Monday, February 03, 2014

Books: Abhorsen

By Garth Nix
Copyright 2003
518 pages

This is the third in the Abhorsen trilogy books by this author. I also reviewed Sabriel and Lireal.

My friend Inga, who lives in England, turned me on to this trilogy after we had a discussion about necromancers following the initial showing of The Hobbit.

In this fantasy world, there are two lands - the Old Kingdom and the new one. They are separated by a magical wall, but the wall can be crossed. The Old Kingdom has magic, but the new one has science.

Sabriel is the Abhorsen, which is to say, someone who puts the dead back where they belong after a necromancer brings them back to the world of the living. Lireal, we learned in the book of the same name, is her sister, though neither knew that until late in book two. Lireal is the Abhorsen-in-waiting, meaning she will take over the duties of Sabriel when she dies.

Abhorsen picks up where Lireal left off, and it really is more of a continuation of that story than one in its own right. I suppose one might read this book without having read the other two, but I would think at the least reading Lireal might be in order.

Lireal is with Sam, her nephew, and they are trying to reach Hedge, a very powerful necromancer who has enslaved Sam's friend Nick. Nick is from the new world and is using science to help free a very powerful magical being.

They are helped by two magic creatures, the Disreputable Dog and Moggot, a cat. Both are ancient magic beings themselves.

The story moves along very quickly as Lireal and Sam attempt to save the world from the trapped magical being. I won't give it away in case you want to read this (or better yet the entire trilogy) but I enjoyed this romp very much.

Nix creates a fascinating world that is both believable and incomprehensible. I was reminded a little of Philip Pullman's Golden Compass as I read; there was a tiny bit of what I consider steampunk in the old world, which had technology akin to early 20th century and yet the division between the two lands was great in many ways. Even the weather and the moons were different, so that passing through the wall was like moving through time and space into a parallel universe.

All in all a very good read, and if you like fantasy this is a trilogy you will want to pick up.

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