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Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Now, two years past the time when she should have received the Sight that is the Clayr's birthright, she feels alone, abandoned, unsure of who she is. Nevertheless, the fate of the Old Kingdom lies in her hands. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, Lirael must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil.

In this sequel to Sabriel, winner of the Aurealis Award for Excellence in Australian Science Fiction, New York Times best-selling author Garth Nix weaves a spellbinding tale of discovery, destiny, and danger.

464 pages, Paperback

First published April 21, 2001

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About the author

Garth Nix

223 books13.4k followers
Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia, to the sound of the Salvation Army band outside playing 'Hail the Conquering Hero Comes' or possibly 'Roll Out the Barrel'. Garth left Melbourne at an early age for Canberra (the federal capital) and stayed there till he was nineteen, when he left to drive around the UK in a beat-up Austin with a boot full of books and a Silver-Reed typewriter.

Despite a wheel literally falling off the Austin, Garth survived to return to Australia and study at the University of Canberra. After finishing his degree in 1986 he worked in a bookshop, then as a book publicist, a publisher's sales representative, and editor. Along the way he was also a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve, serving in an Assault Pioneer platoon for four years. Garth left publishing to work as a public relations and marketing consultant from 1994-1997, till he became a full-time writer in 1998. He did that for a year before joining Curtis Brown Australia as a part-time literary agent in 1999. In January 2002 Garth went back to dedicated writer again, despite his belief that full-time writing explains the strange behaviour of many authors.

He now lives in Sydney with his wife, two sons and lots of books.

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5 stars
56,537 (49%)
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,593 reviews
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
683 reviews1,050 followers
January 6, 2018
“When the Dead do walk, seek water’s run,
for this the Dead will always shun.
Swift river’s best or broadest lake
to ward the Dead and haven make.
If water fails thee, fire’s thy friend;
if neither guards, it will be thy end.”

Well this was freaking awesome!

As a sequel where the main character from Book 1 isn’t the main focus - I was a bit worried; but there was no need because Lirael continued the story of the Old Kingdom and the dead fantastically!

“The blue hats shaded silver sightless eye sockets, the blue scarves held together rotting heads.”

Lirael is part of the Clayr - those who can see into the future. But Lirael has never received the Sight. As she gets older and the Sight still doesn’t appear, her self worth becomes non existent and she retreats into herself.

“lunging forward and nipping her quite sharply on the leg...”what did you do that for?”
“You were being pathetic,” said the Dog.”

Lirael is so relatable! Hiding out in the library to avoid speaking to anyone, her isolation from the Clayr is palpable and you really feel for her.

“I’m not sure I can believe what I’m seeing.” “You’d better believe it...because they’ll kill you whether you believe in them or not.”

Meanwhile, Prince Sameth - the son of Sabriel and King Touchstone is due to take on his role as the Abhorsen in Waiting to eventually take over from his mother. But he is terrified - after a hairy situation facing a Necromancer in Death, Sam can think of nothing worse than a life fighting the creatures of the dead.

“You may not See, but you will Remember. And in the Remembering, you will see the hidden past that holds the secrets of the future,”

Lirael is eventually sent on a mission by the Clayr and meets Sam while he is on the run. This leads to many adventures and some serious twists at the end! The writing is witty, action packed and magical!

Overall a non stop thrill ride and I can’t wait to read the next one!

“I suppose we’ll end up having to swim for our miserable lives.”
Profile Image for ✨faith✨trust✨pixiedust✨.
386 reviews332 followers
January 31, 2019
I was listening to the last few chapters on audiobook (bless Tim Curry and his downright villainous voice) and had my eyes closed, and when that epilogue reveal happened, my eyes shot open like I was a Dead thing come back to consciousness.

The first 100 or so pages of this didn't entirely hook me, as we had a new protagonist and not a whole lot happened. But once it really got going, I was very invested. Lirael and Sameth were fantastic protagonists and I loved them both so much. Garth Nix is phenomenal at writing characters that act their age without being annoying or cliche. Even Sabriel and Prince Pinocchio aka Touchstone were recognizably the same people, despite so many years having passed since the first book.

The animal sidekicks in this once again utterly stole the show. As usual, Mogget was A+, but the Disreputable Dog was new and just as awesome. And their dynamic was golden. I absolutely adored everything about it.

