Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen

Garth Nix. Harper, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-156155-9
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. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/11/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
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