It has been 18 years since Sabriel and Touchstone defeated the Great Undead, Kerrigor and they now reign together, man and wife, as Abhorsen and King of the Old Kingdom. Lirael is a daughter of the Clayr who has yet to be gifted with the 'sight', the means to look into the future and all possible futures, a gift peculiar to the Clayr and without such Lirael feels an outcast, something that her appearance does not help, looking less than Clayr like and often mistaken by travellers as merely another guest.
Prince Sameth, son of Sabriel and King Touchstone has a very grave problem; he is the Abhorsen-in-waiting, yet he is terrified of death. The paths of the characters come together as it becomes clear that there is a new evil sweeping the Old Kingdom that is more terrifying than anything that has come before it and Lirael begins a quest, driven by a vision by the Clayr that will find her on a treacherous path to fulfill her true destiny.
"Lirael hated sharing the mirror, because it made yet another difference more obvious. Most of the Clayr had brown skin that quickly tanned to a deep chestnut out on the glacier slopes, as well as bright blond hair and light eyes. In contrast Lirael stood out like a pallid weed among healthy flowers. Her white skin burnt instead of tanning and she had dark eyes and even darker hair."
Chapter 1: Lirael
This is the sequel to Sabriel, the award winning book from Garth Nix. I have to say that I enjoyed this book far more than it's predecessor, although, without Sabriel doing most of the ground work, this book wouldn't be as free to thunder along at such a roaring pace. There are far more twists and turns in the plot, making Sabriel feel quite linear in comparisson, and there is far more character development in this book allowing you to fully submerse yourself in this world and relate to the characters highs and lows. Quite a wonderful book and one I would definately recommend to any young reader (12+) and adults alike; though you really can't skip the first book and expect this to make any sense (nor should you). There are some wonderful new characters and equally some wonderful old ones that each play their part in this multifaceted tale of death, life and magic. There is a resolution at the end of the book but not a conclusion as it leads straight into the third and final installment of the trilogy 'Abhorsen', which you will want to pick up the instant you reach the final page of Lirael so make sure you've got it to hand!
"That night, as he had done scores of times before, Sam unlocked the cupboard to the left of his workbench and steeled himself to look at The Book of the Dead. It sat on the shelf, shining with it's own ominous green light that overshadowed the soft glow of the Charter lights in the ceiling. He reached out to it, like a hunter trying to pat a wolf in the vain hope it might only be a friendly dog. His fingers touched the solver clasp and the Charter marks laid upon it, but before he could do more, a violent shaking overtook him, and his skin turned as cold as ice. Sam tried to still the shakes and ignore the cold but he couldn't. He snatched back his hand and retreated to the front of the fireplace, where he crouched down in misery and hugged his knees."
Chapter 23: Lirael
Review by Amanda White
2 positive reader review(s) for Lirael
Thomas from Alba
I read this book first when I was about 14 and no matter how many times I came back to it later in life it still had the same qualities to it that made it one of my favourite fantasy books when I was younger. The characters are brilliantly fleshed out and don't draw from stereotypical fantasy archetypes. Instead we are presented with a coming of age tale where our two young protagonists realise that their duty for the greater good must come before their personal fears. The author handles themes of love, loneliness, alienation and duty with a maturity and refreshingly honest hand which makes this a universally enjoyable book. Because of Garth Nix's skills as a writer, anyone regardless of age or sex can take something from this book. Not to mention that it works as pure escapism, Nix crafting a beautiful and rich world that whisks you along on a great adventure. Excellent fantasy for teens, adults, everyone really!
Danielle from Cumbria
This is one of the best sequels, indeed, the best books I've ever read. It was a haunting tale in which Lirael is a wonderful, strong character. Garth Nix has an amazing imagination and he places all his thoughts onto the page with breath-taking skill. Mogget and The Disreputable Dog are my favourite characters (other than Lirael of course). The entire Abhorsen trilogy gets better and better.
9.7/10 from 3 reviews