The world in this never ceases to amaze me. It has that classic fantasy feel, with talking animal familiars and children's rhymes containing vital plot details. It has something that is all too lacking in current YA fantasy, which is bogged down by all the assassins and love interests and ~witty sarcasm~ This is simple and atmospheric, with relatable but brave characters and a beautifully realized world. I want more of this in my fantasy.

My one big gripe is that I am extremely confused about the nature of the rest of the world, outside of the Old Kingdom, like in Ancelstierre. There are numerous references to things that exist in our world, and not just simple things like specific sports, but complex stuff like Puss in Boots that have a lot to do with history. Is it to be assumed that Giovanni Francesco Straparola was also a guy in this universe?

Read this review and more on my blog here!
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,012 reviews1,405 followers
April 25, 2020
Actual rating 4.5/5 stars. This is the second instalment in the Abhorsen series.

Whilst Sabriel wrapped up in a satisfactory manner, I still was left with many questions and so was a little disappointed , initially, to find that Lirael takes place fourteen years after the events depicted in book one. This disappointment was short lived as I was introduced to the immediately lovable Lirael, daughter of the Clayr but without their infamous sight for future events. She is disheartened at her lack of skill and so throws her energy into her new role as librarian and in honing her skill with charter magic. She proves adept at both, but not with staying out of trouble or venturing into areas she shouldn't be. This proves fortunate, as she happens across an ancient prophecy bearing her name and so begins her adventures that will lead her away from the Clayr's glacier home and any future she had envisioned for herself.

The other perspective belonged to Prince Sam. He was alike to Lirael in that he did not seem to hold the necessary skills for his perceived future station. He differed in that he was willing to do nothing about it but bemoan his fate. I struggled to connect with his character on the same level as Lirael's but I did enjoy the adventures he also went on, and seeing them intertwine with Lirael's.

This book was made complete by the return of Mogget, the free magic being forced into cat-shaped snarky servitude, and the new addition of The Disreputable Dog, a currently dog-shaped being from before the charter was made. He is far more willing to aid his current companions but has a far more murkier past. I am looking forward to puzzling out these secrets in the coming series instalments!

Despite this entire book leading to a future adventure and solving none of the current mysteries or overcoming any of the enemies lurking close at hand, this did not suffer from any sort of middle-book-syndrome. The plot was fast-moving, even more so than in book one where the skills of charter magic and necromancy were introduced, and largely unguessable in trajectory. I foresee book three, Abohrsen, to wrap up these dilemmas and the series to be nothing but action, from here on out.
Profile Image for Echo.
729 reviews43 followers
September 13, 2013
It took me a while to get around to reading this book, even though I rushed out and bought it immediately after finishing Sabriel. The up side to that is in the meantime, I'd bought Abhorsen as well. That's important. Sabriel was a good stand-alone novel. Lirael and Abhorsen are not. In fact, I'd recommend that before you read Lirael 1) you read Sabriel first and 2) you have a copy of Abhorsen ready to pick up as soon as you finish Lirael. Lirael ends in the middle of something, and the two probably could have been combined into one very long novel.
Still, I recommend the whole series. The characters may not be quite as awesome as Sabriel, but they're still very well-done and the story is wonderful. I'll definitely seek out more of Garth Nix's books after I finish this series.
Profile Image for TS Chan.
694 reviews860 followers
February 25, 2018
While the Abhorsen series continues to thrive on its magic and worldbuilding, the characterisation in Lirael is unfortunately not up to par with its predecessor, Sabriel.

It does appear that Sabriel is written almost like a stand-alone, as this sequel takes place almost one and a half decade after the events in the first book with two new main characters; Lirael, a daughter of the Clayr and Prince Sameth, the son of Sabriel and Touchstone.

