As you probably know by this point, I have an unfair but well-developed prejudice against YA books by male authors. But for whatever reason, Garth Nix and his Abhorsen trilogy have been proving surprisingly good. I personally attribute it to the fact that he’s Australian, and apparently my love for Australian authors outweighs my dislike of male authors.
Anyway, “Lirael” picks up 14 and then 18 years after “Sabriel,” the first book, ends. Though Sabriel and Touchstone make a brief appearance in this book, the main characters are Lirael, a daughter of the Clayr, and Sam, prince of the Old Kingdom and Abhorsen-in-Waiting. The Disreputable Dog, who’s all kinds of awesome, is also introduced, and Mogget (who still pretty much remains my favorite character in the series) makes a comeback.
Lirael and Sam ended up surprising me a bit as characters. At first I wasn’t that fond of Lirael, but after the opening chapters, she quickly grew on me. Sam was the opposite. I liked him quite a bit in the initial chapters, but I grew increasingly less impressed with him as the story progressed. Though to be fair, based on what happens at the end of this book, I feel like in the third book, Sam will probably grow on me again. I don’t think I like the character of Lirael quite as much as I liked Sabriel, but there is still plenty of potential for her in the next book.
Plot-wise, this book felt mostly like setup for the third book. Which is not to say it was boring, because it actually was fairly well paced. But nevertheless, by the end, I felt that though I’d learned a lot about Sabriel and Sam, it was obvious that the major parts of the plot were going to happen in the third book.
Overall, a good second book, if a little heavy on setting up for the next book. Actually, now that I think about it, I think this book comes off more as the first half of a book rather than as a standalone book, if that makes sense. Like, there’s no point in reading this book if you’re not going to read the third. Which I’m definitely going to do, because I kinda need to know what’s going to happen.
Rating: 3.5 / 5