Finding a favorite book is like forming a strong friendship. You read the book, fall in love with it, buy it, sometimes in the opposite order, and pull it off the shelf to read it again and again until the pages start to fall apart and you glue it back together or replace it. Now that I’ve finished the final book of the series I can see myself doing exactly that: reading it again to my wife, to my future children, and by myself. I’ve just finished this series and I’m fairly certain I could read them again already, but there are other books I want to read and a little time can make any book better.
In this final installment of the trilogy the ancient evil is putting the final touches of his plan into motion so that his freedom can be secured. If he succeeds, the world will be reduced to ash where nothing but the dead will walk. When King Touchstone and Sabriel go missing, Lirael and Sameth are all that stand between the Destroyer and the end of the world. As Lirael shoulders her newfound responsibilities, and with nothing more than a vision from the Clayr to guide her, she will have to travel across both kingdoms and into the depths of death to learn the secret to defeating this enemy; a secret with a heavy price that may be more than she can give.
When it comes to critiquing this book, there isn’t much left for me to say. Granted there wasn’t much to begin with, but in discussing both of the previous books I have already examined much of Nix’s style and ability. What I haven’t had much time to examine and discuss is his ability to end the story. Like every great story teller Nix knows that what he is writing is not by any means the beginning or the end of anything. It starts from the middle and ends in the same way, with time passing before and after what he chooses to share. This does two important things; first, it allows him to retain as much freedom as he desires to continue writing within that series, and second, it allows the reader to imagine for themselves what the future will hold for these characters.
There are many parts to this series which I found enjoyable and well written, but my favorite aspect of his writing was his capacity to get into the minds of his characters. I have discussed this briefly in one of my previous entries for this trilogy, but it deserves greater emphasis. His ability to understand human emotion within an individual provided a deeper look into characters which in turn expanded the significance of the plot. Without it we wouldn’t have known the depth of Lirael’s inner turmoil and her accomplishments throughout her journey would have had a significantly lesser impact. The same goes for Sameth and his struggles in accepting the responsibilities that are forced upon him. All that being said, this is a great rite of passage tale for both boys and girls. The struggles were situationally accurate and age appropriate so as to create a stronger bond between book and reader, and an enjoyable experience to learn what it means to grow into responsibility.