Author: Garth Nix
Length: 383 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy
Where Bethany’s copy came from: IndyPL
Plot Basics: Clariel’s parents force her to move to Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom, from her beloved small town and nearby forest. In Belisaere, she discovers just how poorly kingdom politics and governance are working. As she gets swept up in a plot to change who’s in power, Clariel discovers things about who she is and her family that she never imagined.
Banter Points: This prequel to Nix’s Old Kingdom series should have packaged as an origin story. When the pieces finally clicked together at the end, the story was so much better. I think I would have liked the beginning a lot more if I’d known what the end was going to be. And the last third of the book when Mogget the cat entered the story was the best part of all.
Bummer Points: This book is really slow and I found myself not really liking Clariel. Belatiel, her cousin, was a much more interesting to me. I wonder if Nix got himself stuck in writing the origin story of one particular character and wasn’t willing to switch to a more interesting POV. Also, I think Nix told the wrong part of the story. Instead of spending so much time on who Clariel was in the first 2/3rds of the book, what happens between the end and when we next see her feels like it would be much more interesting story.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Die-hard Old Kingdom series fans, yes, read this book for Mogget if nothing else.