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ABHORSEN by Garth Nix Kirkus Star

ABHORSEN

By Garth Nix

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-027825-0
Publisher: Eos/HarperCollins

Nix (Lirael, 2001, etc.) brings his trilogy to a literally earth-shattering conclusion. Action explodes from the very first pages as King Touchstone and Abhorsen Sabriel are targeted for assassination while on embassy to Ancelstierre. On the other side of the Wall, in the magical Old Kingdom, Prince Sameth and newly proclaimed Abhorsen-in-Waiting Lirael race frantically to rescue Sam’s school friend Nick from the sinister clutches of the necromancer Hedge and his plot to unleash the Destroyer from a prison forged before the beginning of time. While the accelerating tension leaves little room for introspective character development, Lirael discards diffidence for decisiveness as she grows into her new duties, as the formerly feckless Sam, freed from the awful burden of fear, discovers confidence in his role as Wallmaker. But their mysterious Free Magic companions—the enigmatically feline Mogget and the effervescently canine Disreputable Dog—still steal the show, even as their secrets are slowly revealed. Despite constant weariness, despair, and attacks from Hedge’s monstrous Dead minions, the priceless value of the Life they champion shines through small lapidary moments: a handclasp with a friend, a lick from the Dog, a shared tin of sardines. Terror, courage, bitterness, love, desperation, and sacrifice all swirl together in an apocalyptic climax that pits both Life and Death together against the destruction of everything. Even as Nix neatly ties off all the dangling plot threads, he hints that there are plenty of stories left to tell about the Old Kingdom. This one is breathtaking, bittersweet, and utterly unforgettable. (Fiction. YA)