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.
|Image credit: Hot Key Books|
Given that, unsurprisingly it took me a while to get into the book as I had no background knowledge of the series. But now, you’ll be pleased to know, I’m definitely interested in reading the other books in the series – they’re already on my to-read list!
However, Clariel was definitely a slow starter. The middle was the best bit, because the plot had been established and we were getting to know the characters more. Surprisingly, my favourite part was Clariel’s first day at The Academy with the tea ceremony and the introduction to the other students. I also felt the end was a bit rushed. Too much happened too fast, and as a result the book didn’t have the most satisfactory ending. However, I did like the framework of both starting and ending with Marral. This gave the book a nice feel – I’m a sucker for a neat framework like that.
Much as I hate to say it, in places it reminded me of Game of Thrones. That’s not just because they’re both in a similar fantasy genre, but also because of the plot threads. Similar to George R.R. Martin’s writing, at points certain aspects of the plot are just left hanging or not fully resolved. Without giving away spoilers, what happened to the rest of the Academy students? And that event in the middle of the book definitely draws comparisons to the Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones.
The characters were probably the best bit of the book, alongside the world-building. A good fantasy world should be involving and feel as lifelike as possible within the confines of the story, which Garth Nix does brilliantly. It was complex, especially for YA, but once I got the hang of all the characters, places and ideas I did really enjoy it.
However, the main characters seemed to have a habit of annoying me. Again trying to avoid spoilers, we all knew nothing good would come out of Clariel being in contact with free magic creatures, yet of course she goes and does it anyway. I also wondered why she was so quick to befriend Mogget when she’d only just met him. Thinking about it, there was a lot of characters making stupid decisions, but then I suppose that just makes it more lifelike because everyone has motivation to achieve their goals. On a side note, Bel was by far my favourite character!
Reading back over this review, it sounds pretty negative. I should add that I wrote the notes for the review as soon as I’d finished reading the book, but now I’m actually writing the review my opinions have shifted. Having had time to reflect on it, I think I enjoyed Clariel more than I originally thought.
I did enjoy reading Clariel (especially the middle section) though I suppose if I’d have read the rest of the series previously it would perhaps have made more sense to start with as I wouldn’t have been going in blind. But regardless it’s definitely worth a read, especially if you’re a fan of YA or fantasy, and it’s an essential read if you’re already a Garth Nix fan!
Rating: 4 stars.
So it’s just as well I’ve got another copy to give away to one lucky reader, thanks to the lovely people at Hot Key Books. If you’d like to win yourself a copy, just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms and conditions:
1. Giveaway closes on 26th July 2015 at 11.59pm (GMT).
2. The prize consists of one paperback copy of Clariel by Garth Nix.
3. Upon confirmation of the winner's address, the prize will be posted to the winner by Hot Key Books, NOT The Writing Greyhound.
4. This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 13 and over.
5. The winner will be randomly generated by Rafflecopter once the giveaway has ended.
6. The winner will be informed by email once the giveaway has ended.
7. The winner will have 72 hours to claim their prize. If the winner has not responded by this time, another winner will be announced.
If you don't want to risk your chances in the giveaway, Clariel is available to buy now.
Are you a fan of Garth Nix? Let me know in the comments below!