Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid, to the sinister Guildmaster Kilip. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.
With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her - and it is herself she must question most of all. (Summary and book cover courtesy of goodreads.com)
In this fantastic sequel to the Abhorsen series, Nix brings us back in time to provide some background leading up to Sabriel’s era. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it gives us a different perspective on Free Magic and the struggles it creates within those who can use it. Clariel is relatable, but not infallible and her mistakes make sense.
I do have to admit that I missed reading things from the Abhorsen’s perspective, but it was certainly still a fantastic read. It was neat to see how Bel managed to pick up the mantle when needed. I am certainly going to be re-reading the previous books soon!
Rating: 4 stars!
Who should read it? Fans of the Abhorsen series, but I’d recommend everyone else to start with Sabriel!
Want to read the whole series?