Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen (Abhorsen Series #4) by Garth Nix, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen (Abhorsen Series #4)

Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen (Abhorsen Series #4)

4.4 7
by Garth Nix

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Award-winning author Garth Nix returns to the Old Kingdom with a thrilling prequel complete with dark magic, royalty, dangerous action, a strong heroine, and flawless world building. This epic fantasy adventure is destined to be a classic and is perfect for fans of Rae Carson, Kristin Cashore, Scott Westerfeld, and Cassandra Clare.

Clariel is the daughter of one


Award-winning author Garth Nix returns to the Old Kingdom with a thrilling prequel complete with dark magic, royalty, dangerous action, a strong heroine, and flawless world building. This epic fantasy adventure is destined to be a classic and is perfect for fans of Rae Carson, Kristin Cashore, Scott Westerfeld, and Cassandra Clare.

Clariel is the daughter of one of the most notable families in the Old Kingdom, with blood relations to the Abhorsen and, most important, to the King. She dreams of living a simple life but discovers this is hard to achieve when a dangerous Free Magic creature is loose in the city, her parents want to marry her off to a killer, and there is a plot brewing against the old and withdrawn King Orrikan. When Clariel is drawn into the efforts to find and capture the creature, she finds hidden sorcery within herself, yet it is magic that carries great dangers. Can she rise above the temptation of power, escape the unwanted marriage, and save the King?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 08/11/2014
In a prequel to his classic Old Kingdom series, set some 600 years before the previous novels, Nix introduces Clariel, the 17-year-old daughter of a supremely talented goldsmith mother. Clariel only wants to be left alone, “to become a Borderer, one of the wardens who patrolled the forests and woods of the kingdom,” But unfortunately for her, she is also a close relative of the aging ruler of the Old Kingdom, as well as the Abhorsen, the kingdom’s master of lawful Charter Magic, who must keep both the Dead and the Wild Magic in their places. Clariel soon becomes a pawn in the political machinations of both her mother and the ambitious guildmaster Kilp, who controls the capital city, Belisaere. Worse, she discovers that her occasionally violent temper may itself have dire (and magical) consequences for her future. Between striking characters—from the heroic if not entirely competent young Abhorsen-in-Waiting, Belatiel, to the enigmatic, catlike Mogget—and Nix’s brilliantly complex magic system, this superb tale is exactly the book fans of the series have been awaiting. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Oct.)
Booklist (starred review)
“Clariel is a deeply sympathetic character faced with complicated choices, the consequences of which are frighteningly uncertain as she is pulled between the wild Free Magic and the disciplined Charter. A bittersweet story.”
Holly Black
“Beautifully written, magnificently imagined, and wholly original, Clariel is Garth Nix’s finest work yet.”
Scott Westerfeld
“The old magic returns in this sterling prequel to one of YA’s classic series.”
Alison Goodman
“A brilliant return to the Old Kingdom—one of the most exciting and original magical worlds ever devised.”
Philip Pullman
Praise for SABRIEL:“Sabriel is a winner, a fantasy that reads like realism. Here is a world with the same solidity and four dimensional authority as our own, created with invention, clarity, and intelligence. I congratulate Garth Nix. And I look forward to reading his next piece of work.”
Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“Nix’s tale provides a complete experience unto itself. But his focus on this strong character whose overriding passion is to go her own way provides a hugely satisfying background to the other Abhorsen books. A suspenseful prequel to the much-loved Abhorsen books, showcasing the independent Clariel.”
Horn Book Magazine
“Fans will treasure this long-awaited opportunity to return to a much-loved world, built with as much originality and richness as ever.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Nix fans will surely rejoice at this sharp, gripping prequel to his beloved fantasy trilogy of Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen. The beauty of a prequel is that it will not only present unknown scenarios even to the most intense devotees but also pave a path for new fans to dive into the existing trilogy. “
Cassandra Clare
“In this long-awaited prequel, Garth Nix shows us why his Old Kingdom books have influenced a generation of fantasy writers.”
VOYA, October 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 4) - Bonnie Kunzel
