginning of the path she started down and then left the rest up to the reader, which is ok but this is a character that I wanted much more detail on.
Yes, because it is an Abhorsen book. There were some very fun scenes and it gave some clarification regarding Free Magic beings.
Moget of course.
Yes, I would see it. I would be much more interested if Sabriel were turned into a movie.
"Few qualms, but a very good addition to the series"
I was very reluctant to buy this book because it was not narrated by Tim Curry, the narrator of the first three books in the series. However I believe that the new narrator did a good job (if not as good as Curry). If you are new to the series start at book 1 because there are minor spoilers in this book.
This is a YA book in a YA series by a YA author, but I have to say that the author did a good job of making this book enjoyable for his older fans. I very much enjoyed that Clariel was not just Sabriel 3.0, being an excellent Charter mage and swordswoman. I was not expecting that she would be a berserker like Touchstone from book 1, and I feel that it did a good job towards diversifying the series. Clariel was a bit whiny for the first half of the book (okay more than a bit) so the author could have reduced the total number of times she wistfully longed for the forest to maybe just once or twice per chapter instead of what seemed like every single paragraph. The other sorta-problem I had with the book was the way that every single adult took Clariel for granted, but I forgive this fact because it's a YA book and that's a theme in the genre. That said I would have liked it if Clariel's mom was a little more approachable/didn't view Clariel as a tool.
The second half of the book spoke more to me as an adult than the first half, being reminiscent in pace of Abhorsen (somewhat rapid fire when compared to the slower pace of Lirael). I liked that Free Magic was viewed as being somewhat not completely evil, just chaotic and freedom seeking, and that Mogget seemed true to form. I did not like that Clariel actually trusted Mogget first thing, but it made sense that she did what she did at the end of the book.
Overall this is a great addition to the series. Not as good as Sabriel, but it was as good as the good bits of Lirael and Abhorsen.
"Clariel is an amazing heroine"
Clariel is a truly unique YA heroine. As a character study it is almost as if she falls somewhere far down on the autism scale and simply has next to no ability to connect with her own feelings; and yet, in the end, her single minded focus saves the kingdom. The book is fantastic and is nothing less than I would expect from the most wonderful and creative Garth Nix.
Sometimes I want to refute some of the more shallow reviews of books when I think the reader/reviewer missed the point of the book entirely; and that is the case now, but I am not going to except to say the that Clariel's references to the forest didn't bother me at all and were entirely in keeping with her rather aspebergerish personality.
"Worth a listen for any fan of the original Trilogy"
Solid story line that takes things in a different direction to the original trilogy while still being recognizable in theme and tone. It's still a young girl finding her way in the world and discovering her inherent magic powers etc. but Clariel is a very different person to Lirael or Sabriel and you'll be thrown off throughout by her characters moral ambiguity compared to the other main characters. Performance is great (once I got used to the somewhat odd choice of rural British accents..sounds like postman pat sometimes) though may leave you missing Tim Curry if you've just listened to the originals like me.
"Very difficult to hear at times"
Malcolm's performance was very difficult to hear at times, especially when he used a very low, soft voice. I had to replay parts several times -- and still couldn't make out the words.
Still, I liked the book. I thought it a very good exploration of Clariel's character and the decay of a society.
If you are looking for the same kind of upbeat story line that Sabriel and Lirael had, however, look elsewhere. It's a pretty dark story.
"Right up there with Garth Nix's best work"
If you've read the other Abhorsen books, I think you will be happy to learn that this book is right up there with Garth Nix's best work. Characters in this book are more real and more maturely written than in many of his other books. I think it is some of his best writing to date. It also turns some typical fantasy tropes on their heads, which is refreshing. Overall this is a great book and a welcome and unexpected addition to a great series. I'm itching to say other things, but I'll avoid spoilers. Read it, you won't be sorry!
"A Gleeful Return to the Old Kingdom"
I loved getting back into the lore and magic system of the Charter. It is a good standalone novel as it has left me wanting more and I am now listening to the previous trilogy.
Exploring the Old Kingdom's history and Moggett!
He's not Tim Curry, but a very good narrator; he kept me interested.
I did, pretty much. Only took me two days.
There wasn't enough Moggett in it, like many people he is my favourite charecter. It was nice however to see the slightly more evil side of him. The book is great, don't get me wrong.. but there was something lacking.. Even after I finished the book I was unsure of why Clariel becomes and I hope there is possibly more books to fill in more adventuires of Clariel.
"The Weakest In The Abhorsen Series"
Overall, this book left me with a feeling of disappointment. Perhaps, I'm being a little unfair as it is a decent story but it falls well beneath the high standards set by the other books in the series. For these reasons, I would not recommend it to a friend
This is the first time I have listened to a story read by Graeme Malcolm and I enjoyed his performance. He handled each character adequately and I especially liked his interpretation of the Free Magic creatures.
"Story ok. Performance awful"
He sounds bored. He has the most bored sounding voice I have heard as a narrator. At times he sounds like he's thinking 'here we go again'. The narrator of the original books was far superior.
The story was not as good as the originals. It was okay, but didn't feel I'd gained much from listening. Narrator may have not helped. If you're new to the series I'd suggest you start with the original trilogy.
"Not what i wished for"
I was looking forward to this book tremendously and after listening to it I feel somewhat at a loss to describe how I feel about it. The narration is very good but Tim Curry who did the original old kingdom books was much, much better. The world in which the adventure take’s place was not expanded or fleshed out to give you a greater understanding of the charter or free magic. There was not enough meat on the bones of the characters to make you care enough about them But it is a solid stand alone adventure.
All in all a good book maybe over shadowed by my high expectations.
"Good book difficult listen."
The story was as good as all Garth nix books but the narration is odd and difficult to listen to. He emphasises the wrong words, has inflections in odd areas and is generally monotone.
"Not in the same league"
Performance was excellent, but the story is very different to the other Old Kingdom novels. As a stand alone book it was definitely interesting but Clariel was a much a harder person to get attached to. I found myself wanting to know more about what Belatiel was up to and thinking than her. If you are an Old Kingdom fan though, I would still recommend reading this as any extra insight is always fascinating.
"I miss Tim"
Garth seems a bit distracted on this one, not as engaging as the earlier two.
It should have been a better story.
It is to short and could have been a tribology by itself. The characters were not as well planned as usual.
I loved Clariel and the concept of the story and was always waiting to hear the next chapter but I suspect we need this story before the 5th book for background info.
The reader unfortunately was slightly monotone and I would have preferred Tim Curry again.
"Enjoyed revisiting the Old Kingdom"
V enjoyable if you like this genre of books. Enjoyed the descriptions of places/landscapes as well as the story. Definitely start with the Old Kingdom trilogy first before this one, it will make more sense that way.
I enjoyed the narrator's performance. As I read rather than listened to the other Old Kingdom books, it not being the same narrator as those didn't affect my experience. I do agree though, with some of the comments, that Mogget wasn't quite right.
I liked it. Different to the others in the series but enjoyable. My main issue was that he didn't do Mogget's voice. Tim Curry had absolutely perfected both the voice and character of Mogget, whereas Graeme Malcolm didn't really change his voice at all. I therefore found it hard to think of the character as Mogget, and he lost a lot of his personality.
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