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Abhorsen (The Abhorsen Trilogy) Hardcover – January 7, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An explosive prologue sets the stage for Nix's riveting continuation of the story begun in Sabriel and Lirael. While newcomers might find the intricate plotting and the rituals of the Charter Magic off-putting at first, Nix rewards their efforts. Returning characters Lirael, former Second Assistant Librarian of the Clayr and now an Abhorsen-in-Waiting (the Abhorsen's "birthright and charge [is] to maintain the borders of Life and Death"), and her nephew, Prince Sameth, along with Disreputable Dog and the mysterious white cat, Mogget, are ensorcelled in the Abhorsen House by a Dead creature, Chlorr of the Mask, who is in league with the evil necromancer Hedge. They break out to try and rescue Sam's old friend, Nicholas Sayre, who has been tricked by Hedge into digging up Orannis, the Destroyer; if Hedge's plan succeeds, the evil now contained by two separate hemispheres will join and annihilate all life. The grotesque imagery of the Death realm provides a haunting note, which Nix offsets by the brightness of the main characters' quest to defeat the Destroyer. At once an allegory regarding war and peace and a testament to friendship, this thought-provoking fantasy also resolves the true identities of the popular Dog and Mogget characters-and suggests that Nix may still have more tricks up his sleeve. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-The long-awaited confrontation between the evil necromancer Hedge and Abhorsen-in-Waiting Lirael and her nephew Sameth finally takes place in this conclusion to Nix's trilogy. Fans were left hanging at the end of Lirael (HarperCollins, 2001) as they learned that Hedge had magically enslaved a horde of the newly dead and Sam's friend Nick to help him dig up Orannis, a powerful Free Magic being who intended to destroy all life in the Kingdom. Long ago, Orannis had been broken in two and buried deep beneath the earth and Nick has discovered a way to join the two pieces to release him. All the characters from the previous books are here, but Lirael and Sam dominate the action. Lirael is destined to travel into death to find out how Orannis was defeated before and to try to find out how to defeat him once again. The experience leaves her scathed but stronger, and she finds her family, heritage, and her place in the world. Readers discover the real identities of the Disreputable Dog and the cat Mogget but Lirael's mother's actions still remain unsatisfactorily explained. Lirael and Sam have gained confidence in themselves and in their abilities in this title. There are also fewer surprises here, but Nix maintains the nonstop action, imaginative magical descriptions, and high level of violence of the previous titles. It is essential to read the series in order. There is a resolution, but the ending hints that this may not be the last story about the Old Kingdom. Fans will be overjoyed.
Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Abhorsen Trilogy (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1 edition (January 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060278250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060278250
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (387 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,211,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Garth Nix has worked as a bookseller, book sales representative, publicist, editor, marketing consultant and literary agent. He also spent five years as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve. A full-time writer since 2001, more than five million copies of his books have been sold around the world and his work has been translated into 40 languages. Garth's books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly (US), The Bookseller(UK), The Australian and The Sunday Times (UK). He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 83 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Garth Nix delves into the dark heart of high fantasy in the Abhorsen Trilogy, three interconnected fantasies about a family of necromancers who lay the dead -- and forces of evil -- to rest. Humour, detailed writing and deep characters, along with a richly-realize world, make this a classic-in-the-making.

"Sabriel" is the story of a teenage girl living happily at a girl's school, while her necromancer father (the Abhorsen) roams around putting the dead to rest. All that changes when a sending brings her father's sword and bells, meaning that he is dead or incapacitated. So Sabriel takes on her father's duties, accompanied by a Free Magic cat and a mysterious young prince, and battles the specter of a horrible evil creature that is reaching out from death to snare her.

"Lirael" takes us to the cold citadel of the Clayr, a race of seers. Young Lirael is depressed because she doesn't have the gift of Sight yet, even though everybody else her age does. But things take a sinister turn when she sets a horrifying, bloodthirsty creature loose, and must work -- with the help of the mysterious Disreputable Dog -- to get rid of it. But what Lirael doesn't know is that the outside world is in danger too, from a sinister new enemy.

