Synopsis: 600 years before the events of Sabriel, Clariel is the daughter of a famous gold worker. Her parents and society expect her to follow in her family’s footsteps and to have an advantageous marriage, but all she wants is the peace and quiet escape of the forest.
Spoiler Free Review:
I was a little skeptical about reading Clariel, but then I saw it in bargain books section for $2, so I had to get it and my mind was made up. I enjoyed the original Abhorsen trilogy, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite in terms of pacing. I ended up really enjoying this book! It definitely took me by surprise.
This is a prequel, so most of the characters that are familiar in the Abohorsen trilogy are not present. The world is more or less the same, but with some different politics playing a role in this time period. I definitely thought the beginning started pretty slow. There was a lot of groundwork done to set up the conflict that didn’t necessarily need to be there.
I really enjoyed Clariel as a character. I think a lot of her problems were relatable, even though she is living in a fantasy world. She just wants to be her own person outside of what her parents and society expect from her. She definitely makes some questionable choices in this book, but I think they are reasonable considering the emotional turmoil she goes through in this book. I really think she just needed people (adults, mainly) in her life that listened to her and valued her thoughts about her own life and the world.
I did want a little more from the end, because it was a little abrupt. I just wanted to know more about the rest of Clariel’s life. After all the lead up in the climax, it would have been nice to get a more final epilogue. I believe there is an epilogue in the book, but it just feels like another chapter, not an ending.
I think the magic in this one was pretty cool. In the other books, we’ve mostly seen Charter Magic and the realm of the dead, but in this one, we actually get to see more Free Magic and Free Magic creatures. I love the way they are described! I think the Old Kingdom magic is one of the most unique magic systems I’ve read about.
Since I enjoyed this book so much, I won’t be hesitating so much about reading the next book, Goldenhand. This one goes back into the present, after the events of Abhorsen.