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-Garth Nix's trilogy comes to a dramatic and apocalyptic close, with all the clever plot twists and inventive voicings by Tim Curry that made Sabriel and Lirael (both 2002) award winners. In this segment, both Sabriel and Lirael, the latter now elevated to the powerful rank of Abhorsen (a kind of magician) in Nix's parallel world, have important roles-but so do Sabriel's son Sam, Mog the cat, and a ubiquitous and charming creature known affectionately as the "disreputable dog." Nix's imagined world seems to be situated near the time of our own turn from 19th to 20th century, the perfect backdrop for a classic theme, played out refreshingly within this story: the perils and the promises of technology. Magic, the antithesis of human ingenuity, flows both for the good and against it. The forces of evil are able to swell the ranks of their army through the recycling of dead folks into almost-invulnerable foot soldiers. Besides death and the good vs evil struggle, another folk motif brought into focus here is that of friendship: Sam's lifelong friend, Nicholas, literally must lay down his life in the course of the action. Abhorsen is an excellent denouement for a fantasy that is both literary and popularly accessible. Out loud, the powers of this future classic are intensified, especially through Curry's inspired dramatization.Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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