Goldenhand audiobook free
To give a little context I want to say I am a huge fan of Garth Nix’s work and have read almost all of the books he has put out. He is one of my favorite authors of all time and the Old Kingdom Series is hands down my favorite fantasy series. I make a yearly return to the original trilogy, and would put myself in the category of a super fan – hence the wordy nature of this review.
When Clariel came out last year, I was on the edge of seat practically salivating over a new Old Kingdom book. Upon turning the last page I felt very let down with what I got. The book felt really rushed towards the end, the character development stilted and a lot of the concepts were not very developed — overall it seemed like something that could have been great if more time had been invested. But there was a light at the end of the tunnel — a new book, a TRUE sequel to Abhorsen. I was ready to hope that this would be better.
Flash forward to today when I turned the last page of Goldenhand. While I do think this book was better than Clariel, overall it was a bit of a let down too. Mostly what I wanted out of this book was some Lireal/Nick, a resolution to Chlorrs plot line and the beautiful world building and poignant prose that Garth Nix always manages to deliver. And while this book definitely contains all of this, the delivery felt very flawed.
For those of you who do not want to be spoiled I will just summarize here and say this is a book for the fans. If you love the Old Kingdom you should definitely read this book. Don’t go into it with too many expectations, and I think you should have a good time. Overall it was an enjoyable read and I am happy the book exists and I am hopeful we will get more Old Kingdom books. That being said it definitely was not without its flaws — mainly in the delivery of the plot, pacing and romantic elements. While these flaws did not ruin the book for me, they definitely sullied an experience I had been looking forward to for a good decade.
*Warning THERE BE SPOILERS BELOW*
First and foremost, the book spends about 250 pages in a 350 page book setting up the story. And once you get to this point, the rest of the book feels very rushed. This was much of the same problem I had with Clariel. A lot of sections towards the end of the book start falling prey to a lot of info dumping/ telling rather than showing to quickly get to the conclusion. Honestly when I got 2/3s of the way through I was excited, as I thought he was going to end it with a cliff hanger and the promise of more Old Kingdom books. But alas, with 70 pages or so to go this book started barreling towards the end like frightened horse desperately in need of a stable. A lot of plot points seemed to be rehashes of the earlier books (finding a dead spirits body in life and destroying it, taken to the precipice of the ninth gate and battling a reluctant spirit there etc etc) I wasn’t sure if this was meant to be an homage to the original works, but it ended up seeming like an easy and unoriginal solution. I definitely think these points could have been built on to create a twist on things we were familiar with in the series – and I could see that the seeds of that sort of thinking were in place, but with the amount of time left in the book they could not be cultivated. There were definitely some deus ex machina moments that came out of nowhere to resolve things – and two very shoehorned cameos that I wanted to love as they contained my favorite characters but overall left me feeling very jarred. I wasn’t expecting some epic on par with the end of Abhorsen (how can you top the Destroyer??) and I think this story really could have been truly fantastic if a little bit more time and page real estate was dedicated to the ending.
My other main fault with the book was the romance. In the original trilogy while Sabriel and Touchstones romance does occur rather quickly, it is subtly presented and speaks to two individuals who have been through a lot together and have found common ground. On the other hand the romance between Nick and Lireal felt like it occurred in a straight up whirlwind. It is clear by the end of Abhorsen that they have feelings for each other, so perhaps they had more time to consider their feelings outside the pages of one of the books but everything felt like it happened so quickly in Goldenhand. For a couple I’ve wanted to be together since I was 14 I was really unsure of how to feel about this. I definitely wanted the two of them to happen, but from page one Lireal felt so obsessed with this relationship/ Nick — which seemed rather strange, as she is always presented in the original series as a more shy and reserved character. And while being shy does not mean you have no interest in relationships, it seemed very off putting that Lireal desperately wanted something with Nick after the loss of the dog and her hand, the binding of the destroyer and becoming the Abhorsen-in-Waiting. And once these two got together, that was the only thing the two of them had on their mind — get ready for lots and lots of kissing. Very off putting kissing that just feels really mushed in while plot is trying to occur. The relationship overall felt very akin to what we have come to expect in the swill of Young Adult, which in turn made these complex characters who I knew and loved from the original trilogy feel really shallow as well. I would never expect this from Garth Nix, and the whole experience left me feeling a little uncomfortable. That being said I did really enjoy some of the exchanges between Nick/Lireal before they starting kissing in every spare moment of the novel, they were delightfully silly and adorkably awkward.