Both characters demonstrate the typical angst and insecurity of teenagers; one who bemoans the absence of a power that is the birthright of her race and the other who decries the responsibility thrust upon him because of his birthright and powers. If I have to choose, I will say Lirael is definitely the more aggravating one. While the other Clayrs of ages younger than Lirael started gaining the power of Seeing, she remained an outcast as she continues to well into her teenage years without even a hint of it. However, it turns out that she is very adept at Charter magic and has the ability learn quickly and perform marvellous feats which most others cannot. BUT just because she cannot See, her anxiety that she will never fully be one of the Clayrs grates on her self-confidence and my patience. The appearance of the Disreputable Dog - a creature of magic - was a welcome change to Lirael's story. Not accepting her constant self-belittling, the Dog prods her into action that finally takes the direction of her tale towards an intriguing revelation of her potential heritage. Prince Sameth (or Sam) may be slightly less annoying but I do feel like giving him a good shake for both his actions and inaction in addressing his debilitating fear of his legacy.

The Disreputable Dog

The highlight of this series so far truly lies in the magic and worldbuilding. We learn more of the Clayr, a race who appeared briefly in Sabriel, and the birth of the Charter, created out of Free Magic. The seven bells used for necromancy and controlling both the living and the dead, which are tied to the creation of the Charter, are just simply fascinating. So is the portrayal of Death, which is a river, grey and cold, with currents pulling the dead through the Gates, nine in all before a soul goes beyond any necromancer's ability to be summoned back.

The story also started to become more interesting when Lirael and Sam eventually encountered each other under grave circumstances. This also meant that the Disreputable Dog met Mogget, the cat, who is now accompanying Sam after he stole away from the palace under the guise of an ordinary traveller. It was pretty obvious from the start that both these creatures of magic had a history together, and not an entirely pleasant one. A delightful turn of events, one might say.

The common thread that brought Lirael and Sam together is the potential re-emergence of an extremely dangerous and powerful entity engineered by a necromancer of considerable strength. As we find both our main characters getting to terms with each of their own true legacy, the enemy is moving ever closer to his goal. This volume concluded on an unresolved note, with Lirael and Sam both contending with the grim prospect of having to face this new adversary, setting up the stage for the next book, Abhorsen.

This review can also be found at Booknest
Profile Image for Chris  Haught.
570 reviews212 followers
October 27, 2015
When I glance at the reviews for this book, I'm actually surprised. Not that people would like this book, but that everyone would like it. I thought for sure there would be more of a split on it.

I mean, the writing is good. Nix can put together sentences and his plot is soundly articulated. His Old Kingdom is a vast and impressive construct, and his imagination is superb. There were even a couple really good scenes in here.

I just...I don't know. I couldn't wait for it to end. I hated the characters. As much as I love Tim Curry as a narrator, even he couldn't save this audiobook. Lirael was annoying, and her dog was worse. Sam started out alright, but I came to loathe him more than Lirael herself by the end. Mogget the cat was pretty good, nearly as enjoyable as he had been in the first book.

The first book, which I had liked. What happened here? Ahhh, don't know. Maybe it's suffering from middle book syndrome. Maybe the plot wasn't strong enough to keep my interest with a cast of such lame characters.

Let's talk about the characters.

I would not piss on Lirael, Sameth, or the Disreputable Dog if they were on fire.

I so much wanted to reach into that story and rip Mogget's collar off, and let him go totally batshit nuts on those three.

I didn't even like Hedge. I thought I would, but no. Fail. An Uninteresting Villain, that one. I found myself yawning nearly as much as Mogget (maybe that's why I like him).

And what's with that ending?

Nothing was resolved, as of course I should expect from a middle book full of moronic characters.

Well, I did kinda like Nicholas Sayre.
Maybe the Moronic Protagonists and the Disreputable Dumbass can get him out of the carbonite before Jabba the Hedge eats him.

And WTF, zombies? This thing dragged on for so long that I actually forgot there were zombies. So when they attacked, I was like !

Hell yeah!

But it didn't last long. Pretty soon we were back in the boat with our Disreputable Zeros.

I am curious to see where this series will go from here. Maybe it needs some Ewoks.

ETA: There was one thing in particular that soured me on this book. A scene about 65% into the book that really kicked ass. I mean, it was dark as hell, and a real surprise. A kick in the nuts for the reader, and a main character.

But then in the next chapter, slate wiped clean - nullified all consequences to what had happened. I mean, eh? A really badass gut wrenching type moment where shit got real, and they roll that kind of a saving throw?

The fucker didn't even feel remorse, since it was wiped out. I mean. This was Turn to the Dark Side Forever type shit, and slate clean. It didn't happen, so he can go back to whining like a bitch because he's afraid to read a damn book.

