Goldenhand is the fifth novel of the Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix.
Finished on: 20.4.2018
[Here are my reviews of the other books in the series.]
Lirael is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, having found her place in life and no longer hiding as a shy librarian. But then things go haywire when she finds Nicholas Sayre, unconscious and tainted by Free Magic. She saves his life, but that is only just the beginning. Lirael needs to return to the Clayr to figure out what’s going on. Meanwhile, Ferin desperately tries to get to Lirael to deliver a message of utmost importance.
Goldenhand is a long waited for sequel to a book series I love a lot, so as you can imagine, my expectations were high – and that can easily go wrong. But fortunately, it didn’t go wrong, not even the tiniest bit. I loved it.
[Mild Spoilers follow.]
Goldenhand has the difficult job of tying all the previous novels (plus the novella the Creature in the Case) in the series together, including Clariel. It’s not easy, but it works out great and it gives Nix the opportunity to revisit well-known characters, some more than others. Although he does also introduce new ones, that does give Goldenhand a bit of a “catching up with old friends” vibe.
The absolute best thing was that basically my favorite character, the Disreputable Dog, comes back. I didn’t let myself hope that it would, after Lirael (the novel) made it pretty clear that it was gone. That Mogget is back too was less surprising, but no less appreciated.
But I also liked the humans. Honestly, Lirael and Nicholas are just THE CUTEST, I constantly wanted to smoosh them together and yell “NOW KISS”! Sam and Ferin are also cute, but in a more amusing way and thy consistently made me laugh. Touchstone and Sabriel continue to be the best and I will adore them forever.
While Goldenhand does pull many threads together and rounds quite a few things off, it also offers new insights, especially into the Old Kingdom, expanding what we know about it quite considerably. That, too, is pretty damn awesome.
And in the end, Chlorr managed to break my heart with an ending that is both beautiful and sad. So, really, Goldenhand just made me as a fan of this series in particular and fantasy literature in general very, very happy.