All of that being said – I did enjoy this book as a whole. I really appreciated the expansion on the world on the Old Kingdom and hearing what was beyond the shores of the Greenwash river. I wish we had had more time to appreciate the places beyond the Great Rift as I definitely think there was a great story just waiting to occur there. Sabriel does give us a lot of information on this location, which I feel like could have been shown to the reader when Lireal and Nick arrived if more page real estate had been allowed. While the chapters about Ferrin were not my favorite as I desperately wanted to get back to Lireal and Nick, I did enjoy the unique perspective her character brought to the story. Learning about the nomadic tribes of the North was also a treat. The resolution with Chlorr did feel a little info dumpy ( Clariel’s spirit spends a good page and a half trying to fill in the gaps that occurred after Clariel that turned her into Chlorr) but It did overall make me like her character a bit more. It was nice to see her and Lireal meet as I always felt like they were almost birds of a lonely feather.
Technically speaking, the writing in this book was up to par with what we have come to expect from Garth Nix and did not disappoint. The prose are really well constructed, and his metaphors, allusions and similies (which have always been a favorite of mine) were all in top form. I just think overall the structure of this novel needed to looked at and the story pacing.
I know the market has changed some since the first 3 books came out, so perhaps this book had to be adjusted to survive in what is expected from modern YA. As a fan of the Old Kingdom I am happy this book exists, but I hope next time we have a journey into the Old Kingdom it is much closer to the original experience, and the magic that we have come to expect from this world. I am definitely looking forward to whatever the talented Garth Nix has up his sleeve. And hopefully, charter willing, this isn’t the last of the Old Kingdom we are ever going to see.
Goldenhand audiobook Series Abhorsen/The Old Kingdom
This is one of the better “later” novels in this series, but don’t read it without having read at least Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen. (Clariel may help with some background but is probably not essential. The novella “The Creature in the Case” helps paint a more sympathetic picture of one character but its events are summarized from a different POV here so it is not absolutely necessary.) At any rate, this book is definitely not an entry point into this series.
This book definitely does some things well. If you were concerned that previous books were repetitive in terms of the strategies for dealing with enemies, that is less the case here. There are fewer Dead creatures to fight; instead, a necromancer has taken control of some living individuals. Plus, we are introduced to some tribespeople who live across the Wall but outside the Old Kingdom. They have their own sets of customs and views of magic — views that sometimes differ from or contradict those of the folks living in the Old Kingdom. So the world of these books has expanded a bit, and yet is internally consistent with previous books. There are new creatures and new magical artifacts, but they work.
Audiobook Goldenhand by Garth Nix
I was really disappointed with this. I loved the Abhorsen trilogy and was really interested in what happened next, but the new characters did not engage me and old ones were merely named rather than brought to life. I also resented being expected to have read the Old Kingdom novellas before I could comprehend the plot- which was horribly predictable too.
It had none of the edge of your seat excitement of the trilogy or its cinematic quality and seemed sketchy and rushed. There were so many things to be resolved in the last eighth of the book that there was no sense of place, characters or tension and no surprises either.
The resolution had been so heavily hinted at that the ending was boring. I was sad to find this such poorly paced, thin stuff and really resent needing to buy all the Old Kingdom novellas to understand the narrative.
I was horrified to see that the cover trumpeted that “this is the long awaited fifth installment”, which rather suggests Garth Nix is going to follow this up with another volume. I have lost interest and am going to stick with the original trilogy, which was superb.
Audio Goldenhand narrated by Heather Wilds
Oh my, my poor head’s in a bit of a tizzy since Goldenhand blew my mind. I’ve read all of the Abhorsen books, though not for some years so I forgot how much I fricking love them. Goldenhand made me fall in love all over again. My life will be hollow and empty until the next instalment of the series. I need it now Mr Nix. Pretty please? So it’s fair to say I loved this book. Two of my favourite characters, Lirael and Nicholas Sayre have leading roles this time around. Yeah! Lirael lost her hand in the last book and it was replaced by a charter-magic hand, the Goldenhand of the title. This has everything you expect from an Abhorsen book; evil, dead creatures wandering around and nefarious schemes. The book contains a revelation right at the end about the true identity of Chlorr which left me reeling with about a million questions. This book is awesome sauce.
Free audio Goldenhand – in the audio player below
I love the Old Kingdom trilogy and have re-read it several times. I was pleased to meet Lirael, Sabriel and their family again and to find out more about the history, the geography and the people of the Old Kingdom. I enjoyed the story right up until the last page, then unfortunately the ending seemed abrupt and unsatisfying. It didn’t even seen to be a deliberately ambiguous ending, it just stopped. I hope this was simply because Nix intends to continue the story in a later book.
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