Seventeen-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.
I have been hearing a lot about how awesome the Abhorsen series was, especially from Margot @ Epic Reads. So, when this title became available through Harper Collins catalog on Edelweiss, I jumped in with both feet without reservation. I'm rather glad that I did. I love high fantasy novels. I love the world building that the authors create and the character who seem larger than life itself.
I love how the stories doesn't seem to take place in a brief period of time, but rather over a long time frame that gives the story more realism. I love how Nix creates a world filled with different kinds of magic like Charter and Free. I love how there isn't a real straight line between what is good magic, and what is evil. It is what you do with it that ultimately leads you to your fate.
Clariel is the story about 17 year Clariel who has forced to move from her only home she's ever loved in Estwael, to Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. Clariel immediately finds that she is suffocating by being blocked by in by walls, and not the open air and forest where she finds comfort and enjoyment. She is forced by her parents, Jaciel and Harvey, to attend normal functions of the high born, including attending school. Clariel isn't a character that necessarily needs friends. She finds that being alone isn't that big of a deal, which means that the story isn't filled with romance, or love triangles.
Clariel is being called the prequel to the Abhorsen series. The story takes place 600 years BEFORE Sabriel, and to my knowledge, only Moggett, who takes the form of a cat, is the only other character carried over from the first 3 books. Clariel, under an entirely different name, apparently appears in other Abhorsen stories, but I don't have any insight into what happens to her.
You do NOT need to read the rest of the Abhorsen series before reading this story, but people have been telling me that I probably should to get a better understanding of the world of the Abhorsen's. I will be picking up Sabriel shortly, and surging forward until I am caught up. I understand that there WILL be a 5th story in the Abhorsen series coming from Garth Nix perhaps in 2015? No title or synopsis has been released as of this posting.
Clariel is the perfect example of the old adage that “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Clariel is basically a good person, twisted by the discovery of Free Magic, that sends her down a dangerous road with no turning back. Her desire to learn more about the Free Magic, puts her in direct conflict with not only her parents, but individuals who use Charter Magic for good.
Clariel isn't the only character that has ever had her life turned upside by wrong choices trying to do a good thing. Remember Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader? Clariel tries so hard to remain good. She even goes as far as befriending Belatiel, while keeping others like Aronzo, at a distance. But, the more people try to use her, the more she understands about Free & Charter magic as well as the Abhorsen heritage, the more she dooms herself to a life alone without any friends.
Clariel is filled with action, betrayal, magical beings, and plot twisting fun. I would say that if you are a reader who is interested in starting this series, Clariel is perhaps your best choice. If you have read the first three novels in this series, then you definitely know Clariel's future and what he becomes.
Author - Garth Nix
Title - Clariel (Abhorsen # 4)
Published by Harper Collins
Released: October 14, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Format: E-Book, 382 pages