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.
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