Lirael by Garth Nix

Look! I wrote a full review! And hopefully more will come. I figured I couldn’t depend on review notes since I don’t know WHEN I’ll be getting internet, so I might as well just carry on as best I can until then. They won’t have as fancy a format as I usually do, since I don’t have enough time to search for other reviews and whatnot, but I hope you like them anyway.

Sorry I haven’t been responding to comments, btw! Again, no time. If you ask a question, though, I’ll try to get back to you…soon-ish.

Lirael by Garth NixLirael (Abhorsen #2) by Garth Nix
Published: HarperTeen (2001), eBook, 464pg
Source: Bought
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction

Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Abandoned by her mother, ignorant of her father’s identity, Lirael resembles no one else in her large extended family living in the Clayr’s Glacier. She doesn’t even have the Sight — the ability to see into the present and possible futures — that is the very birthright of the Clayr.

Nonetheless, it is Lirael in whose hands the fate of the Old Kingdom lies. She must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil — one that opposes the Royal Family, blocks the Sight of the Clay; and threatens to break the very boundary between Life and Death itself. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, to help her, Lirael must find the courage to seek her own hidden destiny.

In this sequel to the critically acclaimed Sabriel, Garth Nix draws readers deeper into the magical landscape of the Old Kingdom and weaves a spellbinding tale of discovery, destiny, and danger. (from Amazon)

It took me two tries to get through Lirael, and I blame that on its slower pace. It doesn’t really speed up until a little after halfway through, and while I enjoyed the bits before then, the lack of momentum is a real killer. Luckily this time around I liked Lirael (the character) a lot more than the first time, and so I could push through the slow bits.

Lirael’s an interesting character because’s she so, well…pathetic, really. She’s got no self-confidence, she barely talks to people, and if she wasn’t already surrounded by tons of people I think she’d be living as a hermit in the mountains. I spent most of my time wishing she’d grow a backbone, or SOMETHING. Fortunately she does start to get over her issues by the end of the book, and it’s done in such a well-thought out way that I can’t help but admire Mr Nix’s writing! Plus, it helps that Lirael’s a librarian who goes on adventures. She works in a magical library! And she has a talking dog! It’s almost easy to ignore her massive self-pity if you focus on that stuff (though of course her non-confidence is part of her character, too…it’s complicated).

I’ll admit that I had a hard time with all the different POVs. Lirael’s the main POV for a good chunk of the book, and then it switches to Sameth and Nick and random tertiary characters. The many POV changes kept throwing me off; I don’t mind multiple POVs but the way they were handled here was a little rough.

Also, I think that Lirael reads more like half of one book than a separate book on its own right. Don’t you think? It feels more like “Abhorsen, Part 1” than anything else. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing– I’m inclined to think bad, since it makes the trilogy feel more uneven, but if you stick Lirael and Abhorsen together it works out pretty well. So…I’m not sure. Thoughts?

Overall, I liked Lirael! I don’t think I like it as much as Sabriel, but I still enjoyed reading it.

Read: April ?-26, 2012

1 thought on “Lirael by Garth Nix”

  1. I recently revisited Sabriel, but I wasn’t interested enough to continue with the rest of the series, which I’d read as a kid. I remember Lirael throwing me for a huge loop, because the character considers suicide early on and I had, apparently by form of osmosis (given my lack of a religious upbringing), internalized a very Catholic view of suicide, and had the hardest time trying to reconcile that with the fact that she was the protagonist and I should like her.

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