Title: Goldenhand (Abhorsen, #5)
Author: Garth Nix
Length: 344 pages
Where Bethany’s Copy Came From: IndyPL
Plot Basics: Lirael, the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, has been busy learning the tools of her new trade and figuring out how to use her new golden hand, fashioned with Charter Magic to replace the one she lost during the battle with Orannis the Destroyer. She is summoned to the Wall to find a badly hurt Nicholas Sayre, imbued with both Charter and Free Magic and a Free Magic creature and that she must deal with.
Elsewhere, a brave young woman has come down out of the northern steppes to deliver a warning to Lirael about the coming danger.
As the Old Kingdom prepares for war, Lirael and Nick must make a dangerous journey to see if the can stop the evil at its root.
Banter Points: If these books had existed when I was a teenager, I would have read them over and over. They are great fantasy stories with interesting magic and a fully developed worth that Nix keeps exploring. Additionally, for a teen reader, there’s a hint of romance, very chastely done, that lends a needed humanity to all the characters.
I was so excited when I found out Nix had a fifth Abhorsen book coming out. One of the things I love is that he writes tough women protagonists. Sabriel, Lirael, Ferin (the northern girl) all have powers and skills in their own rights and spend a lot of time, if not outright rescuing them, making sure the men don’t make idiotic choices. They are still shown to be emotional people with feelings that run really deep. Lirael, in addition to battling Free Magic creatures, spends quite a bit of time unsure of what to do about how she feels about Nick Sayre and unsure about her un-surity. Many of the strong women I know (myself included) are exactly like that and it’s nice that he gets it right.
Bummer Points: Like many of the others, this one builds slowly, but when he gets to the main action of the book, it delivers on all side.
Word Nerd Recommendation: I’ve pushed this series before on friends who I know like fantasy and with this latest addition, I’m doing it again. With five books to read, it’s worth the time because the overall stories and world won’t disappoint.