"Sixteen-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 Kilp. 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."
Let's talk about Clariel. So I have seen stuff about Sabriel (Garth Nix's first book in this series), and I always find myself interested by it but not interested enough to read it. Finally, I find the opportunity to read Clariel with mixed results. So let's break it down into negatives and positives (I like breaking it down to these groups for some strange reason. It will probably be a trend for a few weeks).
First of all, I find Clariel to be an annoying character. I just do. She is naive, and she is not that cunning as she tries to be, but she isn't that bad (like Bella Swan). As the narrator of Clariel, Clariel has a dry voice, which doesn't suck me in. It doesn't sit well with me. (That is all.) However, I do have to praise Garth Nix for not giving her a romantic interest, but he was sort of baiting the readers with a false promise of a romance (thanks Garth Nix), so I will dock points for that.
The ending leaves a very unsatisfying conclusion to the tale. I read about 300+ pages, and the ending is simply not what I expected. There leaves a bunch of open questions (which makes sense because Clariel is set before Sabriel, but aye, aye, aye. So complicated. Also, I'm not planning to read Sabriel anytime soon. My time is too precious).
The plot has some hiccups and bumps in the road. Some events doesn't connect well with each other, and I'm left scratching my head. However...
...the plot does have its ups. Garth Nix practically throws all the exciting parts in the end, the plot isn't that terrible. There are some great parts, and the storyline is very straightforward. The world building itself makes a lot of sense (though I have to guess at some parts). Also, the dialogue has its great moments which are undeniably hilarious or good enough to look over again.
Overall, Clariel has its ups and downs. It seems that the negatives outweighs the positives. Clariel is an okay character, who doesn't stand out very much though she does have some powerful moments. The ending makes a sort of backdoor for Sabriel, which is annoying (because I seriously was hoping for a standalone). Clariel is entertaining to read, but I would recommend it only for those who are bored and into fantasy.
Rating: Two out of Five