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Lirael (The Old Kingdom Book 2) by [Nix, Garth]
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Lirael (The Old Kingdom Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 409 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Fourteen years have passed since the necromancer Sabriel bound the Greater Dead Adept Kerrigor beyond the Ninth Gate and helped restore King Touchstone to the Old Kingdom throne. Now she rules at his side as Abhorsen, the sole necromancer of the Old Kingdom, keeping the people safe from the dark power of Free Magic. But this is not just Sabriel's tale. It is also the story of Hedge, a mysterious necromancer who is digging up a monstrous evil that could utterly destroy the Old Kingdom. And it is the story of Prince Sameth, Touchstone and Sabriel's only son, who would rather fight an entire army of Dead than disappoint his beloved parents. And Sam's friend Nick, who has unknowingly loosed Free Magic into the Old Kingdom, blissfully ignorant of its complete malevolence. But mostly, this is the tale of Lirael, the only daughter of the future-seeing Clayr who does not possess the Sight. Burying the pain of her Sightlessness in the Clayr's great library, Third Assistant Librarian Lirael's insatiable curiosity will soon lead her to an unbelievable destiny that may even be connected with that of the great Sabriel herself.

Garth Nix's stunning sequel to Sabriel, full of Mages, Moggets, and even a Disreputable Dog, is on par with the equally superb works of Philip Pullman and William Nicholson. And fantasy lovers of all ages will be thrilled to discover that Lirael ends with more questions than answers, which will mean a third dip into Nix's beguiling Charter Magic. Both exhilarating and mesmerizing, this fine novel is pure enchantment. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert

From Publishers Weekly

In Nix's sequel to Sabriel, readers return to the entrancing and complicated Old Kingdom: a world of necromancy, seers, dangerous monsters and talking animals (the cat Mogget is back). The relationships between the Kingdom's various realms and the magic may take some unraveling for readers new to the series, but the heroine's plight will be instantly compelling. Lirael is the only one of a community of clairvoyant women not to be gifted with "the Sight," and the mystery of her parentage contributes to her alienation. Just after her 14th birthday, Lirael releases a Stilken (half-woman, half-crustacean) from a glass-covered coffin. Her act leads to a meeting with a healer (Lirael's great-great-grandmother) who fortifies her and urges her to take as her only friend the impertinent "Disreputable Dog," a creature of suspicious magical origin whose true nature remains unknown. The overall plot may follow the expected course an evil magician threatens the well-being of the Old Kingdom and Lirael finds her destiny linked with that of handsome, nervous Prince Sameth (son of Sabriel) but startling subplots abound and keep the pages turning. The book ends on a cliffhanger, and Nix leaves nearly every major question unanswered. The evil is still at large, the Disreputable Dog still unexplained and Lirael's mother's desertion of her unresolved. Readers hoping for a satisfying ending will have to wait for the third in the series, to be titled Abhorsen, and tentatively scheduled for fall 2002. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1668 KB
  • Print Length: 720 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0060590165
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; Revised edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Publication Date: October 6, 2009
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC12L4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,735 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
Garth Nix changed the face of dark fantasy (usually just horror with a prettier cover) with his instant hit "Sabriel." It provided fans with a unique type of magic, a well-crafted alternate world, and talking animals that were anything but cute. Without missing a step, "Lirael" follows in "Sabriel"'s footsteps, with the same dark blend of humor and horror.

Lirael is a daughter of the Clayr, but she won't be a full Clayr until she gains the Sight. On her fourteenth birthday, she is the oldest girl to not yet have gained the Sight. After contemplating suicide, Lirael is assigned to work in the library, and inadvertantly sets loose a hideous Free Magic creature: a Stilken that will call other Free Magic creatures and destroy the Clayr. Desperate to deal with her mistake, Lirael calls up the Disreputable Dog (somehow made both of Free and Charter Magic) and soon ends up finding out more about her past -- and her future.

Elsewhere, Sabriel's son Sameth is pursued by the Dead, and is almost killed in the process; the only thing he gets for his trouble is a threat from a mysterious necromancer. Sam is supposed to be the future Abhorsen, but the problem is that he's petrified by the things his mother handles easily. And he's helped loose Free Magic on a world increasingly torn by a mysterious masked necromancer...

Nix takes the rich world he created in "Sabriel" and makes it even richer. It's a bit like a melding of typical high fantasy with an early twentieth-century setting (phones, buses, cricket matches, electricity, guns). Old faves like Sabriel, Touchstone, and Mogget appear here (although Mogget's appearance is a bit brief), along with new and equally likable characters.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Lirael" is neither the beginning nor the end (thank goodness) of this remarkable fantasy series by Garth Nix. If you haven't already read "Sabriel", you might want to put "Lirael" aside and begin at the beginning. The middle book could stand alone, especially the story of Lirael herself, but you will miss nuances of the Philosophy and Geography of Death if you don't start with "Sabriel". The only work I can compare this series to is Philip Pullman's "Golden Compass" trilogy, although I prefer Nix's magical world-building. If I ever die and go to fantasy heaven, I hope it resembles his 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. Prince Sameth, heir apparent to Sabriel as the Old Kingdom's champion against evil necromancers, also comes of age in this volume. There are plenty of evil necromancers to go around. In fact, at the end of this book, it appears as though they are winning the war to turn the Old Kingdom into a kingdom of the dead.
One fault should be noted. The two main characters spend too much text feeling sorry for themselves. Lirael pursues an impossible dream, while Prince Sameth tries to escape from an impossible nightmare. I think the author's editor must have read "Sabriel" and said, "Garth, this is a great fantasy but your heroine, Sabriel is pretty darn self-sufficient. Readers can't relate to that. You need to make your characters more vulnerable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Lirael" is neither the beginning nor the end (thank goodness) of this remarkable fantasy series by Garth Nix. If you haven't already read "Sabriel", you might want to put "Lirael" aside and begin at the beginning. The middle book could stand alone, especially the story of Lirael herself, but you will miss nuances of the Philosophy and Geography of Death if you don't start with "Sabriel". The only work I can compare this series to is Philip Pullman's "Golden Compass" trilogy, although I prefer Nix's magical world-building. If I ever die and go to fantasy heaven, I hope it resembles his 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. Prince Sameth, heir apparent to Sabriel as the Old Kingdom's champion against evil necromancers, also comes of age in this volume. There are plenty of evil necromancers to go around. In fact, at the end of this book, it appears as though they are winning the war to turn the Old Kingdom into a kingdom of the dead.

One fault should be noted. The two main characters spend too much text feeling sorry for themselves. Lirael pursues an impossible dream, while Prince Sameth tries to escape from an impossible nightmare. I think the author's editor must have read "Sabriel" and said, "Garth, this is a great fantasy but your heroine, Sabriel is pretty darn self-sufficient. Readers can't relate to that. You need to make your characters more vulnerable." So that's exactly what Nix did in Volume Two.
Read more ›
Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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