Abhorsen (Abhorsen #3) – Garth Nix

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Summary:

The apocalyptic conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Abhorsen series—an epic fantasy experience not to be missed.

The Abhorsen Sabriel and King Touchstone are missing, leaving only Lirael—newly come into her inheritance as the Abhorsen-in-Waiting—to stop the Destroyer. If Orannis’s unspeakable powers are unleashed, it will mean the end of all Life. With only a vision from the Clayr to guide her, and the help of her companions, Sam, the Disreputable Dog, and Mogget, Lirael must search in both Life and Death for some means to defeat the evil destructor—before it is too late. . . .

Review:

It is with a bit of wistfulness that I review this book, for now I am fully caught up on the Abhorsen series. I started this series on a whim: a fellow blogger was clearing off her shelves, and in exchange for postage, I got my hands on the ARC of Clariel. If you’ve been following me, you’ll know that I wound up loving that book so much that it made my list of Best of 2014, and in the less than six months that have passed since I first read it, I have now gone back and read its three predecessors. If you look at my track record for pressing on with series (hint: it’s awful) you’ll know it’s a sign that this series must be truly something special to me, and it is. There may be a fifth book in the works, but there’s no planned release date, and quite frankly, waiting sucks.

Published eight years after Sabriel, Abhorsen benefits from the growth and maturation of Nix’s style. While the former really did feel like little a fairly modern YA fantasy in terms of its tropes, Abhorsen foreshadows what we’d end up seeing in Clariel: an undeniably dark opening with the seeming assassination of a major protagonist of the trilogy, a lack of any kind of romance or romantic-mindedness at all (granted, it’d be kind of creepy with the relationship between Lireal and Sameth, but still), and and ending that’s also dark in its own right, although with a bit more optimism than what was seen in Clariel. Oh, and the final confrontation against The Destroyer is a thing of beauty and just an absolute joy to read.

I can’t really think of any series quite like this in the modern YA fantasy landscape, and if you give it a chance (perhaps reading it in chronological order – #4, #1, #2, #3) fans of adult fantasy will enjoy this as well. It’s just that good.

Verdict: Buy It

Available: Now

P.S. And okay, I lied earlier. I’m fully caught up on the main series. There are actually two short story collections that have novellas that tie-in to this world. Normally I skip these, but I will be checking out Across the Wall because it does contain an Abhorsen novella which will serve as the jumping point from. A second one, called Across the Bridge remains to be seen, but the cover art is so damn pretty (and done in the style of the cover revamps that came Clariel’s release) that I may well pick it up anyway because I’m just that shallow.

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