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by Garth Nix

Published by Eos / HarperCollins, 2003
358 pages
ISBN: 0-06-027825-0

Ages 12 - 16

A shocking assassination opens this eagerly awaited sequel to Sabriel (HarperCollins, 1996) and Lirael (HarperCollins, 2001) and sets a tone of fast-paced action, which continues right through to the conclusion. Picking up where Lirael left off, the story focuses on Assistant Librarian Lirael and her cousin, Prince Sameth. Lirael has just discovered that she is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, an important but dangerous role that involves maintaining the border between Life and Death through the use of necromantic bells and Free Magic. Sam is concerned about the safety of his friend Nicholas, who has unknowingly become enmeshed in the doings of an evil necromancer. Rescuing Nicholas and saving humanity from the imminent disaster posed by a malevolent being known as the Destroyer requires the combined effort of Lirael and Sam. The focus on action and plot sets a whirlwind pace, but prevents the compelling level of character introspection and development of the previous books. Still, questions raised earlier are satisfyingly answered, including the surprising identities of the Disreputable Dog and Mogget the cat, but enough new uncertainties arise to suggest that we haven't seen the end of Nix's elaborate fantasy world. (MVL; Feb 17) 2003 Cooperative Children's Book Center

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