Monday, April 28, 2008

Book Review: The Abhorsen Trilogy (Old Kingdom Trilogy) by Garth Nix.

Trilogy Review
The Abhorsen Trilogy (Old Kingdom Trilogy)
By Garth Nix
This series take place in two lands, which are divided by a heavily guarded wall. One land, Ancelstierre, is set in a WWI historical time period and the other land, which is equivalent to a medieval fantasy setting. In the Old Kingdom or medieval fantasy setting things have been declining for centuries. The Royal family has been defeated, charter stones that keep magic balanced are broken, and dead creatures roam the land, controlled by powerful necromancers. There is one, who is called the Abhorsen, who must put these dead to rest, forever.

Is the daughter of the Abhorsen and she is currently being schooled in Ancelstierre until she is ready to return to the Old Kingdom and take up her role as Abhorsen in Waiting. Yet, she discovers that her father has traveled into death, and is trapped there. She needs to find him and bring him back to the land of the living before his soul becomes forever corrupted. She sets out on a journey to find and save her father, but soon realizes that while he is gone that she is the one responsible for keeping the Kingdom safe from dead creatures and their evil controllers, Necromancers. She meets Touchstone along the way and they must both find a way to keep their country from falling into ruin.

Lireal is a daughter of the Clayr, who just does not fit in. The Clayr have always secluded themselves in the cold mountains, where they gaze into the future, and try to keep the Old Kingdom safe from many arising dangers. She hasn’t received the sight yet, and feels that she is not apart of the small seer community. In the process of time she finds her place as an assistant librarian, in the largest, oldest library in the Old Kingdom. It is more than a simple library, but a complex labyrinth of hallways, and niches. Some that often have nefarious creatures, protecting or being protected. She finds a magical dog, who becomes her loyal companion; together they explore the dangerous and restricted parts of the library. During one night of exploration Lireal finds her true path and must set out into the world to find a young man in a reed boat. Soon Lireal finds out that her country is on the verge of destruction, but a powerful and Ancient free magic creature. She, as the new Abhorsen in Waiting, must help prince Sameth to stop the creature from being released.

Prince Samth discovered that his friend Nicholas is in a lot of trouble. Originally from Ancelstierre he believes that all the magic in the Old Kingdom can be explained by science. This gets him into trouble when a mysterious guide named Hedge helps him to set up a magical experiment. Little does Nick know that he is unwittingly letting an ancient creature escape, a creature which will destroy the entire world. He also doesn’t know that Hedge is a necromancer of the worst kind and his workers are dead hands. It is now up to Prince Sameth, his cousin Lireal, and her disreputable dog to save the world from this destroyer before it is too late.

I absolutely adore this trilogy! I usually like a lot of characterization in the books that I read. This series has just enough characterization to have round and interesting characters, and so that kind of bugs me, but it is the concept of the entire world that I love. There is the Old medieval fantasy Kingdom and the historical WWI era modern land, and the problems that happen when magic and science in the worlds try to interact. Then there is the land of the dead and Nix fleshes out his underworld so that it feels like an entirely different land. It is unique and new in Danteish type fashion, where it takes concepts from the traditional underworld scene and adds a whole bunch of creative imaginative new stuff. It is the world building talent that really makes him one of my favorite authors. Go read it!

Cool thing is that Nix recently announced that he plans to write two more books in the same world. Also, there are tentative plannings to make Sabriel into a movie. Go read the authors website to find out more info, and some links to read his fiction on-line for free.
Author’s Website:

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