Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book Review: Lirael (Abhorsen #2) by Garth Nix

Lirael (Abhorsen, #2) 

From the back cover: Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Now, two years past the time when she should have received the Sight that is the Clayr's birthright, she feels alone, abandoned, unsure of who she is. Nevertheless, the fate of the Old Kingdom lies in her hands. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, Lirael must undertake a desperate mission against the growing shadow of an ancient evil. 

This second installment in the Abhorsen series takes place about twenty years after Sabriel. Lirael follows two main characters: Lirael, a daughter of the Clayr and Prince Sameth, son of King Touchstone and his Abhorsen Queen, Sabriel. 

Lirael's story starts when she is just fourteen. She is a supposed daughter of the Clayr although she has yet to be granted the Sight, the power that will enable her to see into the future. She is very insecure and depressed about her lack of power and feels she doesn't belong anywhere. At one point she even contemplates suicide. After a few missteps and a few dangerous adventures as a Third Assistant Librarian, Lirael sets out on an a journey to stop the evil that is threatening the Old Kingdom.

I liked Lirael a lot. I thought her progression from a shy, insecure girl to a strong, confident young woman was natural and believable. Even when she finds out what her true destiny is, she is still afraid and unsure at times but she faces her problems head on and doesn't run away from them.

Prince Sameth is another story. As the Abhorsen-in-Waiting it is to his disadvantage that he is afraid of everything to do with Death. Although, it's not surprising considering when he first went into Death he almost became the slave of an evil necromancer. Sam resists his duties as the Prince and the Abhorsen-in-Waiting. He makes some very bad decisions at first and I couldn't help shaking my head at the poor, naive Prince. However, he does make progress through the story and towards the end grows up a little and is almost admirable. 

Of course, there are reappearances from some of the characters in Sabriel including King Touchstone, Mogget the malevolent cat, and Sabriel herself. 

I loved this book. Lirael reveals more of the mythology and the history of the Old Kingdom. I loved seeing some of my favorite characters from Sabriel as well as getting to know the new characters introduced in this installment. I definitely recommend the Abhorsen series to anyone who likes strong female characters, epic fantasy, and a truly unique magic system. Also, talking animals. 

The book does not really have an ending as such. Instead it sets up for the third book in the series, Abhorsen, which I am currently reading now. So if you read this book, have the next one of the series on stand-by. You're going to want to read it right away.

Here's my Video review of the Abhorsen series.

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