"Abhorsen" brings the series to an explosive conclusion. Lirael and her nephew Sameth -- along with "cat" Mogget and the Disreputable Dog -- are in danger from the Dead. What's more, the Destroyer Orannis has escaped from his prison and is being assisted by an evil necromancer and the Dead called Chlorr -- and an unfortunate pal of Sameth's. Now Lirael must call on her destiny as the future Abhorsen, and kill the Destroyer.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on January 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
For those of you who feel that dragons, unicorns, and bards are a bit overdone nowadays, this fantasy trilogy offers up a heroine who binds the dead with a bandolier of bells. The Geography of Death is lovingly delineated, from the prologue where Sabriel is born and dies and is rescued from the First Gate of Death by her father, to the third book in the trilogy, where the new Abhorsen braves Death in the form of a river, a waterfall, pools of black water, strange currents that suck the spirit from the flesh.

Sabriel herself is an English schoolgirl, recently graduated from Wyverley Academy with a "first in English, equal first in Music, third in Mathematics, seventh in Science, second in Fighting Arts and fourth in Etiquette. She had also been a runaway first in Magic..." A visitation from the Dead sends Sabriel on a quest through the magical Old Kingdom, in order to reunite her father's body with his spirit which is trapped within the Fourth Gate of Death. She has to do battle with a really nasty necromancer-Adept, and rescue a prince who is a bit of a figurehead at first but who finally develops into a memorable character in his own right.

Sabriel is both helped and hindered by a very non-cuddly cat named Mogget.

"Lirael" is the middle book this remarkable fantasy series. If I ever die and go to fantasy heaven, I hope it resembles Nix's immense library beneath glacier and mountain, where each door opens into a separate mystery. In the catacombs beneath the library, Lirael discovers how to turn herself into an ice otter or a barking owl, reads "The Book of Remembrance and Forgetting", and duels with the monstrous Stilken.

However, "Lirael" isn't just about Lirael.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Tar-Palantir on January 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Abhorsen starts out with a bang (literally) and only gets better as the story progresses. This book is truly a worthy successor to Sabriel and Lirael.
As readers of Lirael will remember, Nicholas Sayre and Hedge the necromancer are digging for the two silver spheres that bind Orannis, the Destroyer. Releasing Orannis will mean, effectively, the end of the world. So, all Lirael, Prince Sameth, and company must do is stop them.
Of course, that couldn't be any harder, for they face legions of Dead, Chlorr of the Mask, Hedge, and Orannis himself, who was once the strongest of the Nine Bright Shiners.
This volume also finally reveals the true natures of Mogget and the Disreputable Dog, and the gifts of Lirael and Sameth.
The whole book is tremendously exciting, building up to a climactic battle that is one of the best I have ever read, reminiscent of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields from The Lord of the Rings.
Abhorsen is simply an awesome fantasy book. It is one of the few I deem worthy to be kept on the same shelf as The Lord of the Rings. I highly recommend it to all readers who have read the previous volumes.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on January 19, 2003
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
As in "Sabriel" and "Lirael," Death is a riverine chasm from which the dead can be called back to the living by powerful necromancers. Only the Abhorsen (Sabriel) or the Abhorsen-in-waiting (Lirael) can pass from life into the river of Death, through the eight Gates of fog, whirlpools, waterfalls, and shadow, and do magical combat with the necromancers in their own dark realm...
Well, the Disreputable Dog can splash into Death, too and in "Abhorsen" you'll find out who she really is, along with Mogget the bad-tempered cat (who reminds me of some of the grouchier Jack Lemon characters).
"Abhorsen" is a worthy conclusion to Nix's Old Kingdom trilogy. Read "Sabriel" and "Lirael" before undertaking "Abhorsen," so that you can familiarize yourself with the Philosophy and Geography of Death. Nix isn't into summarization or repetition. He plunges his reader right into a whirlpool of death, animated corpses, and Charter magic. If you don't already know such characters as the Disreputable Dog, the necromancer Hedge, or his bone-headed companion, Nick, you might never figure out what's going on.
This book is a direct continuation of "Lirael," with the ex-assistant librarian and her companion, Prince Sameth carrying on the battle against Hedge and the evil he is digging up at Red Lake. Although Prince Sameth was meant to be the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, heir to the powers of 'The Book of the Dead' and the seven bells, Lirael now takes up that role, and Sam seeks his destiny as a descendant of the mysterious Wallmakers, who built the barrier between the magical Old Kingdom and the mundane kingdom of Ancelstierre. The two will need all of the magic they can conjure up against an enemy that threatens not only the Charter, but all living beings.
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