Lirael, by Garth Nix
Series: Abhorsen #2
Published by Harper Collins, 2003 (first published 21st April 2001)
Genres: Fantasy, adventure, magic, young adult
In this second instalment of the Abhorsen series, we return to the magical land of the Old Kingdom and its non-magical neighbour Ancelstierre. All has been calm and peaceful for several years, but the dead are making increasingly frequent incursions into the land of the living. As a result, Sabriel has been remarkably busy and her son, Sameth, the Abhorsen-in-waiting, is feeling a mounting sense of impending responsibility and dread.
Meanwhile, in the glacier fortress of the Clayr, Lirael is waiting impatiently for the gift of the Sight. The Clayr are renowned and respected seers and she longs to join their ranks. As a distraction in the meantime, she occupies herself with learning Charter Magic and exploring the depths of the Clayr’s vast library. Lirael’s destiny may turn out to be quite different from the one she has been longing for but will be vitally interlinked with the destiny of both countries and their inhabitants.
I really enjoyed this second book in this series but, once again, I found it a little hard to get into at first. A lot of time is spent with Lirael, despairing over not having the Sight and being essentially a moody teenager. However, once I got a bit more into the story, I raced through the rest of the book.
Second books can sometimes have a bit of a hard time living up to the first, but this was not the case here. The world-building in this book was on the same great level and I enjoyed learning more about different aspects of the Old Kingdom, in particular the mysterious Clayr.
Once it got going, the pace of the story was helped along by the dual perspectives of Lirael and Sameth. The two storylines unfolding simultaneously and ultimately merging made for a very rich story full of interesting characters.
I finished this one and immediately picked up the third book in the series because I just HAD to know how the story ends!
My rating: 4/5