Trudging Through the Mud | Clariel by Garth Nix

Posted on November 25, 2015 «
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book review clariel garth nix

When I start blogging back at the start of 2014, I watched news of upcoming releases closely. Imagine my surprise, when I discovered that there were other fans of Garth Nix’s Abhorsen series and that a fourth book was being released at year’s end. I added Clariel to my TBR pile quickly and awaited its release.

Sadly, Clariel did not live up to my expectations. It took me two months to finish this book. I’ll admit I had a lot going on in June and July, but read over 10 other novels or short stories during those two months before I buckled down and actually finished Clariel.

Right away, I struggled to connect with Clariel. She was whiney and her constant complaining grated on my nerves. She talked about getting away, but never once made an attempt. Her parents seemed to provide no supervision, she bragged often about her skills as a hunter and never once made the attempt.

I was lost in the Old Kingdom. It has been years since I read the original trilogy and that was a concern when I started the book. But this story is set several hundred years before the original books so I thought I would be fine. I was wrong. I’m not sure rereading the series would have help in this case. The politics and the people seem to be different. The Abhorsen is complacent. The only thing that seems the same is the Charter Magic and it would have been nice to have “a refresher course” on how it works.

The plot of Clairel plodded. It was like walking through shoe-sucking mud in a downpour. It seemed like I never made any progress. There would be a few chapters of action and then nothing for several more. The ending sped by because outside forces started to act to bring the story to conclusion. This was a book, when I was about 50 pages from the end, I couldn’t believe there were only a few pages left because I thought more needed to happen because nothing happened for a good portion of the book.

While I am still a fan of Garth Nix’s books, I am not a fan of Clariel. Too much of nothing happens for about three quarters of the novel and with a lack of connection with the main character, I don’t have a burning desire to travel to the Old Kingdom via new adventures any time soon.


The Quick Review

Trudging Through the Mud | Clariel by Garth Nix


Author: Garth Nix
Published on: October 14, 2014
Pages: 382
Series: Abhorsen #4
Genres: fantasy, young adult
Goodreads • Amazon Affiliate Link
My Rating: Thumbs Down




About Garth Nix

Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia, to the sound of the Salvation Army band outside playing 'Hail the Conquering Hero Comes' or possibly 'Roll Out the Barrel'. Garth left Melbourne at an early age for Canberra (the federal capital) and stayed there till he was nineteen, when he left to drive around the UK in a beat-up Austin with a boot full of books and a Silver-Reed typewriter.

Despite a wheel literally falling off the Austin, Garth survived to return to Australia and study at the University of Canberra. After finishing his degree in 1986 he worked in a bookshop, then as a book publicist, a publisher's sales representative, and editor. Along the way he was also a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve, serving in an Assault Pioneer platoon for four years. Garth left publishing to work as a public relations and marketing consultant from 1994-1997, till he became a full-time writer in 1998. He did that for a year before joining Curtis Brown Australia as a part-time literary agent in 1999. In January 2002 Garth went back to dedicated writer again, despite his belief that full-time writing explains the strange behaviour of many authors.

He now lives in Sydney with his wife, two sons and lots of books.

(from GoodReads)


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8 responses to “Trudging Through the Mud | Clariel by Garth Nix

    • I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I had reread the other books just to refamiliarize myself with the World. I did that with Seraphina and Shadow Scale and it worked quite well. Maybe next year!

  1. Bec

    It always sucks when a highly anticipated novel doesn’t live up to your expectations 🙁

    Garth Nix is one of the authors I need to read more of! And I think I want to start with the Old Kingdom books.

  2. I hate when a book I’m eagerly awaiting s not as good as the build up. I know what you mean thought, I’ve been reading A Discovery of Witches for over a month and just can’t get into it.