Abhorsen by Garth Nix
The Abhorsen trilogy creates a fascinating magical world and infuses it with mood and atmosphere with rich language. Nix’s darkly powerful words and sentences truly weave a spell around a reader, creating a place that feels so real you want to visit it again.
The trilogy is very gender-balanced, with two strong heroines, Sabriel and Lirael, at the forefront of the action. Touchstone, Sameth, the ladies of the Clayr, and the dynamic pets, Mogget the cat and the Disreputable Dog, round out the team. This volume finishes the story that was left hanging in Lirael, with Sameth’s friend Nick held hostage by evil spirits, and a plot unfolding that could annihilate the entire world. Everyone contributes to the effort to stop the Destroyer according to their talents, but Lirael leads the charge, takes the biggest risks, and loses the most. The characters are admirable and well-developed, while the pets add wit and humor.
Tim Curry’s recording of the book is perfect, pulling out all the nuances and ominous meanings in Nix’s prose. His accent and timbre fit the story like no one else’s could, lending weight and consequence and even an indescribable feeling of timelessness.
The trilogy’s ending was surprising and appropriate, with a touch of Old Yeller. It’s not an easy happy ending, but one in which the salvation of the world is earned with painful sacrifice. I think this is a series I’ll want to come back to, one that would be fun to read aloud.