Parents' Guide to

Terciel & Elinor: Old Kingdom Series

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Prequel to "Sabriel" combines danger, dark magic, romance.

Book Garth Nix Fantasy 2021
Terciel & Elinor: Old Kingdom Series Poster Image

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Fans of the Abhorsen trilogy will be thrilled to get to know two new characters in this prequel, and readers new to the series who love zombies and magic and a bit of romance will dive right in. The easiest entrance into the world of Ancelstierre and the Old Kingdom is Sabriel, the book about and named for Elinor and Terciel's daughter, but readers comfortable not knowing exactly what charter magic is or how paperwings fly or why you should stand in a stream when attacked by the undead will still fall under the spell of Terciel & Elinor. The character Elinor also begins the story knowing nothing about magic, but learns quickly. She puts some surprising skills to good use -- staging plays, juggling, knife throwing -- as she gets closer to the Wall and then over it to the magical side. She feels called upon to be a part of the world denied to her by her mother for so many years and her drive, and the evil forces after her, pull the story along.

Compared with Elinor, Terciel is the less compelling character. He lives in the shadow of his mentor, his gruff and talented great-aunt, he does his duty as the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, but can be reluctant and fearful. It's hard to see him in his future role as the Abhorsen. Maybe the sweet relationship with Elinor is what he needs. It's definitely what the story needs to end on a hopeful note after the climactic action. As usual in the Old Kingdom, there's a nasty army of evil zombies and necromancers to defeat before the book is finished. A budding romance balances out a dangerous trip into the land of the dead rather nicely.

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