Goldenhand (Abhorsen #5)



For everyone and everything there is a time to die.

Lirael is no longer a shy Second Assistant Librarian. She is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, with Dead creatures to battle and Free Magic entities to bind. She’s also a Remembrancer, wielder of the Dark Mirror. Lirael lost one of her hands in the binding of Orannis, but now she has a new hand, one of gilded steel and Charter Magic.

When Lirael finds Nicholas Sayre lying unconscious after being attacked by a hideous Free Magic creature, she uses her powers to save him. But Nicholas is deeply tainted with Free Magic. Fearing it will escape the Charter mark that seals it within his flesh and bones, Lirael seeks help for Nick at her childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier.

But even as Lirael and Nick return to the Clayr, a young woman from the distant North braves the elements and many enemies in a desperate attempt to deliver a message to Lirael from her long-dead mother, Arielle. Ferin brings a dire warning about the Witch With No Face. But who is the Witch, and what is she planning?

Once more a great danger threatens the Old Kingdom, and it must be forestalled not only in the living world but also in the cold, remorseless river of Death. (Summary and cover courtesy of


This was a highly anticipated book for me that fell a little flat.  I absolutely adored going back to the Old Kingdom, getting to see how all the characters got on and how things settled after the events in “Abhorsen”.  After that, however things got a little odd for me.  The Free Magic creatures seemed a little random, as did Nick’s adventures although I’d be interested to hear what happened to him (I think this is in “The Creature in the Case” actually).  The pacing felt little disjointed as did the swaps between Ferin and Lirael.  There were a lot of things and characters introduced on Ferin’s part of the story that then seem to disappear. 

Once Lirael and all the other characters get to The Glacier things take off quite a bit more.  In fact, the pacing in the last part of the book is in fast-forward, perhaps a little too much so, at times.  I would have loved to see more on Sabriel and Lirael’s relationship, but we don’t get to see much from Sabriel.   Instead, Lirael’s partner-in-crime and new romance is Nick on her adventure.  All in all, I still recommend this book to fans of the series and the Old Kingdom, but it wasn’t quite what I expected.  I enjoyed the read and kept wanting to go back to it, but it didn’t quite match my absolute adoration of “Sabriel”.

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Fans of adventure, coming-of-age with a dark twist to the storyline, but it will be very confusing if you don’t start at least with Lirael!

Want to read the whole series?