I am 62 years old and found myself completely enraptured by the combination of Grath Nix's prose and Tim Curry's narration. I am thrilled to have disc..Show More »overed this series that now ranks #1 on my list of all time favorite fantasy novels.
This thread of the story is close enough to Sabriel to be an old friend, but far enough to be new and interesting. Excellent as sequels go, Lireal doe..Show More »sn't burden the returning reader with reruns of Sabriel. It's a great stand-alone story, too. Tim Curry is the kind of narrator who could enthrall by reading a cereal box.
First off - this is the last book in the trilogy starting with Sabriel, and continues the story from Lireal. While several years passed between the a..Show More »ction in Sabriel and Lireal, this book picks up immediately from the cliff-hanger that ended Lireal. What does that mean? You need to listen to the first two books before reading this one - don't try to listen to them out of order!
With that said, this book continues the remarkably good young adult series by Garth Nix, although the books are at least as well suited to an adult audience, especially Abhorsen, the darkest of the lot. Abhorsen revolves around a race to stop an ancient evil from being brought into the world, which sounds like a typical fantasy plotline, but in Nix's hands it is made fresh by his complex world and compelling characters. Tim Curry's reading is excellent, and, if not quite as inventive as the first two books, this provides an exciting and impressive conclusion, in which many mysteries are resolved from the rest of the series.
If you like Philip Pullman, J. K. Rowling's more recent (darker) Harry Potter novels, or George R. R. Martin, you should strongly consider listening to this series.
The original trilogy of Old Kingdom novels are some of my absolute favorite "young adult (but really for adults)" fantasy novels. The world building ..Show More »is terrific, the characters wonderful, and the writing style helps bring everything to life with appropriate mystery and majesty. In this new novel, Nix finds his inner George Lucas, presenting a prequel explaining the background of a character in the original series, though to much better results than Lucas achieved.The return to the Old Kingdom is welcome, and this book has some very clever elements that I won't reveal so as not to ruin surprises, but it never quite hits the heights of the prior three books.
Part of both the cleverness and slight difficulty engaging with the book is is due to the fact that it turns many of the tropes of YA fantasy novels on its head - the main heroine is asocial, not interested in romance, and generally aloof. But that isn't all. The book is full of YA tropes: we are taken early on to a magical academy full of potential enemies and allies (obvious shades of Hogwarts) or we are introduced to Parents Who Don't Understand the Heroine (shades of every YA book ever) or we are made aware of the character's special destiny. But the book turns every one of these tropes on its head, in ways that are sometimes satisfying, but also occasionally off-putting. Still, it is never boring, and I very much enjoyed the experience.
The reading is great, and, if you have read the other Old Kingdom books, you should certainly read this as well. Otherwise, you really, really should read Sabriel now - it is excellent, and, in its sequels Lireal and Abhorsen, sets up mysteries that Clariel answers, even if not always in the most ultimately satisfying way.