Ok, I'm seething again. I'll move on now.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56k followers
June 9, 2018
Lirael, daughter of the Clayr (Abhorsen, #2), Garth Nix
Lirael (called Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr in some regions) is a fantasy novel by Garth Nix and illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon, first published in 2001. Named for its central female character, Lirael is the second in his Old Kingdom trilogy, preceded by Sabriel and continued in Abhorsen.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و دوم ماه سپتامبر سال 2009 میلادی
عنوان: لیرایل - سه گانه پادشاهی کهن کتاب دوم در دو جلد؛ نویسنده: گارت نیکس؛ مترجم: پریا آریا (پریا تجلی پور)؛ تهران، وسعت : زهره : ایران سخن، 1386، در 578 ص، نقشه، شابک: 9786009012350؛
مترجم: پیمان اسماعیلیان؛ تهران، قدیانی، 1393، در 759 ص؛ شابک: 9789645369741؛
داستان درباره ی دختری به نام «لیرایل» است که در کوهستان پیشگویان زندگی میکند، ولی بصیرت پیشگویی اش هنوز بیدار نشده، و این او را از دوستانش متمایز میکند، و باعث سرافکندگی او میشود، تا اینکه او با دردسرهایی که برای خودش درست میکند، با یک موجود عنصری در سن پهارده سالگی رودررو میشود و باید با او مبارزه کند، اگر این موجود از زندانی که لیرایل او را در آن انداخته و بزودی خودش را از آن آزاد میکند، فرار کند، میتواند بسیاری از دختران بیگناه قصر پیشگویان و شاید همه ی آنها را بکشد، پس تنها راه این است که لیرایل با او مبارزه کند و بمیرد یا اورا بکشد!...؛ ل. شربیانی
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,805 followers
August 11, 2016
Well.....okay. Not as good a book as Sabriel, I went with 3 stars on this one. It was close as the story is a pretty good one and we are still following the plot line thrown out in Sabriel, just not quite as well (in my opinion of course).

We pick up about 14 years after end of that volume and we sort of get an introduction like, 14 years have passed. there have been many battles as the King (Touchstone) who married Sabriel (the Abhorsen) overthrows evil, saves the Kingdom and aids the people. At the same time the Abhorsen has faced many terrible dangers, binding the dead and destroying awful necromancers.

Really. That might have made a good book. Why didn't you tell us that story???? No we get to start over with another uncertain (even more uncertain) young woman. She constantly bemoans her situation, considers killing herself (but decides that throwing herself off a glacier might not really be the way to go), makes constant bad decisions that seem to work out for her and so on and on and on. And of course a young man who's managed to get himself so scared of his "expected future" that he's paralyzed at the very thought of it...and he won't go to the very people/person who might be able to help him with it.

I'll be honest, I got sick of Lirael's constant woe is me I don't have the sight... Yes it would be awful to go through what she did, to face what she faced. But between her constant bemoaning of her fate and Sam's refusal to talk to his parent's when he had the chance (I'll wait till morning...oops they're already gone) about something that could threaten EVERYBODY... well, it got a bit tiring.

This book may be (and I hope is as I'm beginning the third book Abhorsen) suffering from the well know "second book in a trilogy" syndrome. It's a bit long winded, a bit drawn out and a bit (for me) tiresome. I like good YA fantasy and the first in this series was certainly that. This for me told a pretty good story but could have done it better in maybe two thirds the length...just me possibly.

Three stars, not bad, a fairly interesting story that tells us more of the world and it's people, hope the next strikes me better.

************* Spoiler below line *************************

Profile Image for Mayim de Vries.
577 reviews805 followers
February 26, 2018
Sabriel was a pure pleasure to read. Lirael was as appalling as Sabriel was awesome. It sported an insecure and impulsive heroine drowning in her angst and her companions: an idiot of a selfish prince and a dog (a dog!).

