Goldenhand

The Old Kingdom, Book 5
By: Garth Nix
Narrated by: Heather Wilds
Series: Abhorsen/The Old Kingdom, Book 5
Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,352 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The long-awaited fifth installment in Garth Nix's New York Times best-selling Old Kingdom series, for listeners who enjoy series by Rae Carson, Kristin Cashore, Scott Westerfeld, and Cassandra Clare.

Goldenhand takes place six months after the events of Abhorsen and follows the novella Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case, which is featured in Across the Wall.

Lirael lost one of her hands in the binding of Orannis, but now she has a new hand, one of gilded steel and Charter Magic. On a dangerous journey, Lirael returns to her childhood home, the Clayr's Glacier, where she was once a Second Assistant Librarian. There a young woman from the distant North brings her a message from her long-dead mother, Arielle. It is a warning about the Witch with No Face. But who is the Witch, and what is she planning? Lirael must use her new powers to save the Old Kingdom from this great danger - and it must be forestalled not only in the living world but also in the cold, remorseless river of Death.

©2016 Garth Nix (P)2016 Listening Library

What listeners say about Goldenhand

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I'm not sure what happened here

I'm a die-hard fan of the series and listen and read the books probably 15 times a year, but I will NOT be listening to this one again. I've used Audible for almost 8 years now, and this will be my first returned book.

First off, as other reviewers have mentioned, the narrator was abysmal at best. Lack of emotions and enthusiasm, weird and random pauses, and little to no vocal distinctions between characters.

Second, there is no way Garth Nix wrote this. The first three books were amazing and had so much depth that I continue to enjoy them as an adult. Clariel was definitely a bit lagging, but as a pre-qual, it wasn't bad. This? This is an abomination. Either Nix has lost his mind, is stuck in a rut of writing for pre-teens, or he had a ghost-writer. The story was choppy, with no character or plot development, rushed romance, gratuitous appearances from prior characters, random additions of new places and people, and an ending that made me hope there's no more books, because the series has been butchered enough.

I'd love more books with the main characters, but only if we get the mid-90's Nix back!

47 people found this helpful

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Surprisingly mediocre

This one caught me off guard. I've been a huge fan of the Old Kingdom series. This book reads like mediocre tween fan-fiction.

I'm not saying it's a piece of crap. It's just so much worse in contrast to the other ones that it almost feels like.... something between a mix of disappointment and betrayal. I'm being ridiculous though.

Me. Nix is a fine writer. Goldenhand probably needed a heavier editing hand.

15 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

I liked this series but this book is all over the place and is a very disappointing ending to a five book series. The first three books are narrated by Tim curry and they are so good. This narrator is horrible, like Siri or my car GPS was reading it out loud.

17 people found this helpful

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Good story! Poor narrator choice.

I enjoyed the story, but not the narrator. She did not bring much to the story in terms of performance. She did not bring characters to life with voice acting.

12 people found this helpful

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An Unpleasant Listen

The way it is read is very strange. I have never heard anyone read a book in this way before, and it is unpleasant. Almost as if the reader is trying to deliver a news report on TV rather than read a book. The inflections ate just... off. It's kind of to listen to, and I might return it without bothering to finish.

4 people found this helpful

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great story read unenthusiastically.

The story was beautifully written how ever the bland an mono time of the reader made it difficult to fallow the story at times. deffinently not the same talent as Tim Curry, the reader of the first three books in this series.

4 people found this helpful

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I miss Tim Curry

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

The story line is very good. I'm happy this is a continuation right after Abhorsen. I miss Tim Curry reading the book. He really brings the story to life when he tells it.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Lirael is definitely my all time favorite character. I love books with heroines. There are so few female heroines in stories. I especially love how Garth built her attitude.

How could the performance have been better?

If Tim Curry was able to perform. The performance was good, but just not Tim's level...

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

1000 times yes

Any additional comments?

Thank you for bringing abhorsen series to life. I really enjoy theses books, and I hope they continue.

10 people found this helpful

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It wasn't that bad.

I have been put off buying this book by the negative reviews of the reader and the overall story. It honestly does not deserve the negative reviews it has been getting. The story was interesting enough. It was true that it does not have the carefully crafted completeness and mystic intrigue of the first books since the style splits the story between several groups of people, but every author I've ever read tends to have some books which are a little weak. The reader has a lovely voice with a posh accent, she does not make the story into a production...she simply reads it too you. I feel that Nix was using this book to more or less tie up and close off the connection between Clariel (past) and Claw Of The Mask (present) to finish off the character. IMHO Clariel was much more interesting as Claw than she was Clariel...but now her poor life decisions and misfortunes have come to an end...moving on to deeper and more clever characters like Sabriel, Lireal, and their progeny.

2 people found this helpful

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too fast

way too predictable and way too fast on character development. the relationships are hashed out in the first little bit of the book as opposed to sabriel where it takes at least half the book until sabriel and touchstone actually start to even really talk to each other

2 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

I loved this series up to this book. Partially because this is more of a romance than anything else and partially because I miss the old voice actor. The story was mostly revolving around a couple.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Philip
  • 10-23-16

Love the Old Kingdom but can't go on

I love this storyine by Garth Nix, and Tim Curry's performance of the original trilogy is stupendous. But Heather Wilds, I'm afraid, was not having a good day. If you're not interested in or even following what you're reading aloud it all sounds the same, with monotonously repeated patterns of intonation that drive the colour out of the story and drive the listener up the wall. Within 5 minutes I'd had enough, I wasn't listening anymore, because she wasn't paying enough attention. Listen to Sabriel - that's how to read these books. Sorry, sounds harsh, but I actually wondered if Siri would be better. I'm off to buy the book. Might as well read it myself.

