• Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen

  • By: Garth Nix
  • Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
  • Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (2,165 ratings)

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Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen  By  cover art

Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen

By: Garth Nix
Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
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Publisher's summary

The long-awaited fourth audiobook in the New York Times best-selling Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix.

Award-winning author Garth Nix returns to the Old Kingdom with a thrilling prequel complete with dark magic, royalty, dangerous action, a strong heroine, and flawless world-building. This epic fantasy adventure is destined to be a classic, and is perfect for fans of Game of Thrones.

Clariel is the daughter of one of the most notable families in the Old Kingdom, with blood relations to the Abhorsen and, most important, to the King. She dreams of living a simple life but discovers this is hard to achieve when a dangerous Free Magic creature is loose in the city, her parents want to marry her off to a killer, and there is a plot brewing against the old and withdrawn King Orrikan. When Clariel is drawn into the efforts to find and capture the creature, she finds hidden sorcery within herself, yet it is magic that carries great dangers. Can she rise above the temptation of power, escape the unwanted marriage, and save the King?

©2014 Garth Nix (P)2014 Listening Library

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What listeners say about Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Return to the Old Kingdom in an inverted YA novel

The original trilogy of Old Kingdom novels are some of my absolute favorite "young adult (but really for adults)" fantasy novels. The world building is terrific, the characters wonderful, and the writing style helps bring everything to life with appropriate mystery and majesty. In this new novel, Nix finds his inner George Lucas, presenting a prequel explaining the background of a character in the original series, though to much better results than Lucas achieved.The return to the Old Kingdom is welcome, and this book has some very clever elements that I won't reveal so as not to ruin surprises, but it never quite hits the heights of the prior three books.

Part of both the cleverness and slight difficulty engaging with the book is is due to the fact that it turns many of the tropes of YA fantasy novels on its head - the main heroine is asocial, not interested in romance, and generally aloof. But that isn't all. The book is full of YA tropes: we are taken early on to a magical academy full of potential enemies and allies (obvious shades of Hogwarts) or we are introduced to Parents Who Don't Understand the Heroine (shades of every YA book ever) or we are made aware of the character's special destiny. But the book turns every one of these tropes on its head, in ways that are sometimes satisfying, but also occasionally off-putting. Still, it is never boring, and I very much enjoyed the experience.

The reading is great, and, if you have read the other Old Kingdom books, you should certainly read this as well. Otherwise, you really, really should read Sabriel now - it is excellent, and, in its sequels Lireal and Abhorsen, sets up mysteries that Clariel answers, even if not always in the most ultimately satisfying way.

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30 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great prequel to Abhorsen trilogy

This is a good story. Sad, but very much in the spirit of the first Abhorsen trilogy.
Book well read, although I miss Tim Curry.

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20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

LOVED THE BOOK -- HATED THE NARRATOR

Garth Nix is one of mine and my family's favorite authors.We spent many a car trip listening and relistening to The Keys to the Kingdom and his stories of the Old Kingdom. Another adventure in the Old Kingdom has been eagerly awaited by my family for years. Now it's here and Audible ruined our experience by choosing a terrible narrator.Graeme Malcolm does sound a bit like Tim Curry, so perhaps that is what they were going for, but his pacing when reading the narrative was awful. I felt like my ears were on an audio roller-coaster.

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15 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

why

Clariel, why you gotta be so dumb?

I miss competent abhorsons.

I miss Tim Curry. only he can do the true mogget voice.

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10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Clariel is an amazing heroine

Clariel is a truly unique YA heroine. As a character study it is almost as if she falls somewhere far down on the autism scale and simply has next to no ability to connect with her own feelings; and yet, in the end, her single minded focus saves the kingdom. The book is fantastic and is nothing less than I would expect from the most wonderful and creative Garth Nix.

Sometimes I want to refute some of the more shallow reviews of books when I think the reader/reviewer missed the point of the book entirely; and that is the case now, but I am not going to except to say the that Clariel's references to the forest didn't bother me at all and were entirely in keeping with her rather aspebergerish personality.

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9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Clariel is a brat.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

If I have to hear about that damn forest one more time....

How did the narrator detract from the book?

And it's just not the same without Tim Curry. It's not.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

All Free Magic and No Charter

What did you like best about Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen? What did you like least?

It was fun to see the Old Kingdom before its demise. You got a better view of the world beyond the wall than you had without reading Clariel. What was mainly lacking was Clariel herself. She was an angry teenager who didn't seem to really care much about anything or anyone.....accept the Great Forest. Which you hear about a lot in this book. She had the ability to go berserk but that was really about the only interesting thing about her. We had Sabriel, Lirael, Mogget, the Disreputable Dog, and multiple Clayr that made for such cool and powerful characters that I couldn't help but feel let down by this character. It didn't explain either how she really became Chlor of the mask either. It gave us the beginning of the path she started down and then left the rest up to the reader, which is ok but this is a character that I wanted much more detail on.

Would you recommend Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes, because it is an Abhorsen book. There were some very fun scenes and it gave some clarification regarding Free Magic beings.

Which character – as performed by Graeme Malcolm – was your favorite?

Moget of course.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes, I would see it. I would be much more interested if Sabriel were turned into a movie.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Few qualms, but a very good addition to the series

I was very reluctant to buy this book because it was not narrated by Tim Curry, the narrator of the first three books in the series. However I believe that the new narrator did a good job (if not as good as Curry). If you are new to the series start at book 1 because there are minor spoilers in this book.

This is a YA book in a YA series by a YA author, but I have to say that the author did a good job of making this book enjoyable for his older fans. I very much enjoyed that Clariel was not just Sabriel 3.0, being an excellent Charter mage and swordswoman. I was not expecting that she would be a berserker like Touchstone from book 1, and I feel that it did a good job towards diversifying the series. Clariel was a bit whiny for the first half of the book (okay more than a bit) so the author could have reduced the total number of times she wistfully longed for the forest to maybe just once or twice per chapter instead of what seemed like every single paragraph. The other sorta-problem I had with the book was the way that every single adult took Clariel for granted, but I forgive this fact because it's a YA book and that's a theme in the genre. That said I would have liked it if Clariel's mom was a little more approachable/didn't view Clariel as a tool.

The second half of the book spoke more to me as an adult than the first half, being reminiscent in pace of Abhorsen (somewhat rapid fire when compared to the slower pace of Lirael). I liked that Free Magic was viewed as being somewhat not completely evil, just chaotic and freedom seeking, and that Mogget seemed true to form. I did not like that Clariel actually trusted Mogget first thing, but it made sense that she did what she did at the end of the book.

Overall this is a great addition to the series. Not as good as Sabriel, but it was as good as the good bits of Lirael and Abhorsen.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very difficult to hear at times

Malcolm's performance was very difficult to hear at times, especially when he used a very low, soft voice. I had to replay parts several times -- and still couldn't make out the words.

Still, I liked the book. I thought it a very good exploration of Clariel's character and the decay of a society.

If you are looking for the same kind of upbeat story line that Sabriel and Lirael had, however, look elsewhere. It's a pretty dark story.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

New Abhorsen Tale

I always enjoy these books and this is another interesting story from the Old Kingdom world. It fills in some of the history. Really there is a lot Garth Nix could write yet about the Old Kingdom if he chooses to. The narrator while no Tim Curry is very good as well.

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3 people found this helpful