The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney
A prequel to Abhorsen, Garth Nix's hugely-successful YA fantasy series, Clariel features the same compelling storytelling, the same vivid world-building and the same nail-biting plot. Only the characterisation is different. Boldly, Nix opts for a much less sympathetic protagonist, and the result is a novel that cleverly extends the possibilities of his fictional world while tying in neatly with the existing story.
Clariel is an anti-social, mulishly stubborn protagonist and at first I found this story a little harder to get into than the others. But the author rises to the challenge he has set himself and it is soon evident that Clariel is a character more sinned against than sinning. The more difficult she became, the more I began to sympathize with her.
What is remarkable about Garth Nix's writing is the way he makes his fantasy world so recognisable and so entirely convincing. As I began to lose myself in the story, the world of Ancelstierre with its necromancy and its dysfunctional royal family seemed altogether more real than the grey London streets outside my window.
If you enjoyed the other books in the series you will absolutely eat this up.