Clariel (Garth Nix, A&U)
The long-awaited prequel to Garth Nix’s ‘Old Kingdom’ series (Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen) is going to make a lot of readers very, very happy. After her mother is promoted to the prestigious position of High Goldsmith, Clariel is forced to move from her forest home to the bustling capital Belisaere. Her mother’s new status means that Clariel is expected to behave herself, but she has no plans to marry well and live quietly—more than anything, she wants to join the Forest Borderers. But politics are treacherous in Belisaere, and when Clariel finds herself in the middle of a plot that brings her world crashing down, she must put her plans aside and draw on her own inner strength to survive. With the rich world Nix created in Sabriel, it’s hardly a surprise that he has returned to the Old Kingdom in Clariel. This is a gripping read that is perfect for lovers of dark fantasy aged 12 and up. It can also be read as a stand-alone novel, so if you need proof of why Nix is one of Australia’s most beloved fantasy authors, Clariel is a good place to start.
Holly Harper is an author and children’s bookseller at Readings Carlton