Lirael is a Daughter of the Clayr, compensating her lack of Sight (i.e. the ability to see future) with other capabilities like outstanding sociopathy and a penchant for magic. Yes, Lirael is one of these special snowflakes we love reading about. She is so standing apart that she does not feel like talking to anyone, then she feels excluded, then she can go on through days of not talking to anyone, then she wants to commit a suicide because she feels excluded. In the course of drama, drama, drama, drama she becomes a librarian, visits places she's not supposed to venture to and creates a magic dog of considerable powers, possibly even bigger than her own (just like that). Finally, when it is confirmed just oh how special the girl is, she is sent out of the glacier to save the world.

In the meantime, the idiot of a selfish prince, abandons his family and kingdom in the hour of need, gallivanting through the Dead infested country (in spite his overwhelming fear of Death) pursuing a quest of his own choosing. Because why not?

Inevitably these two aggravating figures meet and misery ensues as they plunge from one trouble to another slowly piecing together the evil they must face.

Even the Mogget was not enough to balance this preposterous setting.

I was fuming throughout this novel, especially that it constitutes such stark contrast with Sabriel. I never expected to be let down by Mr Nix - and in such an underhanded manner! My wounds have already scarred, but still, the book does not deserve more than 2 stars and another half for the story potential. Lirael is the necessary prelude to Abhorsen, the third of the set.

If your love is for Sabriel and Touchstone only, leave Lirael alone. If you want to learn more about the wonderful world of the Old Kingdom - keep calm and endure it, as the final part of the trilogy will make it worth your while.

Also in the series:

1. Sabriel
3. Abhorsen
Profile Image for Jessica.
150 reviews51 followers
February 2, 2011

There’s a reviewer who I follow (Ceridwen) who mentioned in her review of Sabriel how refreshing it is that the magic in the story is “something other than a deus ex machina” (aka: when the protagonist defeats evil without any true skill, the magic just kind of does its thing through them because they are super special snowflakes). I completely agreed with that point…in book 1. Pretty much everything I loved about the protagonist in Sabriel is contradicted in the Mary-Sue that is Lirael, the main protagonist of book 2.

Doormat/whiny/woe-is-me/doesn’t think she’s special even though all signs point to the annoyingly obvious fact that she is. Not only is she mega-talented (but thinks she’s worthless), she has the added convenience of that “dues ex machina” magic that shows up unexpectedly and makes her 10x more awesome.

It killed me that even after the Clayr explained that only super awesome Clayr develop “the Sight” late and only incredibly important people are sent on missions, Lirael is ready to kill herself all over again and actually thinks they’re just kicking her out. Yeah, ok, Lirael. Ok.

And where Sabriel’s looks weren’t really mentioned and her “romance” was pretty dang tame for YA, Lirael, on the other hand, is a silent, sensitive wallflower who hides behind her hair but catches the eye of alllll the boys because they all find her beautiful, even though…wait for it…she doesn’t find herself beautiful!

Ugh, spare me.

Sameth, the male protagonist isn’t much better although he’s a little more sympathetic. He might be somewhat of a spoiled brat, but at least his whining is more believable (not living up to his parents or elder sister’s expectations, because, honestly, what they want for him isn’t what he wants or is even capable of). Lirael, though, is out slaying beasts and is still like, “Shucks, I’m no good at anything, why do I even bother living…” Gurl, write a sad poem in your journal and move on.

Also, this book had no real ending. I’m basically being forced to read the last book of the trilogy against my will. Basically.

THREE STARS because Sabriel and Touchstone make cameos, Lirael occasionally takes breaks from moping to kick some butt, there’s some crazy/creepy action sequences, Nix's world-building is always fun, and the two talking animals (Mogget and Dog) save the reader from utter boredom (concerning the main characters) with their snarky comments and superior characterization.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Nicole.
1,130 reviews18 followers
November 1, 2008
I'm not a huge fantasy person, but I'm always up for a kick-ass heroine such as Lirael. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 2 books in this trilogy, mostly because they appeal to my morbid streak. Death portrayed as a river with 7 gates? Sending the Dead back into Death using necromancer bells? What's not to like here?

