Friday, January 8, 2016

Review: Abhorsen

Abhorsen by Garth Nix
Abhorsen #3
Published January 7th 2003 by Harpercollins

When the ninth gate calls, who can resist its summons?

An old evil has arisen - freed from its subterranean prison and seeking to escape the binding silver hemispheres which prevent it from finally unleashing its terrible powers.

Lirael, newly come into her inheritance as the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, knows that the fate of the world is in her hands. With only a vision from the Clayr to guide her, and the uncertain help of her companions — Sam, the Disreputable Dog, and Mogget — Lirael sets out on her perilous mission. 

Then answer must be found somewhere in Life or Death - but can a former Second Assistant Librarian possibly discover the means to defeat the Destroyer...before it is too late?
Abhorsen used to be the final book in the trilogy of the same name, but Garth Nix has since written a prequel novel and a follow up novella, with a fifth book currently in the works (eeep!!) Abhorsen is nonetheless a conclusion of sorts, wrapping up the harrowing adventure that started in Lirael and offering up some closure for other plot points introduced in Sabriel.  Because it's the final book in the trilogy proper and I want to avoid spoilers, I've decided to change the format of my review here, so I can properly gush over the series as a whole, while highlighting the broader points of what went down in the finale. So, brace yourselves, we're going on a feels trip:

  • Abhorsen was an incredibly intense conclusion to the original trilogy. At less than 20% in, I could already feel the pressure building, my feelings were steadily gaining momentum and honestly, I wasn't sure how I was going to make it through the remaining 80%.
  • I know I've gushed about Garth Nix's world-building in my review for Sabriel - and Lirael but it bears repeating one last time: I WAS BLOWN AWAY BY THIS WORLD GUYS. It's filled to the brim with incredible magic, both light and dark. The Charter Magic is fascinating and pure... the Free Magic is terrifying and corrosive. I.can.NOT.get.enough of it all!
  • We're dealing with Necromancy in this series and it's done in a wickedly unique, creative and chilling fashion.  The Abhorsen is a good Necromancer, whose magical bells wield power over The Dead and grant her the ability to send them back into Death...whenever some evil Necromancer decides to raise an army of the Dead. Or worse...
  • Speaking of Death...there's sort of another world within The Old Kingdom, where The Abhorsen and Necromancers can walk in Death.  That world is spell-binding, eerie, hauntingly beautiful and not to mention clearly scary as balls!  I'm happy to say that we get to explore Death once more in Abhorsen and it's just as chilling and oddly-alluring as it was before.
  • The characters are truly amazing! Whether they were the main characters or secondary ones, they made an impression. The main characters have easily become life-time favorites of mine and I know I'll return to them again and again. They do quite a bit of growing up in Abhorsen: Lirael is transformed into a legendary heroine worthy of her title. Sameth fully comes into his own and well, I'd follow him into battle any day. And then there's poor Nicholas. Well I can't reveal anything about him without crossing over into spoilers but WOW. Not to be outdone,the secondary characters shine as well! Some might not seem important at first, but before you know it, they've made you care for them...which made the many deaths all the more poignant.
  • Despite the fact that the main character switches in the second book from Sabriel to Lirael, and remains so for the conclusion, Sabriel still has a strong presence in the sequels, as does Touchstone. I adored the little mentions of events directly related to Sabriel and her adventures, as well as her appearances throughout. I came to adore Lirael but Sabriel will always hold a special place in my heart.
  • Abhorsen offered up some fascinating background information on the origin of The Old Kingdom, the source of it's magic, as well as some history on Mogget the magical cat (that isn't really a cat), The Disreputable Dog and The Abhorsen's Magical Bells, used to weave magic and control The Dead...
  • Speaking of Cats and Dogs^^ - THERE IS A MAGICAL CAT (which again, isn't really a cat) AND DOG!! They travel alongside the heroes and OMG I LOVE THEM.  As companions they are awesome enough on their own but Nix truly turns them into supporting characters all their own. I adore books with magical/talking animals and Mogget and Dog certainly don't disappoint.
  • This series is a new all-time favorite of mine, one that I know I will be rereading multiple times in the future.  The feelings I went through while reading this were reminiscent of what I felt reading my absolute favorite book series and that is NOT something I'm saying lightly.  To be clear though, I'm not comparing the two series in ANY WAY. Both are wholly unique and stand on their own. I'm just saying that both of these gave me similar FEELINGS. I was completely taken in by the world, the characters, the magic and even though it was dark and scary, I want to live there! I want to know these characters personally! I want to use this magic (Charter Magic only though!)
  • I listened to this series on audiobook and all were narrated by the incomparable Tim Curry. His narration was an experience all on it's own and it worked perfectly with the story here. Audiobook fans: you NEED to listen to this series, even if you've already read the books! There is not enough praise in the world to properly convey how amazing the narration is.
  • Bottom line? 2015 was definitely the year of The Abhorsen for me. Garth Nix has created a masterpiece here and one that I will not soon forget.  I can't believe it took me so long to read this series, but at the same time, this was the perfect time for me to discover it.  Part of me is glad that I met Nix before I read his series here, otherwise I would've been a fangirling mess. 
''Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?'' #CHILLS

Fantasy readers: The Abhorsen Trilogy is a MUST-READ! There's no other way to say it - and I've run out of adjectives to describe it.  This series grabbed me from the first pages of Sabriel and did not let go until the last words of Abhorsen.  My heart will forever belong to these books, to the characters, and to this world. I laughed, I cried, I was scared out of my mind and my heart was filled to the brim with love and FEELINGS. It might sound dramatic but: I will never be the same again.

My Rating: 5+ out of 5 Stars!

