Jd's Reviews > Lirael

Lirael by Garth Nix
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U 50x66
's review
Sep 22, 2011

it was amazing

I love the whole Old Kingdom series. Nix writes far more skilfully, and with more humor, than the vast majority of fantasy writers. For me, Lirael was very relatable: she was born into a situation and circumstances that left her alienated and isolated for most of her childhood. The weakest parts of the book were when Nix (sometimes using the Dog as a mouthpiece for this) descends into self-righteous judgementalness (the term "self-pity" occurs far too many times for one book. I suspect he must have felt that that type of approach would cater to the feelings of readers who couldn't relate to Lirael's extremely challenging circumstances.)
The other protagonist, Sam, also has to contend with difficult personal challenges (i.e. mostly absentee parents and the expectation that he fill a very dangerous role for which he is totally unsuited, while his very real and potentially useful gifts and skills go unrecognized, if not dismissed/invalidated).
Mogget and the Dog are great (though Nix veers off into another minor but annoying empathic failure when he has the Dog bite Lirael, on her 17th birthday when she's feeling very sad again, badly enough to leave a scar. I find it contrary to the Dog's otherwise 'wise' characterization that she would use physical violence as a way of dealing with her friend's feelings of despair. And who would trust any dog after being bitten that badly under such circumstances? These types of messages from Nix were the only hiccup for me in otherwise realistic and believable behavior from all the characters.)

Overall, Lirael is an awesome adventure set in an amazingly original, cleverly drawn, multi-layered, immersively real-feeling world. If you enjoy it, you will probably want the sequel standing by.

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