Decent writing, excellent story, not-quite-typical (and therefore appealing) fantasy story. Not to mention book covers by the Dillions. I will read almost anything that has a Dillions cover, story be damned.
Profile Image for Sanaa.
411 reviews2,562 followers
August 18, 2015
[4 Stars] I'm conflicted about this rating because the first half of the book was probably more like a 5 star book, the last half of the book was more 4 stars, and all of Sameth's parts were around 3.5 or even 3 stars. Why did Sameth have to be just as annoying as Lirael was amazing? Lirael was seriously such a fantastic protagonist, and I wish the book had focused almost entirely on her as opposed to bringing Sameth into the picture. He just seems like a bit of a waste in all honesty: annoying, spoiled, stupid, and obnoxious. If Sameth hadn't bugged me so much, I would have given this book a 4.5 or even a 5 star rating, but as it stands now I can only really give it a 4. I also felt that things significantly slowed down towards the end, and I just wanted it all to be finished. I think part of the reason for this is that I'm not convinced Garth Nix can write villains I really love or love to hate or can just get behind, you know? They all seem a little meh to me. That being said, I do want to emphasize that Lirael and the Disreputable Dog are AMAZING, and their portions in the book, everything about the Clayr and the Library, and just gah all the portions with Lirael were 5 stars for sure. The rest of the book I just wasn't as convinced about. I think this is also due in part to this being more of a part one to the story and Abhorsen being part two of the story. Regardless, I really enjoyed this and can't wait to jump into Abhorsen!
Profile Image for Katie.dorny.
967 reviews497 followers
April 4, 2018
The only thing that held this book back was the character of prince Sameth, the son of Sabriel and Touchstone. Apart from him, I fell in love with both Lirael and the Disreputable Dog and cannot wait to get my hands on the last book! I also personally think this book was better than the first. I have high expectations now for the last one!!
Profile Image for BAM the enigma.
1,812 reviews361 followers
March 28, 2018
Audio # 33
2018 Reading Challenge: deals with a library or bookstore

Lirael is so depressed and has such low self esteem.

Note-Tim curry can feel free to narrate every book I own please
Profile Image for Lady.
559 reviews4 followers
April 18, 2011
I liked this book. The writing wasn't as beautiful as I hope for in fantasy novels. But his world building was thorough and very interesting. I went back and forth between liking the characters and not, which I think reveals how fully formed they are.

I really liked the whole Charter marks and Free Magic stuff. I think it made a fascinating world and sense of magic. I liked that, just because Lirael was good with Charter marks, didn't make her all powerful; that there were weaknesses to how it can be used.

I mostly liked the pace. In the beginning it took a bit to get going, especially once I could see where the story was going. But once the plot became focused for the characters it moved along very well.

As far as the characters went, I didn't like Lirael in the beginning. I felt she was a very bland rather petulant character, but then she was obviously surrounded by a great deal of power so I was kind of fascinated. As the story continued, however, I liked her. In the reverse, I liked Sam pretty much right away then he devolved a little for me in the middle and was a little bit pathetic in moments. But then he got stronger and a little bit smarter and braver and I liked him again. In some ways - and this doesn't happen often - I was ok with the moments when I didn't like the characters because a) they were still surrounded by a great deal of power and b) it made them more human. I accepted their flaws as very real and not as constructs or as the author just writing bad characters.

fyi - Abhorsen is more the completion of this book, rather than a sequel.
Profile Image for Jan.
868 reviews163 followers
November 17, 2021
A wonderful YA fantasy. Beautifully told, with so many exciting and powerful moments. The clues to Lirael's and Prince Sameth's real identities are hinted at and gradually revealed to the reader, till we realise all at the climactic (but kinda cliffhanger) ending. The mysterious Library of the Clayr is one of fantasy's iconic imaginings, and one of my favourite book settings. The section when Lirael makes her big discoveries is so magical and beautifully paced. I love the world Nix has created, For me, this book is the best of the series, and the Disreputable Dog is one of his best creations.
Profile Image for Claudia.
292 reviews81 followers
June 11, 2022
Ya’ll I remember my childhood trauma of picking up this sequel to Sabriel and realizing that it was not in fact about Sabriel and we had to follow this random other girl who wasn’t my awesome heroine of the last novel. However, as we got a librarian introvert who’s only true friend is a talking dog…I really didn’t end up minding. In fact, I fell in love, which is pretty hard to do after emotionally devastating me first that Sabriel was all ‘old’ and married with kids now. Devastated preteen me was all set up to hate on Lireal as a lesser character but that did not happen at all (though Sameth was definitely a little shit).

