When you decide to read this book make sure you have fast access to the third book because Lirael ends with a cliff hanger in the middle of everything. Thankfully I bought the box set so I finished this one and started onto the final book on the same day.
Eighteen years after the events of Sabriel, Lirael feels like an outcast as the only daughter of the Clayr who hasn’t gained the Site, the power to experience dream-like visions into the future. After receiving the task of assistant librarian she finds distraction and purpose as she explores the many rooms of the ancient library. But evil is beginning to resurface throughout the Old Kingdom, and Lirael’s occupation in the library may be more than good fortune, but the door to fate that will prepare her for the task that lies ahead. With only the Disreputable Dog as her companion, she will have to leave the only home she has ever known to embrace the destiny that has been prepared for her.
Sameth, the son of legendary Abhorsen Sabriel and King Touchstone, and reluctant Abhorsen-in-waiting, leaves the capital city of Belisaere to rescue a friend who has been deceived by an ancient evil for a dark purpose. Along the way Lirael and Sameth’s paths will join, fates will be revealed, and their lives will become intertwined as they must rely on each others’ strength to face what is coming.
There were some parts of this book (mostly the section from Sameth’s perspective) which were incredibly frustrating, however I don’t say this to be criticizing. As much as we might think we do, I don’t know anyone who wants to read a book where the character doesn’t do anything stupid or frustrating and makes all the right choices. I don’t because this type of person doesn’t exist. Even the famous literary genius Sherlock Holmes makes decisions and does things which make the audience cringe. Sameth’s terrible decisions drove me crazy, but this is a positive thing; it means the characters are relatable and well constructed.
As one who has had minor depression and been close to others with more severe symptoms I was impressed with how well Garth Nix was able to portray this mental illnesss in some of his characters. It wasn’t sadness or a cry for help as I sometimes find in books attempting to create similar traits. It induced the same feelings as those I have when trying to help someone depressed. This surprised me several times while I was reading and my annoyance was instantly changed to admiration when the accuracy of the behavior was revealed. This is an author who understands young adult behavior and mentality exceedingly well and this trilogy has reminded me of Nix’s highly creative mind and natural flair for storytelling.