books · shanti

Goldenhand (!!!!!) cover reveal and analysis

Hi there, Virtually Readers! If you’ve been around here for a while, you *may* have noticed that GARTH NIX IS BASICALLY MY FAVOURITE AUTHOR EVER. A Confusion of Princes, Newt’s Emerald, The Keys to the Kingdom and Across the Wall and To Hold the Bridge, his short story collections, are good books. But it is The Old Kingdom Chronicles that truly hold my heart. They are magical and dark and the characters are fabulous and THERE AREN’T ENOUGH WORDS FOR MY LOVE. (but if you’re curious, check out the posts from Garth Nix Appreciation Week and my full-length reviews of Sabriel and Lirael). A few months ago, the US cover for the latest instalment in the series was released, and a few days ago the Australian cover (the ones I own) was also revealed. Now I’m going to be ridiculously excited and talk all about these covers and what they promise. (the first section of this will 100% have no spoilers unless you count, like, character names. I’ll tell you when it might spoil parts of the books. Okay?)

goldenhand x2
American left/Australian and NZ right. Images copyright HarperCollins and Allen and Unwin respectively

First off, let me just say that I LOVE these covers. I like both editions, but I prefer the Australian edition a little more. I like how on both covers there are Charter Marks on the cover, because the magic is so central to this series. And this time you can see the Charter Mark on Liraels forehead, so she’s probably doing magic—and I love how that detail is included. I love how Lirael is taking an active stance and is looking wary on both covers—especially how she’s bearing a bell now, as well as a sword. I like the font of both titles, and the tagline—‘for everyone and everything, there is a time to die’—is deliciously creepy.

The covers are really different as well, though. The Australian cover is all blue-tinged, while the American one is more yellow. The Australian cover has three figures while the American one only has two. The Australian cover just has the hint of charter marks in the air, while the American one has lots of little Charter marks, and a big purple mark, but is it a Free Magic sign or a Charter one. (Free Magic is the more evil sort of magic, the kind all but Abhorsen’s need for necromancy). The Australian cover just has grey clouds in the background, while the American one has this distinct landscape  of rocks in the background. The Australian cover has well lit characters, from the front, but Lirael and presumably Nick are backlit on the American cover.

‘But anyone could list the differences between the covers. Tell me what you think it means, Shanti’ I imagine you cry. And now is when we might get to potential spoilers (and trust me, you want to read this series, not be spoiled, so skip ahead to where the spoilers end)




I have a little idea of what is going to happen in this book based on the blurb, which you can find on goodreads. Lirael and Nicholas are going to hang out. Nicholas is going to be really confused because a)magic is real and b)he’s not possessed. Meanwhile, they’ll have to go on an epic quest, because the second girl on the Australian cover knows a secret that will change everything. What more do the covers tell me?

First off, there will be FIGHTING. Lirael is carrying weapons in both covers. She will fight against evil, even if the Disreputable Dog isn’t there, and she will be brave.

Secondly, there will be MAGIC. Both covers and the blurb promise lots of magical endeavours. Lirael always was a fabulous Charter Magician and she’s going to get even better now that she’s the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, with Sabriel to teach her. It is called Goldenhand, presumably because Lirael has lost her hand and had a new one made by Sameth, the Wallmaker, as the end of Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case implies.

Thirdly, there will be NECROMANCY. Lirael is holding a bell, so she must have progressed beyond panpipes. The Old Kingdom is probably in a pretty dire situation after what Orannis did, especially because Orannis encouraged Free Magic, so both Sabriel and Lirael will have their hands full.

Fourthly, there will be TALKING CATS.  The cover doesn’t imply this, but I’m hoping to see more of Mogget/Yrael as well. I also want a lot of awesome Paperwings, maybe some cool creatures from the Glacier Library (and awesome books too yes please) and those drill worms to make another appearance.

Fifthly, there will be QUESTING. I’m hoping that the bridge we found out a little about in To Hold The Bridge will play a role, and that the landscape in the American cover shows that they’re going on a quest, with Nicholas and the girl from the North. I’m hoping to see lots more of the North, especially since in Abhorsen it was really far south, in the capital of Ancelstierre.




I’ve been waiting for this book ever since Garth Nix mentioned that he was writing it in the afterword to Clariel. This series is just so good—magical and dark and so well detailed. I’m really excited to read it. (And it’s being published just a few days before my birthday *hint hint family*.

Are you as excited for Goldenhand as me? (probably not…) Which cover do you like better? And would you like to see more cover analysis posts in the future? Tell me in the comments.(Also: please nag Shar to read this ASAP)


One thought on “Goldenhand (!!!!!) cover reveal and analysis

  1. Hello! Loved this (cover) review! I am so incredibly excited for Goldenhand, I think we may be on par. Are you also just super keen for LiraelxNicholas? I personally prefer the American cover, but that’s mostly because I have the older versions of the rest of the series, the versions where the covers are just all black with a single Charter Mark (so the American cover will match a little better). Plus the American cover is a bit more ~mysterious~. Cover analysis reviews are great, so please keep them coming!


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