Haley's Reviews > Abhorsen

Abhorsen by Garth Nix
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's review
May 16, 2012

really liked it
Read from May 14 to 16, 2012 — I own a copy

Full disclosure: I bought this book in high school after I finished Lirael, then stuck it on my shelf and steadfastly ignored it for years because I was so furious and sad after reading the prologue. Protip: STICK WITH IT! Garth Nix always has a trick or two up his sleeve. With that said, this book was an exhausting read. By the end, I felt just as pummeled and weary as its protagonists--partially because Garth Nix is just that good at writing deeply relatable characters, and partially because the first half of the book feels awfully dense.

It isn't that Abhorsen drags, per se, just that Nix's habit of pushing his characters to the absolute limits of physical and mental exhaustion, and then shoving them even farther, is ratcheted up to nearly unbearable levels. As a reader, it's impossible to escape the despair Sam, Lirael and Nick are feeling; nevertheless, the moments of happiness interspersed throughout the book had me literally shouting for joy. There's also the fact that the novel's Big Bad seems just a little too Big and Bad at first, but by its final appearance, Nix manages to fit it into the landscape of his books quite well.

The last chapter also managed to bring me to tears. Twice.

To be specific, Mogget made me cry, of all things, and that should tell you quite a bit about the emotional wringer Nix puts you through during this determined slog through the third book in his series. I said the work is dense, and at times you may feel like you're running around in circles and not making any progress, but by the halfway mark Abhorsen snatches you up and pulls you along, swift and inexorable as the currents of the river in Death. As a conclusion to Lirael's story, and especially to Sameth's, this book is a triumph, though as I said, it takes some work to get there.
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Katy I agree with you totally about this fantastic book. I was forced to put it down after the prologue. We were on holiday at the time and going out for the day. I was devastated and not at all good company.

I picked it up just before the long drive home and have fond memories of reading it all the way back because I wasn't going to give up until my little grievance was healed.

And it was. And how.

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