The third book in Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy is everything it promised to be and everything it could ever have been, coming as it did after Sabriel and Lirael--two of the most riveting fantasy novels in recent years. More a continuation of Lirael than Sabriel, which was set 20 years before it's sequel, Abhorsen nevertheless completes this outstanding sequence of books with considerable style and a consistent quality of prose that is enviable and to be admired.
The book opens in the Abhorsen's house in the Old Kingdom where Lirael, the Abhorsen-in-waiting and Prince Sameth, Sabriel's heir, are contemplating their next manoeuvre. They are surrounded on all sides by the dead, marshalled into action by Chlorr of the Mask--a Greater Dead in league with the necromancer Hedge. He in turn is working towards the resurrection of Orannis, the Destroyer. With no word from Sabriel or King Touchstone, the situation is perilous. The Old Kingdom and its neighbouring Ancelstierre are in political turmoil, unaware of the menace that is about to be unleashed from it's subterranean prison.
With the expert company of the Disreputable Dog and mysterious cat Mogget, both wielders of powerful free magic, Lirael and Sam must escape in order to save all Life from doom. Their subsequent trek across these magical lands is perilous and spectacular& and not without a high cost.
Volumes one and two of this altogether thrilling saga are essential reading before attempting to grapple with Abhorsen. Nix's worlds are complex and rich and his characters many and multi-dimensional. From the unexpectedly devastating prologue, through to the nail-biting dénouement, the author demonstrates just how at home he is in this genre. His imagination is raw and exciting, and his novels don't get much better than this. (Age 10 and over) --John McLay [via]