When an ill wind blows from the North, the magic of the Old Kingdom arrives with it, completely upending Elinor’s idyllic but isolated life. Meanwhile across the Wall, Abhorsen-in-Waiting Terciel trains to take on a role he feels he’ll never be ready for, and can only hope that he and his master together will be strong enough to finally lay to rest the Greater Dead creature that’s haunted their family for generations.
Terciel & Elinor is the sixth book in the Old Kingdom series, which began with Sabriel in 1995, and serves as a prequel to that book.
The Old Kingdom has been one of my favourite series for a long time now, and although I don’t feel like the more recent books quite live up to the awesomeness of the original trilogy (and nostalgia has certainly played a part in my enjoyment of them), I’ve still really loved them all. This is always such a wonderful world to revisit, and Terciel & Elinor has all the eerie vibes I’ve come to expect – along with a heavy dose of cuteness in the form of it’s two new protagonists, who I quickly grew very attached to. In particular, I found Elinor’s perspective a lot of fun; her unusual upbringing combining with her natural good sense and stubborn resolve makes her journey continuously entertaining.
I was also surprised by how much I liked the romance in this; given that I’m used to thinking of Terciel and Elinor as just “Sabriel’s parents” (and Terciel in the original trilogy was such a distant, formal-seeming character, more often referred to by his title than his name), I wasn’t expecting to ship them so hard. 💕 Many of their interactions were a little awkward, as they’re both fairly naïve, but it was incredibly endearing to see them growing closer.
Perhaps because of the greater focus on romance, I found myself mentally comparing it a lot to Goldenhand – but plot-wise, I think that Terciel & Elinor is a lot stronger, and it probably has my favourite storyline of the more recent books. The writing, as expected, is excellent; I was quickly drawn into the story, and it held on tight the whole way through. In fact, I blew through this in just two days, which is something that’s only happened a few times in the last few years… 😅
Overall: an excellent novel. I perhaps wouldn’t recommend it as a starting point to the series, but if you like The Old Kingdom, you’ll like this, and if you don’t like The Old Kingdom, you clearly haven’t read it yet, and should definitely get on that. 😋