Review: GOLDENHAND by Garth Nix

I am a BIG fan of this series. So much so, I wrote my undergrad dissertation on the significance of the adolescent journey in the series (and will never shut up about it!). If you’re interested, I posted an extract from the essay here. It was up to date until the publication of Goldenhand, which I’m trying not to be mad about. (JOKING)

It helps, of course, that this new book in Nix’s Old Kingdom series is a sequel for my favorite character, Lirael. Daughter of the Clayr, Second Assistant Librarian, Remembrancer, Abhorsen-in-Waiting, Binder of Orannis… Lirael’s adolescence has hardly been an easy one. I fell in love with the quiet, self-doubting, alienated child who became a librarian in order to avoid her extended family. She suffered through every birthday, painfully aware that with her dark hair and pale skin she stuck out like a sore thumb amongst her people, the Clayr, and never attaining the Sight, her people’s legacy, and a gift her younger cousins were receiving without anguish.

Through Lirael and Abhorsen (which, incidentally, I would recommend that you read before Goldenhand), Lirael grew into her true role in life, gaining a new family, a precious friend in the Disreputable Dog, and an inner strength that was an inspiration to my socially anxious, nerdy librarian self. In Goldenhand, Lirael is still coming to terms with her new position and strength, but her return to the Clayr’s Glacier makes it clear how much she has grown in self-confidence. I cannot emphasise how inspiring Lirael’s journey has been to me – and how much I wish I had my own Disreputable Dog!

Goldenhand also features the next part of Chlorr’s story. Basically any detail here is a spoiler for Clariel, Lirael and Abhorsen, so suffice to say that the conclusion to this strand was heartbreaking and immensely satisfying. And also, that you should read these books!

Goldenhand is, in essence, the book that unifies the rest of the series, while simultaneously widening the world beyond its previous focus. We discover the society of the steppes to the north of the Kingdom, and the greater complexities of Charter and Free Magic. The book brings together the story threads of the past and weaves them into a brilliant and stunning set piece which nevertheless leaves the world delightfully open to further stories.

With each new book, this series has garnered more fame and gathered new fans. When I first picked up Lirael, finding anyone else who has read the Old Kingdom series was so rare that I recognised my platonic soulmate almost purely on the fact that she loved the series too. But in the run-up to Goldenhand’s publication, the excitement on social media was incredible. Goldenhand is a New York Times series bestseller. Book by book, this series builds on its past successes, and it’s wonderful to be a fan in a community of fans, of a fantastic series that never disappoints.

Disclaimer: I received two obligation-free signed proofs of Goldenhand in the months before publication. You can see them both in the photo below along with the UK hardback release. This did not influence my review, though it did influence how excited I was for the book, and how much I love Hot Key Books, who seem to be the publisher I’m reading the most at the moment!

Another disclaimer: All the images above were drawn by me. I’m very much a beginner at handlettering, so some letters are still a little wobbly here and there! If you (unlikeliest of all unlikelies but just in case) want to use them in your own posts, I would be very much flattered and honoured, but please do let me know!

Goldenhand by Garth Nix was published on 4th October 2016 by Hot Key Books in the UK. Some places you can purchase it are The Book Depository (currently 52% off!), Waterstones (currently £3 off!), Foyles, and Amazon (US (save 43% if you buy now!) & UK).

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