A New Book in the Old Kingdom: Garth Nix’s Magic Will Make a Re-Reader Out of You

BookendsLynn: In my natural habitat I’m a re-reader—an author binger. BCR (Before Committees and Reviewing), I would frequently develop an irresistible itch to start with book one in a favorite series and read them all over again. Ancient detective series, classic fantasies, comfort books—I used to indulge in a re-reading spree many times a year. It’s pretty hard to do that these days and keep up with Cindy but every so often I slip from the straight and narrow and take a detour through an old favorite. Last year it was Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom books. I devoured them all again and loved every single word. Yea gods and little fishes but that man can write!

So imagine my total glee when I discovered that a new book in the series, Clariel, was coming this October! I went to horrible Las Vegas with the sole purpose of getting my hands on an ARC. I started reading it on the plane home. It was fabulous! It will make you want to start all over again with the series even if you don’t have my secret vice. That is really all I need to say but I’ll give you a little more.

Yea gods and little fishes but that man can write!

ClarielClariel is set 600 years before Sabriel. Charter Magic has been neglected, the Abhorsen avoids his duties and the king hides from his people. The situation is ripe for trouble. An ambitious ruthless man steps into the void with the corrupting aid of a Free Magic creature and the world is in jeopardy. Clariel, granddaughter of the king and grandniece to the Abhorsen, is drawn reluctantly into the struggle. She wants no part of any of this—yearning only to be allowed to be left alone and serve as a Ranger, caring for her beloved forests. But she must fight or die—and have her world die along with her.

One of the elements of Nix’s writing that I love best is his extraordinary world-building. Readers familiar with the series will learn more about this beautifully drawn world and I think readers beginning here will not be lost. Nix also crafts characters like few others and Clariel is a wonderfully complex and compelling creation. One of the things I most enjoyed was solving the puzzle of who she actually is and I would recommend holding off reading the Booklist review (excellent though it is) as it has a bit of a spoiler. The appearance of one of my favorites, Mogget, was the icing on the cake! Buy this immediately and start reading! Me? I’m nose-down in Sabriel all over again.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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