Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Recommendation: The Abhorsen Trilogy

I'm taking a slightly different tactic this week in recommending a series instead of a particular book: the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix. Why? Well, for one because the whole trilogy is fantastic, but also for a more practical reason: I read the first two books several months ago, and only the third is really fresh enough in my mind to address.

Book 1: Sabriel is the daughter of the Abhorsen, the man responsible for standing against necromancers and any dead who seek to return to life. But when Sabriel's father goes missing she must assume his responsibilities and face one of the greatest threats to the world of the living in generations.

Book 2: Lirael is a daughter of the Clayr, those who see into the future, and yet her own Sight never comes, even though the gift has never been known to skip over any Clayr girl. Then the Clayr see a vision of her in the thick of the latest trouble facing her world, and Lirael sets off to discover her true purpose and help restore the balance of living and dead.

Book 3: In Abhorsen Lirael continues her journey to stop the Destroyer from consuming her world. Sabriel, Lirael and their friends and family must join together if they are to save all life before it's too late.

There are several things I love about this series. The world that Nix has created is divided into two sections: The Old Kingdom and Ancelstierre—the land of magic and the land of science. Most of Ancelstierre believes there is no such thing as magic, and that the accounts of magic in the Old Kingdom must be the reports of simple-minded folk who don't understand the true scientific explanations. But in the Old Kindom magic is very much alive, and Ancelstierran technology is useless. Nix uses both worlds adeptly, and the setting is the perfect backdrop for this story.

In particular I love the creativity that Nix put into the idea of the Abhorsen. In Nix's world the barrier between life and death is thin and not permanent. Most of those who die are content to traverse through the gates of death to their final rest, but there are some who fight to get back to life. The Abhorsen's job is to prevent them, using seven bells that command any who hear them. The bells each have a particular use, and even a personality, from the smallest bell Ranna, which brings about sleep, to the largest bell Astarael, the sorrowful bell that sends all who hear it deep into death.

The characters are fun too, particular the Disreputable Dog and Mogget, the little white cat, both companions of Lirael and her friend Sam.

If you're looking for a creative fantasy adventure, this is a great series to try.

No comments:

Post a Comment