18 comments:

  1. I know what your absolute favorite book series is and to say that is no small thing! I love that you clarified that they weren't really similar but it was equal in it's awesomeness :D I am a sucker for a great cast of characters and it sounds like this one has it. Plus, I'm very drawn to magic. I think it's one I'd love. It's absolutely on my list to read soon. You've convinced me for sure!

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    1. I haven't felt those kind of feelings for a really, really long time Jaclyn, so I HAD to give credit where credit is due. I didn't want to compare the two series though because obviously nothing will ever match up to THAT series but, this one gave me those feelings! I'm STILL NOT over this series right now^^ Major series hangover! I STILL want to be in this world ♥ Amazing characters, fantastic magic- you can't go wrong there :D I think you'll love it too and obviously I hope you will! YAY!

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  2. I cannot wait to read more of this series. As you know I loved Sabriel and I know I am going to love Lirael and Abhorsen too! Awesome review!

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    1. Eeeep! I can't wait to read your thoughts on both Lirael and Abhorsen!! So excited :D Thanks ♥

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  3. I've never read a Garth Nix book! Just one of those authors with kickbutt series that I'll probably never get around to reading. It seems like an intense book, and you enjoyed it - that's good! I hope you love the other installments to come. Lovely review, Micheline!

    Have a fabulous weekend. :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. Awww that's tragic right there Alyssa^^ It was a super intense series as a whole and one of my new all-time favorites to boot! At this point, I just know I'll love anything else Nix writes. Thank you!!

      Happy Sunday :)

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  4. I've seen this series around for awhile and honestly I just skimmed right over it, but after reading your review..well I just bought the first, second, and third books! These sound amazing and since I'm in this whole fantasy mood I know I am just going to love them! Thanks so much for the very thought out and amazing review!! I can't wait to jump into this series!

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    1. I know what you mean^^ I feel like a lot of fantasy-lovers have read these back when they came out and I'm only getting caught up now. Eeeep!! I'm SO EXCITED that you bought the trilogy :D The series is totally high fantasy and I love the world, the characters, ALL OF IT! I hope you love them as much as I do and I'll definitely be looking out for your thoughts/progress on them! YAY! Thank you!!

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  5. Your reviews for this series have really made me torn between reading Newt's Emerald or Sabriel first, and now that I have a lovely copy of Sabriel to call my own (♥♥♥) I don't know what to do- GAH! I really like how you changed up your review format for this, since it was originally the series finale, although I'm sure you still would've written an amazing, spoiler-free paragraph-style review. :D But I totally get where a bullet-point style is helpful, especially when you're trying to convey all the love you feel for a series ender PLUS the whole series, all while trying to avoid spoilers, LOL!

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    1. LOL! Well it doesn't matter where you start, so long as you read ALL of the Nix! Personally I still need to read Newt's Emerald myself so I can't speak to how awesome it likely is XD I'm curious to see how you'll make out with reading Sabriel since I listened to the series on audio - but I recently got myself the books so I will be reading them (again) soon!

      I just wanted to recap the trilogy as a whole and switching up the format made it easier for some reason. It felt better suited for gushing/fangirling while recapping the important bits of the third book + the trilogy overall LOL! SO.MANY.FEELS.

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  6. You have convinced me to come back to these books on audio! I loved these books as a teen. And I had no idea Time Curry narrated so many good books! He does the Lemony Snicket books too! I'm listening to those now, but after they are over, I might need to listen to this series. I want to re-read them all right now after reading this.

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    1. YES :D I can't wait to see what you'll think of his narration here^^ especially since this series was a childhood favorite of yours! I really want to listen to the Lemony Snicket books but my library doesn't have them on audio D: I really hope you reread/listen to them soon, I'd love to gush about them some more ♥ LOL!

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  7. Awesome review. I really can't believe I haven't gotten to this series yet either - I mean, what kind of fantasy fan am I anyways?? I know this one will blow me away too.

    As for the audio, I adore Tim Curry (he does such a great job with The Series of Unfortunate Events books, too) and I have no doubt he does a great job with this series... I don't know though, I tend to have a hard time concentrating on fantasy audios and envisioning the world. I will prob read the physical books for the series. And THEN reread them via audio :D

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    1. I felt the same way Aylee^^ Imagine how you'll feel when you do read it...then it's even worse because it confirms that you were missing out on ALL of the AWESOME! I seriously hope you'll fall for this series just as I have ♥

      I know what you mean, high-fantasy on audio can be tricky if there are complicated names, places and the such, but I really didn't have that issue here. It's complex yes, but it has a simplicity to it as well...Either way, I'm planning on reading the physical books next to compare and THEN I'll re-listen to them on audio - yes, this is a series that I will return to again and again :D

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  8. Micheline!!! You should know better than to tempt me with a whole series like this! Abhorsen sounds fantastic, and I think the whole world as well as the characters would work for me in a big way! The tension sounds very well done, so I think this is a must-read ;) Great review!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. LOL! But that was the plan Lexxie^^ I WANTED to tempt you and everyone else who has yet to read this series to DO IT ASAP!! I'm officially obsessed now, it was THAT amazing to me ♥ I'm glad that it's a must-read now for you too :D I can't wait to see what you'll make of it! Thank you xx

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  9. Ahhhh, I enjoyed reading your review of this series, Micheline! :) I'm glad you enjoyed it, there are so many great parts about it (the story, the characters, the setting, the magic) that I wouldn't know where to begin flailing, lol.

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    1. Thank you so much Lianne! :D I had a total blast with these and I'm STILL NOT OVER the series hangover LOL! You can be sure that Clariel will be one of my very next reads - as well as Across the Wall! And I agree with you: EVERYTHING about this series is flail-worthy ♥

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