Lirael follows the titled Lirael who lives as a Clayr in the Glacier of the Old Kingdom. Born to a group of people that all get the gift of the Sight, Lireal feels more and more left out and different as she is never called to her power. She ends up making her own adventures, becoming a librarian (a much more dangerous enterprise in their world than ours) and making lots of interesting friends and discoveries. Meanwhile, as we are 14+ years after the events of Sabriel, Sabriel’s youngest son Sameth who grew up across the wall from the Old Kingdom is brought back and forced to begin training as the next Abhorsen after he is attacked. Eventually, these two adventures and many dangers find themselves colliding.

I don’t know if I can talk about this story too much without revealing more about it then is necessary but just know that it is lovely. A different but wonderful follow up to Sabriel with a character who has a quiet kind of strength that I think a lot of dorky little readers (like me) might relate to and find comfort in the closeness of a dog friend.

Sameth was fiiiine. I kept having to remind myself that he was young to be so whiny lol but Lirael more than makes up for him and his development is actually worthwhile even if it is a little slow. This one has two talking animals so twice the fun and adventure.

I loved this! Read this trilogy!
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,007 followers
June 16, 2015
As much as I love Sabriel (both the book and the character!), I was reluctant to read this again. Lirael’s role in the library is awesome, but both she and Sameth are rather too prone to self-pity to stand up well beside Sabriel’s example. Which is part of the whole point, that Sameth’s grown up in his parents’ shadows, but still. While Sameth has serious problems to deal with, he’s also selfish, doesn’t think things through properly, and would do a lot better if he’d open his mouth and let words come out. Sabriel and Touchstone might have a firm idea of their duty is, but I’m pretty sure that they would also understand that Sameth’s sickened fear would actually make a very bad Abhorsen.

Communication, communication, communication. My pet peeve in real life and in fiction, alas.

Lirael is more engaging, despite her bouts of self-pity. They’re more understandable, and she has the Disreputable Dog to put a stop to it as well. Her life in the Clayr’s glacier, her work in the library, her abilities with Charter marks and her explorations, all of those things are fascinating. And the Dog herself, too.

It’s difficult, because I do love this world, but Nix seems to have created a uniquely frustrating character/situation, perfectly balanced to annoy the heck out of me. I think I liked Abhorsen better, so I’m hopeful about that and Clariel, but it was disappointing how much of a struggle this was to reread.

Originally posted here.
Profile Image for Eddie Costello.
16 reviews6 followers
August 21, 2014
These books are awesome and should be mandatory reading by everyone.

I first read this trilogy(Lirael is a second book in the old kingdom trilogy; Sabriel is first while Abhorsen is the finale) when I was in middle school and I have to admit I'm just as obsessed with this series now as I was then.

With a cast of fantastic characters and a quick moving pace(mostly), you are truly sucked into the world of the old kingdom and it's pretty scary.

I'm truly surprised that this book can be considered YA cause it's a extremely dark tale that's leads up to a jaw dropping revelation(not really you can guess it almost immediately, I just wanted to entice you into reading it).

I listened to the audio version and Tim Curry makes everything so much better, he totally knows how to perfectly creep you out when he wants to. He is an absolutely perfect choice for the audio narration; word of advice listen to him read with all the lights off while your in bed alone and I guarantee you will get the wiggens.

Characters, prose, audio narration, character development, Death, the library of the Clayr, pace

Pace can be a little iffy sometimes
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,600 reviews1,669 followers
February 7, 2017
So there’s this girl, and she lives in a Glacier. Yes, a real glacier. It’s in a tall mountain at the very tip-top of her country, and she lives there with thousands of cousins, who are collectively called ‘The Clayr,’ most of whom are female and have the pale blonde hair and tanned skin that marks them as one of their own. They are entitled to this sobriquet because every single one of them can see the future. Every single one of them, except Lirael, that is. Most Clayr receive the Sight by the age of twelve. Lirael passes twelve. Then fourteen. Then seventeen. She is an adult, and she does not have the Sight. This is the main source of inner conflict in Lirael’s life.

