Review: Abhorsen, third in the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix

Friday, April 29, 2011

Title: Abhorsen
Author: Garth Nix
Genre: fantasy, young-adult
Series: Abhorsen #3
Published: 2003
Pages: 518
Rating: 4/5

Fast-paced and a wild ride all the way until the very end, Abhorsen was a brilliant, satisfying and ultimately very enjoyable and fulfilling end to a riveting and vivid series. I felt a bit sad, ending this series. I was caught up by this entrancing story, probably by the second in the series Lirael and I don't think I ever came back down. One of the best books I have or will read this year.

The narrative seems a bit more rushed than previous books, but clearly, that is because there is a lot going on in the last sequel. Multiple POVs, crises on both sides of the Wall, a new Abhorsen-in-Waiting, the mystery of Mogget and the Disreputable Dog, Lirael's heritage, Sam's abilities, Sabriel and Touchstone... etc. Nix manages to wrap up his story lines and characters with grace and aplomb. 

The final revelation about Mogget and the Disreputable Dog, as well as clearing up a lot of mystery over Free Magic versus Charter Magic, was clever and unique; I genuinely did not see that twist coming, thought it was ingenious. One of the best parts of all these books is that they are not predictable or cliched fantasy tropes. Originality, creativeness and genuine creepiness are what defines this series as a whole. 

Sam has improved drastically as a character since finding out he is not the real Abhorsen-in-Waiting. Much less whiny and craven, Sam exhibits courage and fortitude I would have assumed beyond him based on the events of Lirael. I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed him much more than I otherwise would have. Lirael retained all of the things I liked about her from the previous novel, and also grew while facing Hedge and Orannis and became a very strong, likable female protagonist. The Dog and Mogget, like before, bring both comedy and uncertainty with them as they appear through the story. 

This is a marvelous adventure. A great series with strong characters, a compelling plot and unique magic and creatures. Brilliant in all senses of the word. It is a  superb ending for an amazingly entertaining series; it deserves to be read. It can be found here.  An added bonus is that these books have been out in the stores for years so the prices on all three are rather low, and thus easy to accumulate. Nix has advertised a fourth part of the series, Clariel that takes place before the events in Sabriel and details the life of Chlorr of the Mask from the later books. It's definitely going in the to-be-read pile, along with the short stories Garth Nix has written, as well.

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