32 people found this helpful

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  • P
  • 11-29-16

An amazing addition to the series ruined by an awful reader

The narrater of the book (Heather Wilds) is not at all good completely ruins the excitement and tension in the book as it is all read in a monotone so the most exciting scenes seem mundane!
I highly recommend this book but suggest you either read it or find a different narrator if you really want to be able to enjoy this wonderful book!

14 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-18-16

Another great story from Nix but let down by Wilds

Love this entire series, and although Goldenhand isn't the strongest book, it is still a great experience. Developing Lirael further as she progresses as the Abhorsen in waiting, Goldenhand introduces some new characters whilst drawing on the key previous names from the past books in the series.

However, Heather Wilds narration is nothing but bland and awkward and really takes away from the enjoyment. My advice, buy the physical book and read it.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Rousun Uddin
  • 12-22-16

Awful Narration !!

I really struggled with this book. Having listened to the first three Old Kingdom books read beautifully by Tim Curry. He really engaged with the characters and the plot. Therefore engaging me. He was always going to be a hard act to follow. Then with the fourth book Clariel the narrator changed to Graeme Malcolm. Whilst he was not in Curry's league he still did an admirable job once I'd gotton used to the changed accents of the well established characters. I can not say the same about Heather Wilds Narration. It was sooooo monotone. I couldn't tell when one sentence began or ended. let alone characters or chapter. I found myself repeating chapter after chapter because I kept zoning out. It was beyond tedious. I gave up after repeating chapter 17 for the umpteenth time and returned the book. Which is a shame. Garth Nix is a great writer and this was a great series for young and old alike. However for me the finale was completely ruined by the narrator. I have very poor eyesight, so my chances of reading the physical book are slim.

8 people found this helpful

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  • M. Greenland
  • 12-19-16

Worst narrator I have ever heard

This narrator was painful to listen to. It was like listening to a robots impression of what an interesting sentence sounded like and then repeated every sentence. So much so that I missed a lot of the story through sheer irritation at the narrator. Do yourself a favour and skip this. Seriously. The books okay, but read it. If you do feel the need to buy it, listen at 1.8 speed and the algorithms take away her hideous intonation.

7 people found this helpful

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  • KateHarris
  • 12-12-16

Terrible narration

The story was enjoyable, not as full as the others in this series.
However it was so difficult to listen to. The narration is completely monotone with words randomly stressed all over the place in paragraphs so it was very easy to get distracted or totally miss important parts. I turned the recording off 3 minutes in and attempted to buy the kindle version to not ruin the book for myself. But I have listened to it all now. The narration is bad throughout

15 people found this helpful

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  • Caroline a.
  • 11-13-16

Great story, abysmal reader!

Really enjoyed the book but the reader is terrible, putting stress on all the wrong words!

6 people found this helpful

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  • R Taylor
  • 11-12-16

Poor narration

The story is great but the narrator is really awful. She doesn't read ahead to the end of a sentence before saying it out loud so all the emphasis ends up on the wrong words which makes it quite hard to understand what is going on.

5 people found this helpful

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  • A
  • 10-16-16

A robot could read it better, story excellent.

The story was excellent and brought together many threads and opens the door for further development, PLEASE lets have more.
However the narration was like a trainer for voice dictation, crisp, perfect diction, without expression or emotion. If I had not wanted to follow the story I would have ducked out in the first ten minutes, run the text through a text to speech processor and you would get more feeling, warmth, heart or whatever it is that is the mark of an excellent narrator.
I would happily have Heather Wilds on my satnav, crisp and clear, but never again on an audio book unless she goes and follows the Tin Man in Oz. Less robot more heart. Perfect diction can kill a story.

5 people found this helpful

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  • patrick O'Neil
  • 10-28-17

the worst reading of a great story imaginable

such a great story wonderfully written given the worst flat and uninspired reading ever. it's monotonous uninspiring and dreadful which is laughable as there is no dread at all in her reading as there should be upon entering death etc. Nix gets lucky as this is so bad I had to buy the paperback and read it myself.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Natasha
  • 02-09-17

I always love an old kingdom book

This one was no exception, although I think perhaps you feel less tension than Abhorsen, it's pretty hard to make anything seem as serious as the world destroyer. I found the romance aspect of this book slightly rushed as well, but still enjoyable. The voice acting was not my favourite but it wasn't awful

3 people found this helpful

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  • Zoe
  • 01-16-20

Great story, difficult narrator

I love everything Nix writes, this is a lovely addition to Lirael's story.

I really struggled with the narration, having to come back to the book a few times. She declared her words through the book like each half sentence was it's own phrase, or like she was trying to put too much gravitas into her words. Every few word seemed to be emphasised 'like This to make the Words seem more Powerful' and it got old quick.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-15-18

Loved the series

I love the story but its a different narrator to the others and sometimes she sounds disjointed and weirdly paced.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sandra M Platypus
  • 06-02-18

good listening

l like the story, characterisation and narrator. It was was to visulise this story.