le 16 février 2011
If LIRAEL lacked in action compared to its predecessor, SABRIEL, ABHORSEN makes up for that by functioning as an extended climax of events from the previous book, focused around the need to find and defeat the necromancer Hedge to stop him from reawakening an old and malevolent power known simply as the Destroyer. The story picks up directly after the end of the previous book, with Lirael, Sameth, Mogget, and the Disreputable Dog in a race against time to stop Sam's school friend, Nicholas Sayre, from going through with his plans to reconnect two large metal hemispheres, which when connected will release the Destroyer. This power, also known as Orannis, was first bound when the Charter was created and is inimical to all forms of life.
ABHORSEN really feels like it ought to have been part of the end of LIRAEL, not only because the latter book is a continuation of the former in terms of plot. It might be possible for a reader to understand LIRAEL having not read SABRIEL, but ABHORSEN does not stand alone in this way. Rather, the characters, plot, and worldbuilding knowledge from the prior book is assumed by the author in this book. This isn't much of a problem, though, because Nix's writing still takes the reader on marvelous adventures. I just wouldn't advise trying to read this trilogy out of order. In fact, even reading this review without knowing the background of the series is probably difficult.
I also felt that some portions of the story moved along too quickly; I would have liked to see a mix of action and introspection, with more character development. However, in comparison to LIRAEL, whose action took place over a period of four years, the major events in ABHORSEN take place over less than a month of time. I recommend reading ABHORSEN directly after finishing LIRAEL for maximum effectiveness.
My biggest problem with this book was that it ended! While the primary concerns of the trilogy were nicely concluded, there were many new storylines and new questions posed that might have been nonessential, but that I still wanted answered--mostly because I don't think Nix is done with these characters, and I want to see more of them! I've got my fingers crossed that Nix will decide to write more short stories in this universe (the short story collection ACROSS THE WALL contains one story set in Ancelstierre), if not more novels. I'd be willing to read anything he'll write!
Reviewed by: Candace Cunard