Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr (The Abhorsen Trilogy)

Lirael - Garth Nix I can easily say that I am completely in love with this series. They are literally everything I have been looking for in a YA series. My only regret is that I never read these when I was younger (I was constantly picking them up at the library, but I never actually read them). Lirael is the sequel to Sabriel (if only i had known that when i was younger, I'm pretty sure Lirael was the one that was always at the library and I could never figure out where it fit in the trilogy). And is set about eighteen or so years after Sabriel. It follows mainly Lirael, but also Sameth, Sabriel and Touchstone's son and the Abhorsen-in-Waiting. I admit that I was a bit disappointed when I realised that this book was switching main characters. I'm not a huge fan of that happening, especially when the first main character was someone as amazing as Sabriel. I adore Sabriel and would have liked more books about her. However, Lirael is also an amazing protagonist. She's a social outcast, alienated, and very different from her Clayr cousins. In a way she's a little bit like Sabriel in some personality traits, but Lirael struggles with her fate more than Sabriel did. Lirael doesn't really take charge like Sabriel did. That said, I adore how Garth Nix approaches his female protagonists. They're strong women who have incredible roles in their worlds. Mostly, I adore that there is basically no romance. I mean, these books have necromancy, amazing female protagonists, and no romance. Obviously, they are the perfect books. In Sabriel the romance was incredibly subtle to the point of near nonexsistance. In this one, there is literally no romance. Yes, good. Excellent for a YA book in my opinion. Dear, YA, let's all admire this book for being able to tell a compelling story without having the female protagonist hanging on some guy the entire time. In fact, when Lirael and Sameth do meet, there is zero chance of any of that nonsense, as they have to save the world you know. Also, the world building and magic system. I am so in love with the magic system in these books. Charter marks and Free magic and necromancy done perfectly. It's such a brilliant system. It's simple enough to not need a great deal of explanation, but elegant. Also, the fact that the entire series is based on necromancers just makes my heart so happy. The duel worlds, The Old Kingdom and Ancelstierre are something else that are just amazing. I love that Ancelstierre is fairly modern (it gives me a pre-WWI feelings to be honest, though I'm not sure where it would really fall in a more 'real world' timeline), and The Old Kingdom is magical and fairly medieval. Usually, talking animals are something that I kind of am not fond of. So, when the Disreputable Dog turned out to be basically the only thing that Lirael talked to, i was a bit unsure of how I would feel about that. However, the only talking animals in this series are usually Free Magic creatures and something about that just makes it simply ok. They're not animals just talking for the sake of talking animals. Also, the Disreputable Dog is adorable and I really hope we find out what she actually is, because I'm ridiculously curious. I also appreciate the pacing in these books. Which, I think weirdly enough is what puts a lot of people off them (that is to say, if they're not put off by the necromancy.) They are not action driven, necessarily, and are usually paced in a way that does seem a bit slow. I liked the slow pacing though because it gives the reader a chance to better get a feel for the world and the magic. We aren't being rushed and pushed through the world really quickly with a lot of action to make up for it. We get to savour the world as it's unfolding. In Sabriel it was in the travelling itself, in Lirael it's more with the unfolding of the Clayr and the glacier that they live in. I also really loved the duel protagonists in this book. Though Sameth kind of annoyed me at times, I really liked his chapters (possibly because we got a bit of Sabriel, his mother, through his chapters). I liked how even though Sameth and Lirael were totally different and in totally different situations, they're feelings and emotions practically mirrored each others. I'm just really ecstatic about this series as a whole. I can't wait to read Abhorsen (as this one ends, not on a cliff hanger, but the problem at hand is not resolved). Also, I read that Nix is currently working on an Old Kingdom prequel. So, that's fantastic and I can't wait for that.