Clariel, Garth Nix

“Five Great Charters knit the land.
Together linked, hand in hand.
One in the people who wear the Crown.
Two in the folk who keep the Dead down.
Three and Five became stone and mortar.
Four sees all in frozen water.”


I’m a huge fan of of Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy, but I was disappointed by this book, a prelude to it. The plot didn’t really kick off until about page 300 (of a 400-page book). This delay may have been because this is not quite the world of the Abhorsen trilogy. Clariel occurs 600 years earlier in a relatively peaceful time for the Old Kingdom. The king is lazy and refuses to see anyone because he no longer wants to rule. The Abhorsen is lazy and doesn’t involve himself with simple investigations of Free Magic. The Greater Dead are lazy (I’m assuming) because they didn’t even appear in this book. And Clariel just wants to live in a forest and be free of her mother.

It felt like Nix had set the scene perfectly for some Free Magic or Greater Dead figure to sneak in unnoticed and stir shit up, but the real threat was weak, and Clariel pretty much created it herself. Something should have happened much sooner in this book. If you’re curious about the origins of Chlorr of the Mask, then I’d say check out this book. Other than that…meh?

Books read: 9


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