It is the start of the school year and there are many English classes coming in to find something to read. I have been reading quite a lot over my summer holidays and have tried to be disciplined enough to write something about all the YA books I read. One of the books I finally got around to reading in January was Clariel by Garth Nix. I loved Sabriel when it first came out and enjoyed the other books in The Old Kingdom series. It was interesting to read a new book about The Old kingdom after so many years.
I have also challenged myself to read 100 books in the Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge. The challenge for me is not simply the reading but making sure I review/comment on each of the books as I finish them.
As it is billed as a prequel, this book provides a completely different view of the Old Kingdom from the previous three stories. The Abhorsen and the royal families are less vigilant and lazier than previous publications and there is a lot more political intrigue.
The main character, Clariel, is a part of the Abhorsen family. She is alone and isolated in her new home in Belisaere, the capital of the kingdom, and is frustrated and angry. Her parents have brought her to the city with the expectation that she will comply with their schemes for promotion and wealth. This behaviour is familiar to Clariel but she misses her home and the solitude of the Great Forest. The city is also a dangerous place that seethes with intrigues that seemingly involve almost everyone. The thwarting of her desires stir an anger that she has struggled to control in the past but now realises that it is part of her heritage. If it can be harnessed it is a very powerful weapon that might be used to her advantage. The appearance of a dangerous “Free Magic” entity is the catalyst for events escalating with catastrophic results. For all her growing power, Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever. She starts to question the motivations of not just everyone around her but also herself.
This fourth Old Kingdom novel is set 600 years prior to the birth of Sabriel, the first story. Although it is published as a prequel to the Old Kingdom series, Clariel an also be read as a standalone novel. Note: Clariel is a character has surfaced before and is known under another name in Lirael, as is another of the “free magic” creatures.
This is a satisfying story of a courageous and talented young woman who is surrounded by other equally colourful characters.
Another YA book I read this summer was number 6 in the Young Bond series. I have enjoyed all the previous stories written by Charlie Higson and was interested to see that Stephen Cole has written the latest. We have quite a few books by Steve in our library and he has captured the “derring do” of the previous books in the series very well.
Action is never far away and before long James finds himself travelling from the England to Los Angeles, via a zeppelin. The intrigue begin straight away as James discovers that he has become caught up in a web of blackmail and murder. There are American gangsters, dastardly plots and friends in danger. It will be a good book for our younger student who like spy and action stories
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