Who wrote this book and when?
Garth Nix in 2001.
Has there been a film version?
Who are the important characters?
Lirael – a daughter of the future-seeing Clayr but with an unknown father and without the gift of the Sight, she feels completely out of place and desperately wants to belong
Prince Sameth “Sam” – the prince of the Old Kingdom
The Disreputable Dog – a dog of unknown origins, made of both Free and Charter Magic, very powerful and Lirael’s closest friend
Mogget – a cat that isn’t a cat really, but a Free magic creature bound to serve the Abhorsen family
Nicholas Sayre – a friend of Sam’s from Ancelstierre, he loves science and doesn’t believe in magic
Hedge – an evil necromancer in the servitude of a Greater Dead
What’s it about?
Instead of picking up where the last book left off, this book begins with a character outside of our realm of knowledge in the Old Kingdom. Lirael is an orphan living with the Clayr – the Seers. Although her mother was a Clayr, nobody knows who her father is, and inasmuch, Lirael looks completely different from the rest of her clanswomen. While she lives among the Clayr, she hasn’t gained the Sight yet, which is all she desperately wants. And to make things even worse, the Clayr haven’t ever Seen Lirael either.
To console her and help her to stop focusing on what she is missing, Lirael is assigned to work in the Library. She uses the time to enhance her Charter Magician abilities and to learn as much as she can about anything she can. She gains the Disreputable Dog as a friend, and while the Dog seems to be much more than she appears, Lirael considers her the only friend she has. It is through a series of explorations and near brushes with death that Lirael finds her calling – a path no one expected and will take her places no one considered possible.
Along with this story is the tale of Prince Sameth, the Abhorsen in Waiting. After a horrific encounter with an evil necromancer, Sam wants nothing to do with traveling into Death and dealing with the Dead. He grows even more concerned when he learns his scientifically minded friend Nicholas Sayre has traveled across the wall with an unproven guide, to a place where a great evil is awakening. And he is forced to make a decision about his future – should he run from his fear of death and his path or should he force himself to learn the ways of the bells in an attempt to save his friend?
Why is this book a classic/bestseller?
Because it is part of the Old Kingdom series.
Do you recommend I read this book?
Why did this book make your list?
I started with Sabriel a long time ago and naturally followed with the rest of the series because they are so spectacular.
Has it won any awards?
“‘Tonight,’ confirmed the Dog. ‘At the stroke of midnight, when all such adventures should begin, you will enter the Chief Librarian’s room. The sword is on the left, past the wardrobe, which is strangely full of black waistcoats. If all goes well, you will be able to return it before the dawn.'” – p 109
“A year later, or in no time at all, or somewhere in between, Sam was in the saddle, kicking Sprout into a trot and then a canter, all the while feeling his blood washing down his leg like warm water, filling up his boot till it overflowed the rolled-back top.” – p 296
Not that I can think of.
I think this is my favorite book from Old Kingdom series. It covers so much ground, history, and cultures in the North Kingdom. We get to see the Royal Family, the Clayr’s glacier, and much of the area in between – plus, we’re given a much deeper taste of the rich history of the Charter. I enjoy the characters, although Mogget is still my favorite, and I love that not all the characters seem to be stock baddies, or stock apprentices. They are each unique and act in ways which are logical or illogical, depending on their personalities – just as in real life. And although the plotline can sometimes be a little obvious, that doesn’t make it less entertaining or engrossing. The only thing I could complain about is that the ending is a cliff hanger of sorts; but if that’s the only complaint…you know it’s good.