“Your librarians go into battle?”
“When they must,” said Lirael. “The Library is very old, and deep, and contains many things that have been put away for good reason. Creatures, dangerous knowledge, artifacts made not wisely, but too well . . . books that should not be opened without proper preparation, some books that should never be opened at all.”
Goldenhand continues the story of the Abhorsens in the time of Sabriel, Lireal, et al, dealing with some of the fall out of the battle with Orannis the Destroyer: specifically, Chlorr. It focuses primarily on Lireal and Nick along with newcomer from the North Ferin.
Main character wise, I still really like Lirael. The unsure young woman that doesn’t belong is gone, replaced by the Abhorsen in waiting who saved the world–and is still learning how she fits in the world. Throw in Nick and a probably too sudden falling in love (to be fair, they’re teenagers or not much beyond) and you get a nice mix of magical and technological upbringing that I’ve always thought the series could use more of.
The other new POV character Ferin is interesting in that she comes from a culture we really didn’t see much of before. Unfortunately, she mostly felt like a plot device, running through most of the book. I’d like to hear a bit more from her after how she ends the books. If there’s ever an Abhorsen #6, I guess there’s a chance?
Once everyone meets up in the Claryr’s glacier’s the final half of the book really picks up. We’re back on familiar ground and have a concrete threat to fight. The journey to the broken land far far in the north is a fascinating bit of world building–go to far and there’s just literally no atmosphere any more–and we get the worldbuilding we need to finish binding Clariel to the rest of the books.
I wish we could have seen a bit more of the relationship between Sabriel and Lireal. We’ve never really had a chance to see an Abhorsen and well trained Abhorsen in waiting interact. Unfortunately, we don’t get much of that here. Even with big bad Chlorr of the Mask, Sabriel has little to do on screen in the final battle(s). So it goes I guess.
Overall, a solid continuation to the series. Not quite as good as the first three, but still well within the level of books I will put on my list to re- read some day. Worth the read.