Goldenhand by Garth Nix

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Abhorsen bk 5. Allen & Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781741758634
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Fantasy. Magic. Quests. The eagerly anticipated book 5 in the series does not disappoint. Lirael is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting and has to battle dangerous creatures and find memories in the Dark Mirror. After losing one of her hands in the binding of Orannis she has a new hand, looking like gold and crafted with Charter magic, and she must learn to use it fearlessly. When she finds Nicholas Sayre deeply tainted with Free Magic after being attacked, together they must face the Witch With No Face, news of whom has been brought by a young woman Feren who faced great dangers to reach Lirael. (Readers may wish to read the short story Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case as a prelude to this story, but it is not necessary although it is an intriguing read itself).
Lovers of fantasy will welcome this outstanding book with its likeable characters, dangerous quests and battles and strange settings. Nix has created a unique world where Free and Charter Magic battle both in the world and inside Nicholas and Lirael must find the answers to cure him and save the world. To do this she takes Nicholas back to the Clayr where she once was a quiet retiring librarian. Now she is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting she realises that she has grown in stature and also in self-confidence. The growing attraction between Lirael and Nicholas is also a warm thread that readers will enjoy following as they both grow in knowledge and skill.
At the same time as Lirael and Nicholas journey to the Clayr, the feisty Feren, strong willed and determined, is chased by the Witch With No Face and her followers as she travels through dangerous country to bring her warning about the Witch to Lirael. She is a most engaging character and her adventures and her sassy attitude keep the reader totally engrossed.
Abhorsen is a fabulous series, one that all libraries should have, and Goldenhand brings together many of the threads and characters that have preceded it. A book trailer is available from the publisher.
Pat Pledger