Lirael is also different physically. Her black hair and pale, deathlike skin mark her immediately out from her fellow Clayr, but Lirael is also unusally quiet and reserved, because Lirael is very lonely. All the other Clayr have a purpose. They all take turns on the Watch, and they wear the robes of an adult, while Lirael still wears the robes of a child, simply because the main indicator of adulthood as a Clayr is the Sight, which, as discussed above, Lirael doesn’t have. What’s worse, none of the other Clayr have ever Seen Lirael. Not one. They don’t know what to do with her any more than she knows what to do with herself.

So instead of actually throwing herself off the highest peak of the glacier, as she almost did on yet another birthday without the Sight, she instead chooses to focus on learning the Charter (the magic system in the Old Kingdom), which leads to her creation of her companion the Disreputable Dog (who is THE BEST). This is the Disreputable Dog when she first meets Lirael:
“Suddenly, the dog stopped scratching, stood up, and shook itself, spraying droplets of dirty water all over Lirael and all over the study. Then it ambled across and licked the petrified girl on the face with a tongue that most definitely was all real and not some Charter-made illusion.

When that got no response, it grinned and announced, ‘I am the Disreputable Dog. Or the Disreputable bitch, if you want to get technical. When are we going for a walk?’”

Together, Lirael and the Dog explore the Clayr’s magical, GINORMOUS library and mine it for secrets, defeating monsters lurking in the corners, and all the while honing Lirael’s magic. Oh, yeah, did I mention that Lirael is a librarian? BECAUSE SHE IS TOTALLY A LIBRARIAN and the library is almost as terrifying and awesome as the Library the Doctor and Donna visit where the Library is an entire planet (and also the shadows are trying to kill them).

Now, I’m focusing on Lirael here because she’s my favorite, but this book has other stuff going on, as well. It takes place 14-18 years after Sabriel (depending on Lirael’s age), and Sabriel is barely in it at all. The two main characters are Lirael (obvs) and Sameth, Sabriel and Touchstone’s son. The narrative starts with them apart as we get to know them, but eventually they meet up and things are pretty much BOOM BOOM BOOM from there on out. Both Lirael and Sam have good character arcs, their inner lives and conflicts are way more realized than Sabriel’s were in book one. Sabriel can pretty much stand alone, but the second two books are basically one long continued story, with Lirael setting things up, and Abhorsen bringing them to a close. I think I prefer Lirael, though, because of the library, and because also Abhorsen honestly kind of scares the shit out of me. But more on that in the appropriate review.

[4.5 stars]
Profile Image for Ashley Marie .
1,218 reviews376 followers
May 21, 2016
Two books through this trilogy (because I'm very unsure about reading past that, since Nix has started doing prequels and such) and I'm STILL uncertain how I feel about it. I reread my Sabriel review and basically find myself feeling the same way, if rather reluctantly. As I mentioned in my last update, these books are sometimes difficult to focus on, but by the end I want to go back and reread them to piece everything together. Lirael and Sameth both felt very realistic, although I was disappointed that the story didn't pick up where Sabriel had left off -- it made the romance between her and Touchstone feel very insta-love, but alas. Looking forward to reading Abhorsen though.

Also, Tim Curry's narration is very good. Audiobook recommended :)
Profile Image for Jerecho.
384 reviews48 followers
August 14, 2018
My favorite book of all times.

Life maybe rough and tough but after darkness comes light.

Thank you for this one...
Profile Image for Laure.
134 reviews66 followers
April 9, 2017
Nice to see the stories and characters are getting more complexed - I am looking foward to the next instalment in the stories.
Profile Image for Lost Planet Airman.
1,234 reviews69 followers
December 15, 2021
Narrated by Tim Curry. Yo can stop here, you need no more information than that, to desire this audiobook.

Or, maybe you do. Second in the Abhorsen series, this is actually pretty distinct from the first book (Sabriel), so you could start here with only a little catch-up work to do. But you cannot stop here, as this volume ends in a minor cliffhanger and is continued i Abhorsen.

Although nominally a YA book, the characters are very compelling, the plot and themes slightly complex, and the vocabulary rich, so that it read well for this OA.

Of course, there's Tim Curry, too.
Profile Image for daisy.
574 reviews100 followers
September 10, 2017
I'M SO !!!!!
I stayed up until midnight to finish this and I don't regret that really, but I need to be awake at 5am for uni, so... I'll write a review out tomorrow lmao
REALLY enjoyed this though 🙏
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