The Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix

I bought my copy of Sabriel in 2017 – over 20 years after it was first published. As an Australian reader, I am disappointed in myself, and my school library. Apologies to Garth Nix for my school’s disrespect. But I can’t blame my school for the fact that I didn’t read it until two years after I bought it.

That was all me.

Whoops.

But I did read it, in September of 2019. And, now, almost a full year later, I finished the final book in the series, Goldenhand! So here’s my review of the entire series, starting with individual reviews. Strap in!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book is as close to perfect as you can get. The writing is superb; the world building is so effortless, it’s like it’s actually real; the magic system is incredible and unique; the characters are all absolutely likeable. I read this book with my friend Roz, and we both commented how great it was that nobody in this book is annoying.

I LOVE THIS BOOK.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This was, unfortunately, a step down from its predecessor. It is set decades after it, too. There are two POVs here, and Lirael’s was brilliant, but Sameth was such a whiny brat, I couldn’t handle it. The book was way too long, dragged for ages, and the ending was just confused because, for the entire book we were lead to believe the end was heading somewhere, and then it didn’t even get there! Not horrible, but nowhere near as great as Sabriel. Special mention to the Disreputable Dog, though.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

And Nix is back! This was leagues better than Lirael. Sameth was way more tolerable, and Nick was great. Mogget and the Dog were brilliant together. I want to understand why this hasn’t been made into a film franchise yet, because the world is seriously so rich, it’s basically a film already. Somebody do it!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a quick short story, about Nick, after the events of Abhorsen. I really enjoyed it. I think Nick is a brilliant character, very sensible, but also adventurous. It cemented the Old Kingdom as one of my favourite fictional worlds, no matter how terrifying it is!

Rating: 2 out of 5.

And just as I decided this is one of my favourite worlds, Clariel came along to prove me wrong! This book was terrible – it was long, it dragged, the pacing was off, there was barely any plot. It’s a prequel story about a character we’ve met before. Perhaps the fact that I accidentally spoiled myself and read who Clariel actually is before I even got twenty pages in ruined the story. But truly, I could not find any care for it. The characters were okay. That’s all I can say about it. It took me two months to read it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

But don’t worry too much, because Goldenhand is incredible! I listened to this as an audiobook and I think I missed half of the story, but I still absolutely loved it. All our favourite characters join up, with some new faces, to defeat a certain evil once and for all. To be fair, I wasn’t that invested in Feren’s storyline. But Lirael and Nick were just so sickly sweet, it made me happy. I cried at the end. I cheered too. It was so fun.

I LOVE THIS SERIES.

There you go!

It’s a bit of a rollercoaster, this series. Most of it is super highs, but there are some pretty deep lows. I still recommend it wholeheartedly.

  • The writing is always masterful, in every book.
  • The world is beautiful and rich and so well-developed, and detailed.
  • Almost all the characters are loveable, all the time (Sabriel, my love).
  • The magic system is still one of the most unique I’ve ever come across.
  • It made me laugh; it made me cry; it made me gasp; it made me cheer.
  • The pages flew by!

Read this series.

Do it.

I dare you.

You won’t regret it, I absolutely promise you.

There’s also a collection of short stories that I haven’t read yet, so this can really occupy for a long while.

Go on. Read it. What’ve you got to lose? Sure, Clariel kinda sucked, and Lirael dragged a little because Sameth was a whiny bitch child, but even they’re better than your average book. Trust me.

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