Abhorsen, by Garth Nix
Series: Abhorsen #3
Published by Harper Collins, 2004 (first published January 2003)
Genres: Fantasy, adventure, magic, young adult
In this thrilling series finale, Lirael and Sameth are faced with ever more dangerous obstacles. The ultimate evil, The Destroyer, which had been bound and buried for centuries has been unearthed and prepares to unleash all manner of hell on both the Old Kingdom and Ancelstierre. Young and inexperienced as they are, Lirael and Sameth must journey far, both in Life and in Death, to try to defeat this terrible foe. The fate of the world as they know it depends on their success.
As conclusions go, this one was really gripping. I read it straight after the second instalment (follow these links for my posts on the two previous books: Sabriel & Lirael) and I could not put it down.
Lirael really comes into her own in this final book. She takes up her rightful place as the Abhorsen-in-waiting, discovers more about her history and her family, and is incredibly strong and brave in the face of terrible evil. Whereas Sabriel before her was a reluctant heroine, feeling ill at ease with the responsibilities of her Abhorsen destiny, to Lirael it feels natural. She obviously struggles, as would any novice, but she seems destined to fulfil the role and does not shy away from that.
The culmination of Lirael’s adventures with Sameth is very dramatic and brings together many characters from the previous books. I enjoyed the tension and suspense throughout this book, as the reader waits to find out if they will be successful.
Overall, I loved this series and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy. Even though it is described as a young adult series, I don’t think that should put off any more mature readers. It is an incredibly well-constructed world and the characters are strong and well developed. As Philip Pullman said of Sabriel, “a fantasy that reads like realism”.
My rating: 4/5