According to the author’s note, this is a prequel, set approximately six hundred years before the birth of Sabriel. On her Charter Mage and Master Goldsmith mother’s side, seventeen-year-old Clariel is not only a cousin to the king, but also the granddaughter of the Abhorsen, the one charged with controlling Free Magic, as well as using Charter Magic to keep the dead in the Old Kingdom. Having grown up near the Great Forest, however, Clariel dreams not of magic but of becoming a Borderer, a warden who patrols the forests, a dream put on hold when her talented mother is invited to join the High Guild of Goldsmiths in the capital and insists on moving the family to overcrowded, cast-conscious Belisaere, where the rich no longer practice Charter Magic. Although Clariel has been baptized with the forehead Charter Mark and taught the rudiments of Charter Magic, her magical abilities are limited, except for her mother’s berserker powers, which she will need when she goes up against the attacks of Free Magic creatures and the treacherous plots and political intrigues of the Master of the High Guilds and his sadistic heir. This sojourn includes masterful world-building, lots of action and adventure, and characters that teens will care about, in an unforgettable world with a feudal society supported by a highly organized and complex magical system. Long-term fans will be delighted by this outstanding addition to the Old Kingdom series, while teens new to this world are in for a treat. Reviewer: Bonnie Kunzel; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
★ 07/01/2014
Gr 7 Up—Over a decade has passed since Nix's last Old Kingdom novel, Abhorsen (HarperCollins, 2003), but he has lost none of his skill in depicting this fantasy realm. Nix sets Clariel 600 years before his other Old Kingdom novels, in a time when the king is old and weary and the current Abhorsen prefers to hunt game rather than Free Magic creatures and necromancers. Clariel is a young woman who is close kin to both the King and the Abhorsen but with little knowledge of either. She has reluctantly come to the capital city of Belisaere with her mother, Jaciel, who has been declared a High Goldsmith. Clariel would prefer to roam free amongst the forest near her childhood home of Estwael and seeks any way to escape the odious city with its lifeless streets and political squabbles. Clariel's instructor in Charter Magic, Magister Kargrin, promises his help to leave the city in return for her aid in capturing a Free Magic creature that he believes is in league with Governor Kilp. Little does she realize the effect that the touch of the creature will have on her or the depths to which Kilp will stoop to assuage his ambition. Nix pens a compelling character in Clariel while his skill in rendering both politics and magic is strong. This excellent work can be enjoyed independently of the other Old Kingdom novels, but will certainly draw readers to those works.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Kirkus Reviews
Selfishness and betrayal provoke inexorable tragedy in this dark prequel to a beloved fantasy trilogy.All Clariel wants is a solitary life in the Great Forest, but her mother's status in the powerful guilds, along with her connections to the royal and Abhorsen families, requires Clariel to stay in the capital, plagued with etiquette lessons and trapped in a loathsome betrothal. When her parents, tutors and even her friends play her for a pawn, Clariel can barely hold back her fury, and she seizes an opportunity to escape by helping capture a monster—even though she feels the deadly allure of its Free Magic. While familiarity with Nix's Old Kingdom series isn't necessary, it certainly adds depth, though its fans will be well-aware that Clariel's story can have no happy ending. More shocking is the vicious portrait of the magical realm at its peak of prosperity: savage inequality inciting social breakdown, king and mage alike abandoning their responsibilities, and respect for the Charter diminished. Hostile and self-centered, Clariel makes an interesting (if not entirely likable) protagonist; her depiction as (emphatically!) asexual and aromantic is refreshing, despite the problematic implied link to being anti-social and aloof. Still, readers will hurt with her as she longs passionately for freedom, rages at her enforced helplessness, snatches at desperate bad choices, and claws after a faint, bittersweet redemption.A thunderstorm of a tale, bitter and brutal but dazzling in its ferocity. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Abhorsen Series, #4
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)
990L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia. A full-time writer since 2001, he has worked as a literary agent, marketing consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller, and part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve. Garth's books include the award-winning fantasy novels Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen; Clariel, a prequel in the Abhorsen series; the cult favorite teen science fiction novel Shade's Children; and his critically acclaimed collection of short stories, To Hold the Bridge. His fantasy novels for younger readers include The Ragwitch, the six books of the Seventh Tower sequence, the Keys to the Kingdom series, and A Confusion of Princes. His books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, the Guardian, and the Australian, and his work has been translated in forty languages. He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and two children.

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Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honestly, as much as I love the Abhorsen trilogy, this book severely disappointed me. I was bored to tears throughout the entire first half of the book, and by the time things began to pick up I was already disenfranchised and no invested in the characters. I did like the tie in with the first books at the end of this one, but trying to figure out when this book lies in relation to the others was frustrating. All in all, i would recommend this book if you're committed to reading everything written by Nix, but honestly I was pretty disappointed. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Clariel is the daughter of one of the most renowned goldsmiths in the Old Kingdom. With ties to both the Abhorsen and the king, she also is part of a powerful family line. Despite the supposed prestige, Clariel wants nothing to do with her mother's goldsmith work or the city of Belisaere which will apparently further her mother's ambitions. While Clariel plots her escape back to the Great Forest near Estwael, she finds herself drawn again and again into political machinations within Belisaere. The more she tries to escape, the more problems (ranging from a Free Magic to a decidedly unwanted marriage proposal) appear to keep Clariel in the city. Clariel knows her own mind better than most and is determined to choose her own path no matter who or what might try to stop her. But with so many temptations and obstacles, can Clariel ever truly be free? More importantly, how many times can a passion be thwarted before it goes horribly, irreparably astray in Clariel (2014) by Garth Nix? Clariel is a prequel to Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series. It is set roughly 600 years before the events in Sabriel (the first Old Kingdom book). Readers of the Old Kingdom books will know that Clariel eventually becomes Chlorr of the Mask--a villain who features in first three Old Kingdom novels. Beyond that fact, Clariel is its own story. Free of spoilers for the rest of this series, this book can serve as an equally good entry point for readers looking to discover the world of the Old Kingdom. Clariel is a brusque, singular protagonist. For most of the novel she cares little about others or anything beyond her immediate desire to return to the Great Forest. In a lesser narrative these attributes might have made for a self-absorbed heroine and little else. Clariel, however, is much more than that. Even though her agency is undermined again and again, even while she is constantly manipulated, Clariel remains her own woman. In Clariel, Garth Nix presents a nuanced story about choice and redemption featuring a capable heroine. Even knowing what Clariel eventually becomes, Nix has delivered a story that is as taut as it is heartbreaking. A must-read for fans of high fantasy. Possible Pairings: Plain Kate by Erin Bow, Fire by Kristin Cashore, The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch, Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld *A copy of this book was acquired from the publisher at BEA 2014 for review consideration*
Linnymay More than 1 year ago
In Clariel, G. Nix stayed true to his simplistic writing, but strong lead personality that I loved in the first three Abhorsen books.   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I almost pee'd myself when I saw another instalment was being made to my favorite series, both in excitement and fear. This little gem did not dissapoint. What are you waiting for? Buy it already and loose yourself in the beautiful world Across the Wall
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the first three books in this series, and upon hearing there was a new book to the series I was very excited to read it. I went online to purchase it, when I read some really disappointing reviews. The reviews were negative enough I delayed purchasing the book for about two weeks, but it was still on my mind. Eventually I decided to just read it, even if it was long/boring/all the other negative things. I was very, very surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this book! It kept me hooked and entertained the whole time. I kept waiting to find all the negative things, but they never manifested. My experience reading this book was so different from what the other reviews said, I felt I had to write my own review to try to encourage others to read the book.